How to Become a Bounty Hunter in Hawaii

In Hawaii, virtually the only restriction on potential bounty hunters is that they be over the age of 18. While the lack of regulation generally means that anyone can work as a bounty hunter, few who try actually become established and successful.

Given the limited amount of bail bonds business in Hawaii, not everyone who wants to make a living as a bounty hunter is guaranteed to find enough work. In fact, most won’t. Only proven teams of fugitive trackers have the assurance of continued business based on a track record of smooth capture and delivery.

In addition to the lack of licensing standards, the laws that govern the apprehension of fugitives are devoid of much detail, which gives bounty hunters broad leeway in how they may execute the arrest and transport the fugitive to the appropriate authorities. Overall, Hawaii is considered the Wild West of bounty hunting, but the industry self-regulates in many ways, and has not been a source of outsized concern for Hawaiians.

Becoming a Bounty Hunter in Hawaii

Becoming a Bounty Hunter in Hawaii is as simple as applying for a regular job. Bail bondsmen are not forced to worry whether the bounty hunters they hire are licensed, they simply have to trust them to make arrests with limited collateral damage. Bondsmen share criminal and civil liability with their bounty hunters, so a measure of trust and accountability is expected between business partners.

Bounty hunting in Hawaii is unique among the 50 states for its lack of comprehensive regulation. Currently, no license is required to work in the bail enforcement industry.  However, it is highly recommended that you earn a degree in either criminology, criminal justice or sociology before starting a bounty hunting career in Hawaii.  Completing a degree in one of these subjects will give you a better understanding of the U.S. criminal justice system as well as prepare you academically for work in other law enforcement fields.

Hawaii’s state legislature has made attempts to put regulations into place that would limit the type of people who can work in the industry. One notable opponent of this legislation is bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman, of reality television fame. Chapman is a felon, a status that would disqualify him from bounty hunting in any other state. Hawaii’s proposed legislation would make it impossible for people like Chapman to continue to work as fugitive trackers.

Chapman has argued that it would not be fair for him, and others like him, to lose the right to work after years of continuous positive impact and good behavior. Chapman supports some regulation, like registration and educational requirements, and has even offered his vast professional experience as a reference for a possible educational curriculum, but insists that the laws currently under consideration are too strict.

In conclusion, do not assume that the lack of regulation by the state of Hawaii will make it easy to find work as a bounty hunter on the islands. The best course of action would be to approach an established team of bounty hunters and ask for a job. This experience will serve as your unofficial initiation into the professional network of Hawaiian bounty hunters.