In Texas, there are no specific provisions pertaining to bounty hunters. Pursuant to Tex. Occ. Code § 1702.3863 (a), a person commits an offense if the person contracts with or is employed by a bail bond surety to secure the appearance of a person who has jumped bail and failed to appear, unless the person is:
- a peace officer;
- an individual endorsed or licensed as a private investigator or the manager of a licensed investigations company; or
- a commissioned security officer employed by a licensed guard company.
A person may not act as an agent for a corporate surety in the county unless the person holds a license[i].
To be eligible for a license, an agent designated by a corporation in an application, must[ii]:
- be a resident of Texas and a citizen of the U.S.;
- be at least 18 years of age; and
- submit documentary evidence that, in the two years preceding the date a license application is filed, the individual:
a) has been continuously employed by a person licensed for at least one year and for not less than 30 hours per week and has performed duties that encompass all phases of the bonding business; and
b) completed in person at least eight hours of continuing legal education in criminal law courses or bail bond law courses that are approved by the State Bar of Texas and that are offered by an accredited institution of higher education in the state.
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 17.19 provides that the court will issue a copy of the warrant or capias to the surety or his/her agent.
Pursuant to Tex. Occ. Code § 1702.3867 (a), a private investigator executing a capias or an arrest warrant on behalf of a bail bond surety may not:
- enter a residence without the consent of the occupants;
- execute the capias or warrant without written authorization from the surety;
- wear, carry, or display any uniform, badge, shield, or other insignia or emblem that implies that the private investigator is an employee, officer, or agent of the federal government, the state, or a political subdivision of the state; or
- use deadly force.
Further, a private investigator may display identification that indicates that the person is acting on behalf of a bail bond surety[iii].
If the arrest is made in the county in which the capias or warrant was issued, a private investigator executing a capias or an arrest warrant on behalf of a bail bond surety should immediately take the person arrested to[iv]:
- the county jail for that county if the offense is a Class A or Class B misdemeanor or a felony; or the offense is a Class C misdemeanor and the capias or warrant was issued by a magistrate of that county; or
- the municipal jail for the appropriate municipality if the offense is a Class C misdemeanor and the capias or warrant was issued by a magistrate of the municipality.
If the arrest is made in a county other than the county in which the capias or warrant was issued, the person arrested should be taken to the county jail for the county in which the arrest is made.
A person commits an offense if the person violates the above provision and such offense is a state jail felony[v].
[i] Tex. Occ. Code § 1704.151.
[ii] Tex. Occ. Code § 1704.152 (a).
[iii] Tex. Occ. Code § 1702.3867 (b).
[iv] Tex. Occ. Code § 1702.3867 (c).
[v] Tex. Occ. Code § 1702.3867 (d).