Can a Felon Become a Fugitive Recovery Agent?

Can You Become a Bounty Hunter with a Felony? We’ve all seen Dog the Bounty Hunter and know the job well. Someone runs out on their bail and a team of qualified individuals tracks them down.

Sometimes they talk them into turning themselves in with compassion and understanding. Due to your past, this is a job that you may enjoy.

Is it possible for someone who has a felony conviction to become a bounty hunter? It may be a good fit for someone who has been through the system themselves.

What Does a Bounty Hunter do?

A bounty hunter is also known as a federal recovery agent. This a person who captures individuals who’ve run from their legal troubles.

When someone gets released from jail on bond, they pay a fee to a Bondsmen who pays the court for their bail. Or, someone paid their bail and didn’t show up for court.

A federal recovery agent is tasked with capturing the person who ran. They will bring the person back to the arresting agency to face conviction. Agents then receive a percentage of the bounty as a reward.

The ability to do this task relies on your ability to follow laws and regulations. Fugitives also have legal rights that you must respect.

It is important to the success of the justice system for those who do this job to follow the rules of the law. It is also necessary for the person to be in the right mind.

This job can be dangerous. Dealing with individuals means you have to be able to control the situation.

If you’re still interested in pursuing this line of work, then continue reading.

How Do You Become an Agent?

Determining if you’re a good fit for this type of work depends on a lot of variables. As an agent, you have the right to capture people and detain them.

The job can be stressful which means you will need to be able to handle difficult situations. Losing your cool and becoming upset could result in terrible consequences.

Each state has its own rules for Bounty Hunters. Kentucky, for example, will not allow you to collect a fee for the capture of a fugitive. Oregon, Wisconsin, and Illinois have the same ban.

In most states a recovery agent must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a Valid Driver’s License
  • Proper Training & Certification
  • Be a resident of the state you want to work in
  • Be at least 18 Years Old (21 in some states)
  • Have Moral Capability
  • Ability to carry a firearm

Florida will not allow you to do Freelance work. This means you have to be a employed by a bail bondsmen.

Understanding the laws where you live will offer insight into whether you can work as a bounty hunter. It is also important to know the laws for job duties.

Some states like Tennessee and Louisiana prohibit felons from becoming recovery agents. Montana is more lenient only requiring you to work with a licensed insurance agent.

Recovery Agents often have more freedom than police officers. Bounty hunters can enter a house without a warrant. They can also cross jurisdictions to detain someone.

Even though you don’t have to follow the rules of police you have to be mindful of your actions. You’ll want to protect yourself from a lawsuit.

If you live in Arizona, you must have the permission of every person in the house before entering. Assuming you didn’t brush up on your local laws, you may have violated someone’s rights.

Like many other job paths, you’ll need some sort of education. Your GED or High School Diploma is usually required.

In some states, you will have to have a post-secondary education. You will also have to maintain your education while on the job and keep up with changing laws.

You’ll want to be familiar with laws in your state but also those around you. If a fugitive travels over state lines you won’t want them beyond your reach.

It is also a good idea to start Criminal Justice classes to add to your qualifications. A felony conviction may make it difficult for you to save money for school. Check into grants for help furthering your education.

The Screening Process

To fulfill your goal, you’ll have to go through the process of getting certifications. This means passing background checks.

Some states even need credit checks for the application. This may be another obstacle for you but one you can handle with the right resources.

The background check may halt your ability to gain the proper credentials. You may still qualify depending on a few factors.

The type of crime that you committed will affect your ability to succeed. The goal of the background check is to prevent people who may hurt others from doing this line of work.

If the crime you committed was non-violent you have better chances than if you hurt someone. Finishing your sentence without getting into trouble will make your chances even better.

Crimes that say you are immoral such as fraud can prevent you from moving forward as a Bounty Hunter.

Hope is still not lost for you if you live in a state that disqualifies you. An expungement of your crimes will remove the conviction.

The expungement process will take time and money, so you’ll want to be prepared. Often the time since your crime will help you in an expungement. It is important to stay out of trouble.

Once you’ve moved beyond the screening, you’ll then have to get your license. Paying fees and buying equipment means that you will need to manage your money. 


A successful Bounty Hunter must be capable of bringing fugitives to justice. If you have a felony conviction you will need to qualify based on these grounds.

It will take time and money to get your certifications and become qualified to be an agent. Checking your state laws is a necessary part of becoming qualified.

Some states require that you have no previous criminal history while others won’t allow felons. If you are able to move to another state and become a bounty hunter it may be worth it if this is your passion.

To uphold laws, you will need to have certifications, training, and a history that says you will.

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