What is the The Right to Arrest?

What is the right to arrest? When bail bondsmen and bounty hunters have a greater license to arrest than law enforcement there are some things you should know about bail

Defendants must abide by not only the rules of the court when they are out on bond, but they must also abide by the rules given to them by the bondsman. When they fail to comply with any rules set forth during the bail bond process, the right to arrest kicks in.

When does a bail bondsman have the right to arrest a defendant?

The right to arrest by a bail bondsman kicks in when the defendant fails to comply with the rules of the court and or the bail bond contract. When the defendant disobeys rules and laws, the bail bondsman is then allowed to arrest the defendant and bring them directly to jail which then forfeits the bond.

As the cosignor of the bail bond, you should know that at any time the bondsman or bounty hunters can be on your doorstep searching for the defendant. If this happens, document what is said, time, date, if anything was broken, etc. You may need to consult with an attorney.

When would “Right to Arrest” Occur?

This usually happens when the defendant breaks the rules of the bail contract and/or the rules of the court, as listed below:

What are some of the rules to be on bail bonds?

  • Defendant may not do drugs and may be subject to drug testing at any given moment
  • Defendant may not commit any additional crimes nor have interaction with law enforcement
  • Defendant may not be allowed to drink alcohol
  • Defendant may not be allowed to have access to the internet or electronic devices allowing them to gain access to the internet. This depends on the charges.
  • Defendant must appear to all court appearances
  • Defendant must contact the bondsman on a weekly basis; either by phone, face-time, or coming in to the bail office.
  • Defendant is not allowed to leave the state (or their home) unless authorized by the court
  • Defendant is not allowed to contact their victim(s) 

If the defendant does not appear in court, the bail bonds company (and the cosignor) can file a complaint against the defendant (now a fugitive). Not only can bondsman take the defendant to any local or county jail, in any state; but they have the right to pursue the fugitive to any house known to the defendant to effect the arrest.

This means that if the defendant listed your house on his bail paperwork, you can bet bondsmen will be knocking on your door. Most good bondsmen will knock first…

Are Bail Bondsmen or Bounty Hunters Law Enforcement?

No. bondsmen and bounty hunters are not law enforcement. They work for the bail bonds company. Some say bondsmen are officers of the court. They are not officers of the court. They are a company looking to ensure they don’t have to pay the court the full bond.

Licensed bail bondsmen and bounty hunters are not government agents. That being said, they are not required to request an arrest warrant and can detain suspects for as long as it takes to bring them to the authorities. The bail bondsman (and bounty hunter) must ensure that they have on hand all documents proving that they are allowed to find and detain the fugitive while doing so.

Can a bail bondsman be arrested for kicking in my door?

Bail bondsmen and bounty hunters can be arrested for kicking in your door, but, it depends. For example, if your house was listed by the defendant as a place they were staying, or the courts had your address listed for the defendant, then yes, a bondsman can visit your house looking for the defendant.

But, if the bounty hunter or bondsman went into a private home or private place of business and started kicking in doors, then yes, it would be illegal to do so.

When a bondsman or bounty hunter know where a defendant is, but aren’t allowed to enter the premises, they will almost always call local law enforcement to respond.

In addition to looking for the person on their own, bonding companies can hire bounty hunters. The law that allows bounty hunters to carry weapons varies from state to state, and some jurisdictions require bounty hunters to wear clothing that clearly identifies their profession. There are also often additional restrictions on bounty hunters crossing state lines while pursuing defendants.

Is Bounty Hunting Illegal?

In some countries bounty hunting is illegal. Because bounty hunting is illegal in nearly all developed countries outside the United States (with the notable exception of the Philippines), bounty hunters cannot capture their target by fleeing to other countries.

The United States has arrested and extradited wanted bounty hunters from other countries, most notably Mexico and Canada. In mostly all countries it is illegal for a bail bondsman or bounty hunter to take someone from their country and bring them across any border, it could be deemed kidnapping. See the case of when Dog the Bounty Hunter was jailed in Mexico for “kidnapping” a fugitive heir.

Video: What is The Right To Arrest

So now you know what is the right to arrest. It’s safe to say that bail agents and bounty hunters have a greater license to arrest than law enforcement. This is also thanks to the Supreme Court decision of “Taylor vs. Taintor.” Wherein, bail agents and bounty hunters are not required to obtain additional warrants or extradition papers to effect the right to arrest and can enter the residence of the defendant or indemnitor for the purpose of arrest to bring the defendant back to court.

What Should a New Bondsman Know About the Right to Arrest?

All bondsmen go through classes for their license and “right to arrest” is always taught. It is a good idea to know state and local laws when apprehending a fugitive. Be sure checking in with the local police department or sheriff office in that county is done first. If a bounty hunter apprehends a fugitive without checking up on the state or local laws they may be faced with fines or jail time for kidnapping charges.

About the author

Nick Judelson is a veteran bail bondsman who helps to show cosignors and defendants how to calculate bail and how bail bonds work throughout the United States.

1 thought on “What is the The Right to Arrest?”

  1. I was picked up by the police and was able to bond out but my bail agent said I didn’t check in on Monday and I know I did because I talked to the secretary. I have phone records to prove it. Did they have a right to arrest me and put me back in jail or was this a bail scam?

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