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What the Bail Agent Does

What the Bail Agent Does

A bail agent is commonly known as a “bounty hunter.” The bail agent’s main job description is to apprehend fugitives, but there is more to a bail agent’s job than that. A bail agent also spends a lot of time tracking fugitives down. However, he or she cannot just track anyone down; he or she must have permission from a bondsman. When a defendant skips bail, the bondsman will call a bail agent to help him or her apprehend the fugitive. The bail agent gathers information that will help him or her locate the fugitive, including a copy of the bond and the application for the bond. If the bond had a cosigner, the bail agent will question the cosigner as to the whereabouts of the fugitive. If the cosigner cannot provide any information, or if the information is not good, the bail agent will start the skip tracing process.

He or she will obtain access to all manner of records, including credit reports, credit card usage, telephone records, and public records. He or she may have to piece information together using a partial clue from any one or more of the records. The bail agent may also check the fugitive’s personal computer if he or she can obtain access, and look at emails and other deleted information on the computer. When the bail agent gets a good lead, he or she will follow up on the lead.

When following up on a lead, the bail agent may have to stake out a residence for some time, waiting for the fugitive to show up. This is the tedious part of the job, although he or she may be lucky and spot the fugitive the first day. Someone may tip the fugitive off, or the fugitive may spot the bail agent and change his or her hiding place. If this happens, the bail agent might be lucky enough to trail the fugitive, but often, he or she has to do more research to find another lead. The bail agent will stay on the case until the fugitive is apprehended. If the fugitive is not apprehended, not only does the bondsman have to pay the full amount of the bail, but the bail agent also does not get paid.

The cosigner is motivated to help the bail agent find the fugitive since the bondsman will collect the money from the cosigner if he or she fails to find the fugitive. Often, if the bond is large, or the defendant is a good risk for flight, the bondsman will require that the cosigner put up property that is of equal or greater value to secure the bond. If the fugitive cannot be returned in a specific amount of time (each state has its designated deadlines), the bondsman can start foreclosure proceedings, and the cosigner may lose his or her home.

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