Q: What is a Fugitive Recovery Agent ?
A: A Fugitive Recovery Agent is a person hired or contracted by a bail bond company or surety to act as their agent for the purpose of locating and apprehending a fugitive that has failed to appear in court or has otherwise violated the bail bond contract or release conditions. Fugitive Recovery Agents are sometimes referred to as bail enforcement agents or bounty hunters.
Q: Is there a difference between a Bounty Hunter and a Fugitive Recovery Agent ?
A: Yes, although many people including state regulators and the media often refer to bail bond fugitive recovery agents as "bounty hunters" there is an important distinction. Fugitive Recovery Agents a/k/a Bail Enforcement Agents are unique to the United States and orbit the commercial bail bond business, they act as agents of bail bond companies for the purpose of enforcing the conditions of the bail bond contract. Fugitive Recovery Agents work pursuant to a written contract and they are included in the legal framework of the bail bond regulatory system. Bounty Hunters are those that are in the business of tracking and / or capturing fugitives for the purpose of collecting a reward offered by government and non government organizations, they normally operate autonomously rather than by contract. While some governments are known to employ bounty hunters similar to mercenaries, most simply offer a monetary reward and pay anyone that can produce their fugitive with some limited exceptions i.e. many governments will not pay rewards / bounties to government officials.
Q: Is there another organization that represents Bounty Hunters ?
A: Yes, the International Bounty Hunter Union was chartered by the National Association of Fugitive Recovery Agents to represent bounty hunters across the globe that work outside of the commercial bail bond industry.
Q: Where do Fugitive Recovery Agents derive their arrest authority ?
A: Below is Text from the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Taylor v. Taintor, 16 Wall (83 U.S. 366, 21 L. Ed 287)
"When bail is given, the principal is regarded as delivered to the custody of his sureties. Their dominion is a continuance of the original imprisonment. Whenever they choose to do so, they may seize him and deliver him up in their discharge; and if that cannot be done at once, they may imprison him until it can be done. They may exercise their rights in person or by agent. They may pursue him into another State; may arrest him on the Sabbath; and if necessary, may break and enter his house for that purpose. The seizure is not made by virtue of new process. None is needed. It is likened to the rearrest by the sheriff of an escaping prisoner"
Note: Some States regulate the way in which a Surety or his Fugitive Recovery Agent may apprehend a Fugitive. Please visit the members area for information concerning local regulations. Moreover, Fugitive Recovery Agents do not have authority to apprehend fugitives that have fled to a foreign country, however they may skip trace the fugitive and liaise with local authorities to effect an arrest when necessary.
Q: Does the National Association of Fugitive Recovery Agents require completion of a training program ?
A: No, we do not require completion of a training program in order to register. However, it is paramount that anyone working as a Fugitive Recovery Agent understand the legal framework under which they operate, particularly the regulations or practices in the area in which they operate, not to mention the safety considerations, tactical and investigate aspects of the profession. For this reason we recommend that anyone entering the profession seek a reputable training provider. The Apprentice Program was developed for the purpose of connecting new and inexperienced members with an experienced Fugitive Recovery Agent in their area for further training and mentoring.
Q: Is Certification required to become a registered member ?
A: No, certification is not required to register. NAFRA certification is optional and is offered to members that wish to complete the exam and obtain certification as part of their professional development.
Q: Do Fugitive Recovery Agents carry Badges & Wear Tactical Gear ?
A: This falls under "local regulations or practices" so there is no blanket answer that applies nationally, i.e. Pennsylvania tends to be liberal concerning the use of Badges by Fugitive Recovery Agents, while Connecticut specifies the badge in which Fugitive Recovery (Bail Enforcement) Agents carry. This is another example of why understanding the legal framework, local regulations and practices is paramount.
Q: Does the National Association of Fugitive Recovery Agents offer Badges ?
A: No, because regulations & practices are not consistent at the national level we do not offer badges. However, we do offer the NAFRA Registered Fugitive Recovery Agent Photo ID Card to all members. Registered Fugitive Recovery Agents carry this Photo ID and often wear it in plain view while working for quick identification, many also carry or wear it in conjunction with a badge they purchased from a fugitive recovery supply store. Smith & Warren offers custom designed badges, however we recommend that you check your state regulations concerning badges before purchasing any badge.
