In Ohio, laws governing bounty hunting can be found in Title 39, Chapter 3905 of the Ohio Code. In Ohio bounty hunters are known as surety bail bond agents. A surety bail bond agents in the state must obtain a license from the Department of Insurance to apprehend skipped fugitives.
Pursuant to ORC Ann. 2927.27, a surety bail bond agent must be a qualified and licensed agent. An individual who applies for a license as a surety bail bond agent must submit an application for the license in a manner prescribed by the superintendent of insurance[i].
In Ohio, an applicant for an individual resident license must also submit to a criminal records check. The superintendent issues to an applicant an individual resident license that states in substance that the person is authorized to do the business of a surety bail bond agent, when the superintendent is satisfied that[ii]:
- the applicant is eighteen years of age or older;
- the applicant’s home state is Ohio;
- the applicant is a person of high character and integrity;
- the applicant has not committed any act that is grounds for the refusal to issue, suspension of, or revocation of a license;
- the applicant is a U.S. citizen or has provided proof of having legal authorization to work in the U.S.;
- the applicant has successfully completed the educational requirements.
The superintendent of insurance prescribes the forms to be used as evidence of the issuance of a license. The superintendent requires each licensee to acquire from a source designated by the superintendent, a wallet identification card that includes the licensee’s photograph and other information required by the superintendent. The licensee must keep the wallet identification card on the licensee’s person while engaging in the bail bond business[iii].
Pursuant to ORC Ann. 3905.841, the following persons or classes of persons cannot act as surety bail bond agents[iv]:
- jailers or other persons employed in a detention facility;
- prisoners incarcerated in any jail, prison, or any other place used for the incarceration of persons;
- peace officers, including volunteer or honorary peace officers, or other employees of a law enforcement agency;
- committing magistrates, judges, employees of a court, or employees of the clerk of any court;
- attorneys or any person employed at an attorney’s office;
- other persons having the power to arrest, or persons who have authority over or control of, federal, state, county, or municipal corporation prisoners.
[i] ORC Ann. 3905.85.
[iv] ORC Ann. 3905.841