In Utah, laws governing bounty hunting can be found in Chapter 11, Title 53 of the Utah Code. Utah bounty hunters are also known as bail enforcement agents.
Pursuant to Utah Code Ann. § 53-11-102 (3), a bail enforcement agent means an individual licensed as a bail enforcement agent to enforce the terms and conditions of a defendant’s release on bail in a civil or criminal proceeding, to apprehend a defendant or surrender a defendant to custody, or both, and who:
- is appointed by a bail bond surety; and
- receives or is promised monies or other things of value for this service.
In Utah, there are bail recovery agents and bail recovery apprentices to assist a bail enforcement agent.
Bail recovery agent means an individual employed by a bail enforcement agent to assist the bail enforcement agent regarding civil or criminal defendants released on bail by[i]:
- presenting a defendant for required court appearances;
- apprehending or surrendering a defendant to a court; or
- keeping the defendant under necessary surveillance.
Bail recovery apprentice means any individual licensed as a bail recovery apprentice and who[ii]:
- has not met the requirements for licensure as a bail recovery agent or bail enforcement agent; and
- is employed by a bail enforcement agent or a bail recovery agent.
Pursuant to Utah Code Ann. § 53-11-108 (1), an applicant for licensure should be:
- at least 21 years of age;
- a citizen or legal resident of the U.S.; and
- of good moral character.
However an applicant may not have been convicted of[iii]:
- a felony;
- any act involving illegally using, carrying, or possessing a dangerous weapon;
- any act of personal violence or force on any person or convicted of threatening to commit any act of personal violence or force against another person;
- any act constituting dishonesty or fraud;
- impersonating a peace officer; or
- any act involving moral turpitude;
Further, the applicant may not be on probation, parole, community supervision, named in an outstanding arrest warrant, or be employed as a peace officer.
The applicant should also have completed a training program of not less than 16 hours that is approved by the board. If the applicant desires to carry a firearm as a licensee, the applicant should successfully complete a course regarding the specified types of weapons he plans to carry.
Additionally, an applicant for licensure as a bail enforcement agent should have a minimum of 2,000 hours of experience consisting of actual bail recovery work, or work as a law enforcement officer for a federal, state, or local governmental agency[iv].
There are separate statutory provisions regarding the licensure requirements of bail recovery agents and bail recovery apprentices.
Utah Code Ann. § 53-11-122 provides that a bail enforcement agent, bail recovery agent, or bail recovery apprentice should observe the following requirements before taking an action:
- S/he should identify himself as a “bail enforcement agent,” “bail recovery agent,” or “bail recovery apprentice”; and
- comply with the notification requirements in the statutes.
Any violation of the statutory provisions is a class A misdemeanor, unless the circumstances of the violation amount to an offense subject to a greater criminal penalty under Utah Criminal Code[v].
[i] Utah Code Ann. § 53-11-102 (4).
[ii] Utah Code Ann. § 53-11-102 (5).
[iii] Utah Code Ann. § 53-11-108 (2).
[iv] Utah Code Ann. § 53-11-109.
[v] Utah Code Ann. § 53-11-124.