Yvonne Mason: Bounty Hunting in Florida

Yvonne Mason

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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14 replies
  1. J.JJ.
    J.JJ. says:

    Ericcccc where in the world did you get the statutes that states that a bondsman needs a G license in order to fullfill his aprehensions of a bail jumpers and also the CWP is the only license available for the bailbondsman to be able to protect themselve from any retaliation. The G license is only for a C-CC-M-MA-MB and D license carriers

  2. Eric
    Eric says:

    Sorry to inform you guys but a Florida Concealed Weapons permit is not a license to carry a firearm while attempting a arrest a Bond Jumper. it is a common misconception but a Florida CWP is for personal protection ONLY and can not be used for work purposes, and you can be charged with a Felony if you do so. In order for a Bail bondsman to carry a firearm while attempting to Arrest a fugitive he must obtain a Class G Statewide firearm license, and you can only carry a 9mm or 38. Check the Statutes

  3. Yvonne Sewell
    Yvonne Sewell says:

    No it was on the first page. I am not hunting now since I have been in Florida. I am to busy writing.

  4. SZ
    SZ says:

    Yup, does sound like Florida makes it easy.

    Do you have to “sign up” to see your blog on Dog ? I did not have time to get past the first page, too crazy at work.

    How much hunting are you doing at this point ?

  5. Yvonne Sewell
    Yvonne Sewell says:

    It would certainly appear that way- even though they have some of the strictest laws on the books once one is convicted. Catching them to get them convicted is indeed something else.

  6. pabrown
    pabrown says:

    Kind of sounds to me like Florida likes making it easy for the bad guys to escape justice by throwing up road blocks to crime fighters.

  7. Yvonne Sewell
    Yvonne Sewell says:

    That is usually how it is – but now they are getting tougher-

    No we didn’t her family had sent her back to Mexico-
    In Florida, the bailbondsmen don’t want to pay someone to go after their jumper. They think they are smart enough to find them – they also don’t believe that they have that many who jump.
    But it is funny to me- every day in the paper there are more and more who have jumped and the cops can’t even find them.
    I know the bonds men can’t. They don’t have time. They are to busy trying to keep up with the ones who are still around and due in court.
    Every time I see a page in the paper with all the wanted faces (the page is called crimestoppers) I want so bad to be back out there – I can’t explain the feeling of the hunt.

  8. SZ
    SZ says:

    Did I miss something ? Did you get the jumper with the bad check ?

    I can’t wait to see Dog’s website.

    I don’t understand why Florida would make it so hard to capture a jumper. It seems like it would create more crime.

  9. Terry
    Terry says:

    Maybe that’s the ‘rule’ but I went to a gun shop and took their gun safety class which was nothing more than watching videos, and the instructor (who wasn’t even in the room until the end) told us we should get fingerprinted and send in all the paperwork (and fees) and if we passed the background check, we’d get the permit. He signed off on everything, too our pictures. If I hadn’t asked to fire a gun, he would have walked out.

  10. Yvonne Sewell
    Yvonne Sewell says:

    Acutally part of the process to getting a CWP is you have to fire a gun one time- but you never have to fire it again.
    Glad you read the blog.

  11. Terry
    Terry says:

    Hey, I’ve lived in Florida for over 3 decades. I never claimed any of the laws made sense. But there’s no state income tax. And, it seems to be possible to get a concealed weapons permit without ever having to touch a firearm.

    Do I live in a great state or what?
    Can’t wait for retirement so we can go elsewhere.

  12. Yvonne Sewell
    Yvonne Sewell says:

    I thought you would like that one. In Georgia it takes roughly 30 days. It is easier to become an agent in GA than just about anywhere else. The key to a good agent is the fact that when they apply for a Concealed Weapons permit they pass that test. Background checks can be run in just a matter of a few minutes and the bonding company can do that themselves. In Ga. as with most all states now it is smart to have a partner who is bi-lingual. But surprising most know enough of the English language to know what we are talking about.
    As far as being reputable- All I can is when a person applies for a bondig company liscense they are subjected to the same background check – but in the old days it was a different story. Sometimes they were as crooked as the criminals.
    Well my dear Tennessee will be next
    Oh and FYI my blogs are showing up on are you ready for this- Dog the Bounty Hunter’s site. They are linking them to their site.
    Who would have guessed lol

  13. Elena
    Elena says:

    Hmmmm – if there are no free lance agents (I use the term in the legal sense), then it would make sense to manage to be bailed out by an agency who is deficient in the sort of agent who could find one. Such as what would have happened if you didn’t have a partner who was fluent in Spanish. Might as well sit down and play with the kids and dogs 🙂

    How long does it take, roughly, for a bail bond company to get a new agent through the red tape and working for them?

    And, I can’t resist – how does the state actively assure that the citizens doing the recommending are “reputable”?

    Can’t wait for Tennessee – thank you for another informative and fun event.

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