Q: What's the difference between the Registered Fugitive Recovery Agent Photo ID Card issued by the National Association of Fugitive Recovery Agents and the Generic ID Cards sold at online stores ?
A: The generic Fugitive Recovery Agent Photo ID Cards sold at online stores are a novelty, similar to the "Press", "Navy Seal", "CIA" or other gag ID's sold online, they are not issued by a bona fide third party organization and a legitimate professional would not carry such a Card.
The photo card issued by the National Association of Fugitive Recovery Agents is designed similar to drivers license quality, it can be verified by contacting the NAFRA, it contains the NAFRA Seal,photo, physical description, issue/expiration date, a registration number and corresponding bar code. This Photo ID Card verifies that a Fugitive Recovery Agent is registered with the National Association and is subject to our code of ethics and complaints or violations are investigated by our professional standards unit.
Q: I'm trying to get into the Fugitive Recovery profession, what do I need to know ?
A: The first thing you need to know is that this business isn't for everyone, it can be challenging and risky at times. This is a for profit business and in order to be successful and profitable you have to approach it as a business. This is also a relationship business, you will need to work hard to prove yourself if you want to build the relationships necessary to make it in this industry. Your best chance at getting a start in this business is finding a mentor that's willing to take you on, the Apprentice Program which allows a prospective apprentice to join the association and have a listing in SkipNet is the best possible way to get the exposure you need to get your foot in the door.
Q: What can I expect to earn working as a Fugitive Recovery Agent ?
A: Because this profession is primarily commission based with most agents earning a percentage of the bond, there's no way to estimate what someone might earn, skill level and area of operation will play a big role in this. The "How To Become A Bounty Hunter" site has developed a chart with information about salary for Fugitive Recovery Agents. An important thing to keep in mind is it can take time before someone is able to earn a full time living in this profession, so we recommend that you don't quit your "day job" anytime soon. If someone has told you that you will find fame and fortune in this business they are probably trying to sell you something.
Q: What is SkipNet ?
Q: How does the Apprentice Program work ?
Q: What is the NAFRA policy concerning use of the association Logo ?
Q: Are there any restrictions on who may register ?
A: Yes, anyone suffering from serious mental illness, convicted of a felony within the past 10 years, or any misdemeanor in the past 3 years is ineligible, and anyone convicted of a violent felony, kidnapping, a drug related felony or any category of sexual offense is permanently ineligible. Also, anyone that has had their membership revoked in the past must obtain special approval.
Q: How do Fugitive Recovery Agents get paid ?
A: While some bail bond companies have "in house" Fugitive Recovery Agents on their payroll, the vast majority of Fugitive Recovery Agents operate as independent contractors and are paid a commission of between 10% and 25% of the bond, they are not considered employees of the association or the bail bond companies they provide services to and are generally issued an IRS Form 1099 by the bail bond company for payments they receive.
Q: Can registering with the NAFRA help me to get Fugitive Recovery assignments ?
A: Yes, being registered gives you national exposure in that bail bond companies from across the country use our SkipNet Directory to locate Fugitive Recovery Agents. This normally happens when they have a Fugitive that has fled to another city or state and they need the services of a Fugitive Recovery Agent outside of their own area.
Q: Why doesn't the NAFRA make SkipNet available to the public ?
A: Given the nature of this profession we consider information regarding our members to be sensitive, these professionals often deal with dangerous people and situations so we consider protection of their privacy to be paramount. There are also issues with unwanted solicitations, spammers and scammers misusing contact information. Therefore, contact information is provided on a need to know basis through SkipNet, and in some cases through member services.
Q: What is the best way to contact the NAFRA ? and how long does it take to receive a reply ?
A: The best way to contact the NAFRA is by email through our contact form. We receive numerous emails, letters and telephone calls each day. In order to keep membership fees low we have minimal administrative staffing so we must prioritize how we reply to inquiries. Members, Regulators, Law Enforcement & Media are given priority, therefore inquiries from the general public cannot always be replied to promptly.