Bounty Hunting in Florida – it is a big “No, No.” All jumpers are hunted by the bail bond companies. They lobbied in Tallahassee (which is the Capital of Florida for those of you who have been asleep at the wheel for the last one hundred years) to rid the state of its hunters.
Not only did they lobby against hunters, they made it a 3rd class felony for someone to come into the State to hunt and pick up a jumper from out of state if they are not licensed in the state where the bond is written. Which is not a bad thing. Otherwise there would be all kinds of weirdos running around trying to pick up jumpers.
Any way the law in Florida states that Free Lance Hunters are BANNED – They do not allow Bounty Hunters. Fugitives can only be recovered by those whom they are bonded out by. In other words jumpers can only be recovered by the bonding company who posted the bond.
Florida even kicked it up a notch. It is also illegal to refer to oneself as a Bounty Hunter, bail enforcement agent, fugitive recovery agent, or anything other than “limited surety agent” or a “professional bail bondsman.”
The licensing Requirements for the State of Florida are:
In order to undertake bail in Florida, a person must have a license (AR4-221.001,FS 648.26,648.30) Florida law specifies two kinds of bail bond agent.
1. A limited surety agent, defined as a person appointed by an insurer to execute bail bonds(FS 648.25(5))
2. A Professional bail bond agent, defined as a person who pledges US currency as security for a bail bond (FS 648.25 (7))
Okay now that we have that out of the way for grins and giggles I am going to add the qualifications for a bail bond license just in case any of you might want to become one of the thousands of bail bond agents in Sunny Florida or you might want to write a book using the many thousands of agents in Sunny Florida
One must comply with the provisions of 648.355 and obtain a temporary license- (FS 648.34(2))
One must be at least 18 years old and hold a high school diploma or equivalent (FS 648.34(2)(a))
Be a United States Citizen or legal (note that word) Alien with work authorization (FS 648.34(2)(b))
Be a resident of Florida (FS 648.34(2)(b))
Place of business must be located in Florida where the records will be maintained and open during reasonable business hours. (FS 648.34(2))
Must be vouched for and recommended by three reputable citizens who are residents of the county where the applicant proposes to engage in bail bond business (FS 648.34(2)(d))
Be of good character with no convictions on a felony, crime of moral turpitude, or a crime punishable by 1 year or more (FS648.34(2)(e))
Passage of required examinations (FS 648.34 (2)(f))
Must furnish photo and fingerprints with application (FS 648.34(4))
Must pay for own required credit and background check (FS 648.34(3))
Must complete 14 hours of continuing education courses every two years (FS 648.385)
Professional Bail Bond agents also have to file a detailed financial statement under oath with each application for license or renewal and they also have to file the rating plan proposed for use in writing bail bonds. The plan has to be approved by the office prior to issuance of the license (648.35(2))
By now I am sure you are probably tired of reading the laws by which one can become a bonding agent in the Beautiful State of Florida. So I will dispense with the legalities for a while and tell all of you another one of my stories. This one will cause you to laugh so hard you will spill your coffee or whatever liquid you are drinking.
My partners and I had a failure to appear warrant on a young lady who happened to be Hispanic. She had been arrested for writing a bad check. She was out on a very large bond. The bond was around 30,000. Any way the day was fast approaching that the bonding company was going to have to fork over the entire amount. So we went to work.
We had an address – When we arrived at the house, surprise no one was there. The house was shut up tight as a drum. So we started knocking on doors.
After about the third house we found someone home – actually we found several someones home. This is how it went down.
One of my partner’s the one who was of Hispanic background and I went to the front door. My other partner went to the back door. We knocked on the front door and waited with our breaths held. A young girl answered the door. She of course spoke no English. My partner told her who we were and who we were looking for.
The young mother invited us in. We stood inside the front door. Now here is where I have to describe the scene.
We are standing inside the front door – to my left there was a set of stairs leading to the upper half of the two story house. In front of us was a living room which led into the back part of the house. In the living room a grandmother was sitting in a chair with a small baby in her lap. There were two small children playing on the floor – There were two small dogs on the floor with the children.
As we stood in the doorway, the young mother walks out of the room toward the back part of the house- my partner and I look at each other. We Shrug and wait.
After about five minutes the young mother returns but not alone. Behind her is the tallest man I have ever seen. He weighed in at about 280-290 and he was stocky.
Now, there are three adults in this living room who don’t speak English, three children, two dogs and my partner and I standing at the front door and my other partner at the back door.
My partner who spoke Spanish was rapidly talking to the man and asking about our jumper. There was a lot of head shaking and hand movements. Out of the corner of my eye I see a car pull up in the driveway and park at the back of the house. Much to my surprise, I see an older gentleman walking through the dining room, he had just returned from the market.
In the mean time, I glance up toward the upstairs and two more little dogs start down the stairs, along with another female adult. I am getting a bit nervous. WE now have five adults, four dogs three children all in the living room. My partner is still speaking in rapid Spanish, the tall man is still answering in rapid Spanish and doing extreme arm waving.
My partner who was at the back door in the meantime has walked around to the front and come into the house. So now all three of us are standing just inside the front door. My Spanish speaking partner is in the middle I am on the right of him and my other partner is to his left watching the upstairs.
Again, two more little dogs make their way downstairs followed this time by two females and two males. Now the living room is very crowded and we are a bit on the nervous side. The Spanish is flying back and forth like the wind and the children are watching all of us. The dogs have settled in for the entertainment on the floor and everyone is talking at once.
After about 10 minutes of this and all three of us are getting a bit nervous the dogs are indifferent the children are laughing and playing because they have grown bored and all the other adults are adamant that our jumper is not there.
After about an hour it has been determined that our jumper was not only not in the house or the county – She was not in the country. She had been- are you ready for this- back across the border to Mexico.
Talk about a kick in the teeth.
We gladly vacated the premises willing to wait another day for our quarry.
Stay Tuned there is more where that came from- Next Week I will talk about the great state of Tenn and their laws on hunting.
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