In Delaware, bounty hunters are known as the bail enforcement agents. Laws governing bail enforcement agents in the state can be found in Chapter 55, Title 24 of the Delaware Statute. Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 5501, the state requires licensure of bail enforcement agents, their agents, and employees to prevent unqualified individuals from endangering the public.
Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 5502, a bail enforcement agent means “any person or cooperative of persons, resident or nonresident, whose services or actions are performed for the purpose of capturing a fugitive, and including, but not limited to, any person who engages in the apprehension and return of persons who are released on bail and who have failed to appear at any stage of the proceedings to answer the charge before any state or federal court.”
In Delaware, the Delaware Board of Examiners of Bail Enforcement Agents was created for the protection of the general public and to carry out the functions and duties conferred on it for recruiting bail enforcement agents[i].
The Delaware Board of Examiners of Bail Enforcement Agents promulgates rules and regulations implementing the provisions of the chapter regarding the licensure and registration of bail enforcement agents. The regulation includes the term of a license or registration and the qualifications of a licensee. The board charges a fee not to exceed $ 500 for each application for licensure and each renewal of an existing license[ii].
Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 5507, a person applying for license to work as a bail enforcement agent must meet the following requirements. An applicant must:
- be at least 21 years of age;
- not have been convicted of any felony;
- not have been convicted of any misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or any charge or been involved in any conduct that may impair the performance of the bail enforcement agent and endanger public safety as determined by the professional licensing;
- not have been convicted of any misdemeanor involving the act of theft within the last seven years;
- not have been convicted of any misdemeanor involving drug offenses within the last seven years;
- not have been, as a juvenile, adjudicated as delinquent for conduct which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a felony, unless and until that person has reached their twenty-fifth birthday;
- not have been convicted, within the last seven years, of the misdemeanors: offensive touching or assault III;
- not have been convicted of any offense involving the impersonation of a police officer or a person of trust;
- not have been convicted of any criminal offense involving organized gang activity;
- not have received a dishonorable discharge, when served in the armed forces;
- not be a member or employee of any law-enforcement organization, as defined by the Council of Police Training, or a member or employee of a law-enforcement organization of any other state or federal jurisdiction; and
- meet and maintain the qualifications set and approved by the Board pursuant to this chapter and the rules and regulations as promulgated by the Board and approved by the Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security[iii].
Additionally, a person licensed must, excluding weekends and state holidays, notify the Director of the board within five days of an arrest which could result in a misdemeanor or felony conviction. Failure to do so results in the suspension or revocation of a license[iv].
Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 5514, a violation of the above provisions will be cause for revocation of any identification card, license, and badge issued there under.
A person working as a bail enforcement agent without license is liable for punishment. Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 5515, the Board has the power to impose a civil penalty upon a person required to be licensed, for operating without a valid license.
[i] 24 Del. C. § 5503.
[ii] 24 Del. C. § 5507.
[iv] 24 Del. C. § 5511.