How to Become a Bounty Hunter in California

Let Bay Boys Bail Bonds Guide You Through The Process!

So, you want to become a bounty hunter in California? Well, that can be a lot easier said than done. California has some of the strictest requirements for bounty hunters in the United States. Yet, that doesn’t mean that becoming a bounty hunter is either a bad idea or impossible. Let’s break it down a bit.

Is Bounty Hunting Legal in California?

Bounty hunting became part of the U.S. Law Enforcement System after a decision in the Taylor v. Taintor Supreme Court case in 1872.

“When the bail is given, the principal is regarded as delivered to the custody of his sureties. Their domain is a continuance of the original imprisonment. Whenever they choose to do so, they may seize him and deliver him up to his discharge; and if it cannot be done at once, they may imprison him until it can be done. They may exercise their rights in person or by agent. They may pursue him into another state; may arrest him on the Sabbath; and if necessary, may break and enter his house for that purpose. The seizure is not made by virtue of due process. None is needed. It is likened to the arrest by the sheriff of an escaped prisoner.” – Taylor v. Taintor, 1872, United States Supreme Court.

What is a Bounty Hunter, and What Do They Do?

The term “bounty hunter” is an older term for a “bail enforcement agent” or “fugitive recovery agent” (Wikipedia).

Bounty hunters provide necessary services for bail bond companies like us here at Bad Boys Bail Bonds. Some of the services that bounty hunters offer include:

  • Arresting fugitives who skipped bail
  • Help bail bond companies recover potentially lost assets due to people skipping bail.
  • Provide incentives for defendants to avoid skipping bail

How to Become a Bounty Hunter in California

Now that you know the responsibilities of a bounty hunter, we can discuss how to become one in California.

Step 1 – Meet the Requirements for Bounty Hunter Eligibility in California

First, the base requirements for eligibility include the following:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • You have to be a documented U.S. citizen
  • To be a bounty hunter in California, you must be a current California resident
  • The person in question cannot have any felony convictions
  • Completion of a 40-hour Police Officer Standard Training (POST) power of arrest course
  • You also must complete and pass a 20-hour Department of IInsurance-approved-licensing bail education class

Step 2 – Take Higher-Education Courses

Next, several higher-education courses and areas of study will help you become a licensed bounty hunter. Some of the recommended courses and areas of study include:

  • Law
  • Criminal Justice
  • Criminology
  • Police Science
  • Psychology (not explicitly related, yet often recommended. It’s a great starting point or preparatory course/major for the aforementioned recommended courses)

Step 3 – Pass All Required Coursework and Certifications

After you have prepared with appropriate higher education coursework, you can begin taking the required courses. Required bounty hunter courses in California include:

As stated in the 2013 Bail Fugitive Recovery Persons Act, bounty hunters must keep certificates proving they have passed their courses. Also, you must provide written authorization from the bail or depositor of bail. If you do not maintain those documents, you will no longer have the authority to arrest and apprehend bail fugitives.

Step 4 – Find Employment

Once you have become certified as a bounty hunter in California, it’s time to start looking for work. You must talk with a bail bonds company like us here at Bad Boys Bail Bonds to find bounties. The bail company you choose will have its requirements and application processes for you to complete. You’re ready to start hunting bail fugitives after finding a bail company and filling out your application!

But, before you pursue any fugitive, you must first inform local law enforcement of your plans. Also, you must never misrepresent yourself as local, federal, or state law enforcement in any way, shape, or form.


Bounty hunters provide necessary services in California. They keep bail fugitives off the streets and help bail bond companies continue to offer their services. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a California bounty hunter, contact us at Bad Boys Bail Bonds. As PBUS members, we’re always standing by to help you better understand how to responsibly handle bail bonds and bounty hunting.
Learn more about our professional bail bond services at the following locations:

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You can trust fellow PBUS members, the Bail Bonds Doctor, to help you with your bail bond needs outside the state. They specialize in Minneapolis bail bonds and provide the same level of professional service as other members of the PBUS.

For information on the subtleties of bounty hunting in Pennsylvania, you can count on fellow PBUS member ABC Bail Bonds. They are experts in Philadelphia bail bonds and can help answer all of your bounties hunting-related questions in the state.