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  #1  
Old 11-08-2007, 02:44 AM
Sampiro Sampiro is online now
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Please explain what Dog the Bounty Hunter does and how he makes his money

I'm not referring to the TV show but his bail & bounty business. I've watched a few blips from the show but I'm not sure I've watched one in its entirety- I understand from what I've seen that he's more of a bail bondsman than a bounty hunter in the "chasing down criminals with a price on their head" variety.

I understand generally how bail works (not from personal experience, thank Og). If the accused criminal's bail is set at $10,000 and he doesn't have that kind of money, then the accused or his family/friend/whatever puts up $1000 and signs with Dog who guarantees to the court that the accused will be in court on X date or that he (Dog) will pay $10,000. If the accused shows up in court on the assigned date then Dog is off the hook and he keeps the accused's 10% (or whatever the percentage is) as his fee for guaranteeing the remaining $9,000. Is this generally correct?

Okay, Dog chases down people who have jumped bail. Are these people he's posted bail for?

Assume $10,000 guy doesn't show up for court. Dog presumably has had to pony up the $9,000 between the 10% and the bail. When Dog arrests him and delivers him to the authorities, does he get the $10,000 back? Does he get the same fee from the accused/family whether the accused shows up in court or not or is there an agreement that the accused/family will pay him (Dog) the full amount if the accused doesn't show or... what exactly? Does the court pay him a reward for bringing in the person whose bail he signed?

Does Dog (specifically) contract with other bondsman to track down the ones who don't show for court or does he just track down his own fugitives? On what authority does he have the power to make arrests? Can he go onto private property?

Are there really enough people who jump bail to make your average successful bail bondsman spend significant time tracking them down or is this for television?

Thanks for any insight.
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  #2  
Old 11-08-2007, 06:53 AM
friedo friedo is offline
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Quote:
I understand generally how bail works (not from personal experience, thank Og). If the accused criminal's bail is set at $10,000 and he doesn't have that kind of money, then the accused or his family/friend/whatever puts up $1000 and signs with Dog who guarantees to the court that the accused will be in court on X date or that he (Dog) will pay $10,000. If the accused shows up in court on the assigned date then Dog is off the hook and he keeps the accused's 10% (or whatever the percentage is) as his fee for guaranteeing the remaining $9,000. Is this generally correct?
As I understand it, Dog (or any other bondsman) must put up the $10,000 immediately, and gets it back from the court when the suspect appears in court. If he does, then Dog gets a $1000 profit. Otherwise, he loses $9,000. This is a significant motivator for making sure the guy arrives.

Quote:
Does Dog (specifically) contract with other bondsman to track down the ones who don't show for court or does he just track down his own fugitives? On what authority does he have the power to make arrests? Can he go onto private property?
I don't know if Dog contracts with other bondsman or not, but the authority to make the arrest comes from the bail contract you sign when you take out the bail bond. It says, essentially "If I skip town, I give you permission to track down and arrest me." The Supreme Court case Taylor v. Taintor established this and recognized quite wide latitude for bounty hunters. They're not bound by the strict standards that police are with regard to warrants and evidence, because their job is to catch someone who skipped on a bail contract and voluntarily forfeited his rights, as opposed to conducting a criminal investigation.
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  #3  
Old 11-08-2007, 10:28 AM
JSexton JSexton is offline
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Also, someone is more likely to post a bond on you if you put up collateral, like your house or car. Dog then gets to repo that if you fail to show.
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  #4  
Old 11-08-2007, 10:41 AM
SuaSponte SuaSponte is offline
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Originally Posted by JSexton
Also, someone is more likely to post a bond on you if you put up collateral, like your house or car. Dog then gets to repo that if you fail to show.
I'm not sure about this. If you had collateral for the full value of the bond, you would not have to go through a bail bondsman and pay him the 10%. So, any collateral a bail bondsman would have would likely be only for his fee amount, and he still would be at risk for the other 90%.

