The Real Truth...
Bounty hunters get a share of the bail bond money - usually 10 to 15% of the total agreed amount of the face value of the bond.
A recent survey indicates that most bounty hunters make anywhere between $ 50,000.00 and $ 80,000.00 each year. The average bounty hunter works on the average of 100 to 150 cases a year.
In the opinion of this Bounty Hunter of eleven years this statistic is not accurate. It may be so for large fugitive recovery companies in areas such as New York, Houston Texas or Los Angeles. But for the State of Colorado this is not so.
Larger bail bond companies avoid paying the bounty hunters what they are worth and what is fair by putting them on salary. If done this way a bonding company can write bonds night and day and avoid paying out the 10% that should fairly be paid to the bounty hunter. Does this mean that the success of the bondsman for having a good bounty hunter benefits the bounty hunters pay?, “ NO ” It makes no difference if the bounty hunter arrest 50 fugitives or 200 fugitives his salary remains the same.
The bondsman is entitled to sue the cosigner on the bond for the bounty fees and the face value of the bond in some cases. The cosigner is responsible for the bounty fees therefore after the bondsman sues the cosigner the bondsman is not out any bounty fees and has basically paid what amounts to almost nothing for the services of the bounty hunter.
In Colorado most bondmen write the bond for under 10% of the face value of the bond. Then when the defendant fails to show for court the bondman tries to save money by not hiring a bounty hunter and starts out making calls to the defendant and cosigner.
Some bondmen after interfering by making phone calls listed on the cosigner/defendants bond application actually go to the streets hoping to locate the fugitive and call in the police this way they save money and avoid the hiring of a bounty hunter.
If the bondsman is not successful in the apprehension of the fugitive and has exhausted all avenues they then call in the experienced fanatically strapped bounty hunter and offer an offensive amount to apprehend the fugitive.
At this point the bounty hunter has to deal with an angry cosigner and a fugitive that has dug deeper in their attempt to escape. Information on the defendants/cosigner application is now useless and the bounty hunter must rely on his gut, his experience and street informants. Not to mention expenses out of the bounty hunters pocket that could have been avoided had the bondsman stuck to simply writing the bond.
The bounty hunter buys and maintains their own vehicles, guns, tasers and all other equipment needed to perform the task. These expenses come from money earned while bounty hunting. A successful bounty hunter enables the bondsman the ability to feel secure in writing several bonds and large bonds knowing the fugitive will be arrested.
Bounty hunters are a rare breed and one of the oldest professions in America. The extensive power granted to bounty hunters stems from an 1872 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Taylor vs.Taintor. The high court ruled that a bail bond agent or bounty hunter can pursue bail jumpers across state lines, break into their homes, and arrest him or her at anytime. From jaywalkers to murderers a bounty hunter can lose his life at the hands of a bail jumper on any given day.
So you may ask … Why does a bounty hunter continue to hunt knowing that they most likely will not be paid fairly, that the bondsmen will simply replace them when not needed, that the hours and days spent away from family will never be reflected in the pay?
Earnest Hemingway wrote;
“There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter.”
The hunting of fugitives becomes an addiction to the bounty hunter and is widely taken advantage of by the bonding industry.