In the United States legal system, the 1872 U.S. Supreme Court case Taylor v. Taintor, 16 Wall (83 U.S. 366, 21 L.Ed. 287), is cited as having established that the person into whose custody an accused is remanded as part of the accused’s bail has sweeping rights to recover that person (although this may have been accurate at the time the decision was reached, the portion cited was obiter dicta and has no binding precedential value). Most bounty hunters are hired by a bail bondsman: the bounty hunter is paid a portion of the bail the fugitive initially paid. If the fugitive eludes bail, the bondsman, not the bounty hunter, is responsible for the remainder of the fugitive’s bail.
Thus, the bounty hunter is the bail bondsman’s way of ensuring his clients arrive at trial. In the United States, bounty hunters catch an estimated 31,500 bail jumpers per year, about 90% of people who jump bail. Bounty hunters are also sometimes known as “bail enforcement agents” or “fugitive recovery agents,” which are the preferred industry and polite terms, but in common speech, they are still called “bounty hunters”.
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