Sua
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  #5  
Old 11-08-2007, 10:50 AM
friedo friedo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuaSponte
I'm not sure about this. If you had collateral for the full value of the bond, you would not have to go through a bail bondsman and pay him the 10%. So, any collateral a bail bondsman would have would likely be only for his fee amount, and he still would be at risk for the other 90%.
Do courts accept collateral, though? I thought they only took cash. So if you had a car you'd either have to take a bail bond or sell the car for cash and use that.
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  #6  
Old 11-08-2007, 10:58 AM
hajario hajario is online now
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I don't know specifically about Dog but someone could contract with a bondsman. If someone skips on a bondsman, he could contract with me to get the deadbeat back. Maybe I would get 20% of the value of the bond.
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  #7  
Old 11-08-2007, 11:02 AM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Bounty hunters are a strange breed legally and I don't think most other 1st world countries have something similar. They basically have a license to kidnap once you skip off from them. They can pursue someone across state lines, stalk them, and then break into a place that they are staying in the middle of the night, bind and gag them, and throw them in the back of the car to head back to the courthouse. They have way more leeway than the actual police. To do the job, you really need to be a psycho badass. After all, their job depends on kidnapping murderers and rapists.

Do bounty hunters have a practical limit on what they can do besides not killing the person for fun? Can they just beat the hell out of a rapist once they have detained them? I am sure that this is technically illegal but the bounty hunter operates in a strange world and who is going to listen to the fleeing suspect?
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  #8  
Old 11-08-2007, 11:03 AM
Max Torque Max Torque is online now
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Once, on a "pop-up video" style episode, they popped up a note saying that Beth (Dog's wife, who runs the bail bond side of the business) must write something like $400,000 in bonds per month to keep the business afloat. I'm not certain of the number, but it was in that neighborhood.
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  #9  
Old 11-08-2007, 11:14 AM
Billdo Billdo is offline
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A related question: When Dog and his crew are chasing after someone, they seem to be wearing badges on chains around their necks. The badges seem to be a variety of different shapes.

Does anyone know whether those badges are anything official, or are they just random, meaningless badges they've picked up somewhere?

On the amount that the bail bond company has to put up, I don't know the laws in Dog's jurisdiction, but often where something needs to be "bonded" in court, the court will take a certificate from a licensed insurance or surety company in lieu of actual payment of the bond amount. I assume that Dog's firm is either a licensed surety or an agent of such a surety entitled to give courts the bonding certificates.
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  #10  
Old 11-08-2007, 11:50 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Quote:
I'm not sure about this. If you had collateral for the full value of the bond, you would not have to go through a bail bondsman and pay him the 10%. So, any collateral a bail bondsman would have would likely be only for his fee amount, and he still would be at risk for the other 90%.
Even if the collateral is not worth the full amount, it still allows Dog to cut his losses some in the event that he can't get the guy to court. Without collateral, he has to bring in at least 90% of his folks to turn a profit. With collateral worth 50% in each case, he could get away with 80% success. I'm sure his success rates are higher than that, but that just means more profit.
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  #11  
Old 11-08-2007, 11:52 AM
Balthisar Balthisar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billdo
[B]ut often where something needs to be "bonded" in court, the court will take a certificate from a licensed insurance or surety company in lieu of actual payment of the bond amount. I assume that Dog's firm is either a licensed surety or an agent of such a surety entitled to give courts the bonding certificates.
That's the whole point of a bond, the very definition, isn't it? You don't pay a "bail bond" to the court, you pay "bail." If you're out on a "bond" it's not because you paid bail, but because someone posted a bond for you in lieu of bail.
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  #12  
Old 11-08-2007, 12:13 PM
Sampiro Sampiro is online now
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So if Dog catches the guy who skipped on $10,000 bail that Dog put up, does he get his $10,000 back when he takes the guy in or is that still forfeit?
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  #13  
Old 11-08-2007, 12:24 PM
Frank Frank is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sampiro
So if Dog catches the guy who skipped on $10,000 bail that Dog put up, does he get his $10,000 back when he takes the guy in or is that still forfeit?
Yes. It's not so much making money in his case as it is not losing money. There are people who specialize in hunting down skips for bondsmen, a la Midnight Run, but I don't think that's what he does.
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  #14  
Old 11-08-2007, 12:45 PM
brazil84 brazil84 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sampiro
So if Dog catches the guy who skipped on $10,000 bail that Dog put up, does he get his $10,000 back when he takes the guy in or is that still forfeit?
I believe that when the skipper is returned to the authorities, the bondsman can make an application to have bail forfeiture lifted.

