In Alabama, laws governing bounty hunting can be found in Alabama Code and Alabama Criminal Procedure Rules. Pursuant to Ala. R. Crim. P. Rule 7.1A, a professional bondsman is “an individual person or agent who is employed by a professional surety company or professional bail company to solicit and execute appearance bonds or actively seek bail bond business for or in behalf of a professional surety company or a professional bail company.”
A professional bondsman can arrest the defendant on a certified copy of the undertaking at any place in the state[i]. An arrest is affected through a bondsman’s process which is issued by the clerk of the court[ii].
Usually, the courts supervise professional bondsmen by requiring an annual certification under oath of qualifying information. A person having a financial interest in the business is not disqualified for any reason from being in the bonding business.
In Alabama, there is no separate statute dealing with bounty hunters and their functions. The rules applicable to bondsmen are applicable to bounty hunters. Bounty hunters are supposed to work within the frame work provided for arrest in the criminal code.
In Schilb v. Kuebel, 404 U.S. 357, 360 (U.S. 1971), the court held that the professional bondsmen exercised significant control over the actual workings of the state bail system.
The scope of a bounty hunters’ employment with a bail bond company was discussed in Coastal Bail Bonds v. Cope, 697 So. 2d 48, 52 (Ala. Civ. App. 1996). The court held that a bail bond company was not entitled to directed verdict in an action for willful trespass, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and wantonness brought by person against whom force was used by bounty hunters in their pursuit of am individual who had jumped bail[iii].
[i] Code of Ala. § 15-13-62, 117.
[ii] Code of Ala. § 15-13-124.
[iii] Coastal Bail Bonds v. Cope, 697 So. 2d 48, 52 (Ala. Civ. App. 1996).