How to Become a Bounty Hunter in Illinois

In 1963, the Illinois legislature passed a statute eliminating the use of commercial bail bond companies. Because of this, bounty hunting is now banned in the state of Illinois.

If you are interested in practicing law enforcement in Illinois, you should earn a degree in criminal justice, sociology, or public administration in lieu of bounty hunting. A degree in any of these subjects will help qualify you for entry-level positions in related careers.

Currently, an accused person has 3 ways to seek bail under Illinois law. They can either seek bail through personal recognizance, through a bail provided by the county or the state or through the execution of a bond backed by real estate or other personal assets. A defendant seeking bail must deposit a small portion of the bail amount in order to leave custody. This amount is returned when the defendant appears in court.

This statute was affirmed by the Supreme Court in the 1971 case Schlib v. Kuebel. In that case, the court upheld the Illinois statute and noted that a defendant’s due process rights were not violated by requiring defendants to secure bonds through the state rather than through commercial bail bond companies.

Today, Illinois still has very strict laws regulating bounty hunting, including the activities of bounty hunters from other states. The statute states, “No bail bondsman from any state may seize or transport unwillingly any person found in this State who is allegedly in violation of a bail bond posted in some other state.” Bounty hunters and bail bondsmen caught apprehending a fugitive in Illinois can be charged with kidnapping.

While Illinois has a higher rate of skipped bail than other states that allow bounty hunting, it has not rescinded its statute banning commercial bails or bounty hunting. There have been a few stirrings to return to commercial bonds, but so far nothing has materialized. Bounty hunting is still illegal and not a viable career in the state of Illinois. If you are interested in working as a bounty hunter in any of Illinois’ neighboring states, it would be wise to familiarize yourself with Illinois’ laws.