http://news.findlaw.com/court_tv/s/2...004204643.html
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  #15  
Old 11-08-2007, 12:51 PM
Cluricaun Cluricaun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billdo
A related question: When Dog and his crew are chasing after someone, they seem to be wearing badges on chains around their necks. The badges seem to be a variety of different shapes.
They're most probably just novelties for the most part. Anyone can buy one and it kind of helps with the look. Not too many people are going to stop a dude with a badge if he's chasing down someone. It probably helps to have some official looking bling.
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  #16  
Old 11-09-2007, 03:06 AM
Koxinga Koxinga is offline
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I've heard that the whole "Dead or Alive" thing seen in Old West wanted posters referred to the desire of the bondsman and not the court per se. Apparently, if someone skipped bail and the bondsman was facing a loss, he could bring the fugitive's dead body to the court and still get his money back.

I wouldn't think that this is still the case . . . or is it?
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  #17  
Old 11-09-2007, 07:37 AM
Chez Guevara Chez Guevara is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koxinga
I've heard that the whole "Dead or Alive" thing seen in Old West wanted posters referred to the desire of the bondsman and not the court per se.
I haven't heard that.

That said, I can only find facsimilies of wanted posters for the Old West as they pertain to known outlaws who have evaded capture or who have escaped from prison. Such posters appear to be authorised by a sheriff, a marshal or, in some cases, a state governor. I have a hard time believing that suspects who skipped bail supplied by a bondsman would have appeared on a poster as Wanted: Dead or Alive at the behest of the bondsman in question, irrespective of the alleged crime.

Quote:
Apparently, if someone skipped bail and the bondsman was facing a loss, he could bring the fugitive's dead body to the court and still get his money back.
Subject to the strictures of the wanted poster it's possible, but not a preferable option for the bondsman.

Whereas in the Old West a fugitive could be the subject of a Dead or Alive edict, Dead was invariably less financially rewarding to a bondsman or bounty hunter than Alive. In fact, Dead didn't reap the full reward for anyone who killed a wanted criminal. Bob Ford received half the bounty on the head of Jesse James simply because he turned in a Dead Jesse instead of the living version. Therefore if a bail bondsman was in any way involved in the pursuit of a fugitive it would not be in his best financial interests to check in a dead body rather than a live person.
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  #18  
Old 11-09-2007, 07:58 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty
Bounty hunters are a strange breed legally and I don't think most other 1st world countries have something similar.
Indeed. Bail bonding for profit is illegal in Canada, and therefore no bounty hunting.
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  #19  
Old 11-09-2007, 08:40 AM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper
Indeed. Bail bonding for profit is illegal in Canada, and therefore no bounty hunting.
Out of curiosity - how do Canadian courts handle bail then? Do they set it to values low enough for accused criminals to make it regularly, or do a lot more people waiting for trial stay in jail?
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  #20  
Old 11-09-2007, 09:05 AM
askeptic askeptic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuaSponte
I'm not sure about this. If you had collateral for the full value of the bond, you would not have to go through a bail bondsman and pay him the 10%. So, any collateral a bail bondsman would have would likely be only for his fee amount, and he still would be at risk for the other 90%.

Sua
In many jurisdictions if you attempt to bond by collateral, the collateral must have a liquid value of three time the full amount of the bond. So if the bond is $10,000 and you want to use your house, you must have $30,000 in equity free of any encumbrances or liens. It would be easier to take out a home equity loan and pay the $10,000 bond. Plus, you can't just walk into court and hand the judge a copy of your title, it must be appraised and the lender needs to get involved. Using collateral is a complicated process.

