How to Become a Bounty Hunter in Idaho

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Bounty hunter laws in Idaho are about as friendly to a bounty hunter as they are unfriendly to their quarry. Idaho allows the arrest and capture of any fugitive on the run or "bail jumper", in any part of the state at any time. The state even allows citizens to arrest someone for a variety of reasons, including when a felony is committed in their presence [19-604, 1.] and not in their presence [19-604, 2.]. Any bail bondsman can empower a person of "suitable age and discretion" to also arrest a fugitive on the run. But before you dust off the black trench coat and snakeskin cowboy hat and ride off to Idaho on a chopper, there are a few things you need to know.

  • Establish residency in Idaho.

  • Study all the criminal procedure laws in Idaho. Learn how you can arrest a felon, when you can break into their home, when you need to show a warrant and how the process of bail bonding works. In Idaho, you can arrest a felon at basically any time and any place, and you don't always need a warrant to do so.

  • Take a class in criminal procedure at a local community college. This will teach you most of the nuts and bolts of the legal side of bounty hunting. It will also make your resume appear a little more professional, when you go to get your first job.

  • Establish your business. Print up business cards, or create a website. Then go out and look for your first job.

  • Contact the local bail bondsmen in your area and around the state. Simply tell them you are a bounty hunter, list your credentials (if you have law enforcement experience, it is a huge plus), and let them know you are looking for work. Give them your rates; typically it is 10 percent of the bail recovered; however, check around to see what other bounty hunters are charging, and offer a lower rate just to land your first gig.

  • Get out on the streets and make some contacts. You should be comfortable going into the "right" bars at the wrong time, and asking some tough questions. This isn't the Wild West, so you won't be grabbing the bartender by the lapels, tossing him across the room and shooting up the bar, if he doesn't give you the information you want, but you should be able to come up with a few "interesting" ways to get people to talk.

Tips & Warnings

  • Bounty hunters today mainly use computers and phones to track down bail jumpers. They will track their whereabouts and last known addresses, talk to family members, friends and stalk their hideouts. Start learning a few of these tricks, either through a friend or peer that is in law enforcement, or by researching them online. You could learn a few interrogation techniques by taking a law enforcement class, or reading books on the subject. However, there is not replacement for real world experience.
  • Although bounty hunting today is not as violent as it once might have been, there is obvious danger, so be prepared for it. Use protective gear and weapons at your own discretion, and always contact authorities when you make an arrest. Many times they will be glad to assist.
  • Don't expect to make a living bounty hunting right off the bat. Keep you day job until you build your business.

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