Bounty Hunting in Florida
In the state of Florida, it is against the law to refer to yourself as a bounty hunter. In Florida, skipped fugitives are apprehended by limited surety agents or professional bail bondsmen. However, aside from this quirk, the laws regarding bail enforcement in Florida are not unnecessarily strict. The state has a very high crime rate, which provides bounty hunters with all the work they have time to handle, even in the beginning stages of the career.
Education and Training
If you want to become a Florida bounty hunter, the first step is to call the Florida Department of Financial Services to see if you meet qualification requirements to become a licensed bail bondsman. Candidates who qualify must then complete all required training to prepare for the rigors of the job and to become knowledgeable about the state laws and regulations governing fugitive recovery. Once training is complete, candidates must get a Limited Surety Agent Temporary License. This requires submitting fingerprints, passing a criminal background check, and paying application and licensing fees. Full details on this step of the process are available from the Agents and Agent Licensing Department. Bounty hunters working on a temporary license are then required to complete a one-year internship working alongside a licensed, experienced bail bondsman. This internship must include working at least 30 hours a week for a year. After the internship is completed, the candidate must pass a final examination at a Promissory Testing Center.
As stated earlier, there are certain requirements that must be met before one can become a surety agent in Florida. At minimum, candidates must be at least 18 years of age and be citizens or legal aliens of the United States who reside in Florida. In addition, candidates must submit to a credit evaluation and thorough background check. To apply for a license, applicants must submit a written application that includes professional and personal history along with three letters of recommendation from reputable citizens of the state who are not family members. Before completing the process, applicants must submit fingerprints and photo identification, provide a verifiable state business address, and pay all administrative fees. Licensed surety agents in Florida must complete at least 14 hours of continuing education every two years.
In Florida, limited surety agent or bail bond agent licenses do not authorize individuals to carry a weapon. While the state statues do not specifically state regulations for bail bond agents using weapons on the job, it is a good idea to contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to learn specifics, especially regarding the area in which you are working.
In this state, bounty hunters must be contracted for fugitive apprehension through a licensed bail bond company. Freelance work is not allowed and those pursuing fugitives from other states must be licensed in their state of residence before they are allowed to make an arrest in Florida.
Although it seems that Florida takes a hard stand regarding bounty hunting, they simply want to do away with vigilante efforts and avoid the negative connotations associated with bounty hunters. While the laws and regulations of the state are a bit strict, this is one of the prime markets for individuals wishing to enter this field.