Also most bondsmen evaluate the defendant for type and seriousness of crime alleged, ties to the community and likelihood he will skip, employment and residence history. You can bet that a career criminal with no work history or ties to the community will have to pay the full 10% fee plus provide rock solid collateral for the full amount of the bond and have at least two co-signers who will be responsible for the costs of tracking him down if he skips and be on the hook for the full amount of the bond.

Of course, given the nature of the bail bond business there are frequently hungry bondsmen who will post a questionable bond because they need the money. All bondsmen carry insurance though to insure payment to the court. When a bondsman posts bail with the court no actual money changes hands. The bondsman simply agrees to be obligated to the court for the full amount if the defendant fails to show up. If that happens the bondsman has six months to produce him before having to pay, and can get extensions in six month increments.

Most of the time they don't even start looking for the person until almost six months have passed. They generally rely on the person getting picked up on the warrant by the police, usually during a routine traffic stop. It does not matter how or where the person gets back into police custody, once they are in custody the bond is exonerated.

All this applies to my jurisdiction, others are certainly different.
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  #21  
Old 11-09-2007, 09:12 AM
askeptic askeptic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muldoonthief
Out of curiosity - how do Canadian courts handle bail then? Do they set it to values low enough for accused criminals to make it regularly, or do a lot more people waiting for trial stay in jail?
Probably the same way Oregon does. Oregon does not allow bounty hunters or bondsmen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon Law
Defendant only can be released from custody on conditional release, deposit bond, or on his own recognizance (i.e., no surety bonds). Or. Rev. Stat.135.255, .260, .265. In State v. Epps, 585 P .2nd 425 (Or. 1978), the Oregon Supreme court abolished the broad common law rights of bounty hunters and bond agents, and applied the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act to bounty hunters seeking take defendants over state lines.
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  #22  
Old 11-09-2007, 09:18 AM
askeptic askeptic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koxinga
I've heard that the whole "Dead or Alive" thing seen in Old West wanted posters referred to the desire of the bondsman and not the court per se. Apparently, if someone skipped bail and the bondsman was facing a loss, he could bring the fugitive's dead body to the court and still get his money back.

I wouldn't think that this is still the case . . . or is it?
Yes it is still the case. When a person dies the charges are dismissed and the bail is exonorated. The bounty hunter is still subject to murder charges though if he is responsible for the defendants death unless he has a valid defense. Bounty hunters do not have any defense you or I don't have.
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  #23  
Old 11-09-2007, 09:28 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muldoonthief
Out of curiosity - how do Canadian courts handle bail then? Do they set it to values low enough for accused criminals to make it regularly, or do a lot more people waiting for trial stay in jail?
Bail is still an important part of our system - just not for profit. In fact, it's a criminal offence (obstuction of justice ) to pay a surety, or for a surety to accept indemnification:
Quote:
Obstructing justice

139.
(1) Every one who wilfully attempts in any manner to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice in a judicial proceeding,
(a) by indemnifying or agreeing to indemnify a surety, in any way and either in whole or in part, or

(b) where he is a surety, by accepting or agreeing to accept a fee or any form of indemnity whether in whole or in part from or in respect of a person who is released or is to be released from custody,
is guilty of
(c) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or

(d) an offence punishable on summary conviction.
So bail has to be paid by the accused, or by friends and family members of the accused who are willing to support the accused and vouch for him, but not for a fee. My impression is that bail amounts therefore tend to be lower than in the U.S.
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  #24  
Old 11-09-2007, 09:35 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Oh, and for tracking down those who skip - what do you think we have Mounties for?
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  #25  
Old 06-25-2014, 10:11 PM
benjohnson321 benjohnson321 is offline
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Bounty Hunter Badges

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cluricaun View Post
They're most probably just novelties for the most part. Anyone can buy one and it kind of helps with the look. Not too many people are going to stop a dude with a badge if he's chasing down someone. It probably helps to have some official looking bling.
I've read a lot of disappointed comments online over bail bondsmen wearing badges. The alleged "Bounty Hunters" are made out to be police wanna bes. I don't know why most people think that without saying paramedics, police dispatchers, security guards, firemen, building inspectors and code enforcement wouldn't ALSO be pointed out as police wanna bes since they all wear badges too. The official police force in the United States began in the late 1800's and bounty hunting history goes back as far as the early 1820's so why not say that the police are bounty hunter wanna bes? Maybe we should get technical and right down to the point. Bail bonding is a privatized business verse law enforcement being a state or government paid occupation. The police have an "ego" that they have all the power which is simply not true since police have so many rules to follow I'd think twice about being a cop over a bounty hunter unless bounty hunters want to write parking citations, radar traffic, direct traffic or stand guard at a rap music concert. You have to wear a uniform, respond to domestic violence calls, pick up urine-soaked drunks and toss them into a taxi cab, etc. That career stinks! And sadly, law enforcement is becoming more and more privatized. The state of Minnesota has 59 privatized police departments...why? Money! State paid police careers don't support the economy. They don't generate revenue to fuel our economy just like the security at VISA don't generate revenue for the credit card corporation. Privatizing law enforcement cuts out pensions, overtime, sick paid days, vacation, etc. I won't type anymore because it will make you sick....can you believe that 85% of our fire departments are volunteer? That's worse than privatizing them. But getting back to the badges. They are shields. They are a symbol of protection. So unless a bail bondsmen's badge says anything besides what's posted on their state issued license they "should" be arrested, or fined. And one last thing. A bail bondsman will tell you that bounty hunting is as rare as can be. Only about 3% of the folks they bail out of jail jump. And the jumpers are usually the ones who honestly forgot that today was court day. Do they run over to the defendants house and kick in their door? Probably not. If you own a bail company and have to leave state to catch someone then you are losing money. If they bail out a defendant on a 100,000 dollar bond, they guarantee that the defendant will show up on his assigned court date. If he disappears, then the judge allows the bondman up to six months to bring the defendant in, or pay the full 100,000 dollars. That stinks!
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  #26  
Old 06-26-2014, 08:19 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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IIRC the "Dead or Alive" posters of the notorious old west were for rewards offered by the state. This person has offended so often, so severely, that we want to offer an incentive to catch him or get him out of circulation.
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  #27  
Old 06-26-2014, 12:51 PM
bob++ bob++ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muldoonthief View Post
Out of curiosity - how do Canadian courts handle bail then? Do they set it to values low enough for accused criminals to make it regularly, or do a lot more people waiting for trial stay in jail?
I think Canada (and Oregon) deal with it pretty much the same as the UK. Bail is usually set within the defendant's means, and it does not have to be paid unless the defendant actually skips.
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  #28  
Old 06-26-2014, 01:41 PM
Kimballkid Kimballkid is offline
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BTW, this thread is six years old.
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  #29  
Old 06-27-2014, 02:38 PM
bleach bleach is offline
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Originally Posted by Sampiro View Post
Does Dog (specifically) contract with other bondsman to track down the ones who don't show for court or does he just track down his own fugitives?
I know this is an old thread but I don't think this question was addressed.

I remember at least two shows when Dog and his Hawaii crew went after someone else's fugitive. He mentioned it informally, like "Our friend XX called this morning and needed our help to track down a skip. Here's what she sent over about the guy." And then he did the usual briefing and planning. At the end of those shows, Dog met the other bail bond agent at the jail. They never talked about sharing profits or anything; Dog just handed the guy over to the other bail bond agent, and she took him in to be processed.
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  #30  
Old 06-27-2014, 02:41 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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So what is the logic of payout?

Does the person putting up bail get (all? Some of?) their bail money back when a fugitive (one who has skipped bail and missed their court date) is delivered?

Or does the state put up a portion of the bail money as a reward for returning the fugitive, thus allowing these guys to cut their losses?
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  #31  
Old 06-27-2014, 09:28 PM
RickJay RickJay is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
Bounty hunters are a strange breed legally and I don't think most other 1st world countries have something similar.
Indeed, it varies from state to state; bounty hunting is illegal or heavily restricted in some states.
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