Understanding Privacy Laws in Relation to Bounty Hunters

What’s important to remember about the right to privacy under tort law is that it is a cause of action that can be raised against other private individuals, and that includes your bail bondsman, and any bounty hunters that may be working to bring a fugitive back to a court’s jurisdiction.

A bounty hunter is one who catches defendants who jump bail, and are mainly employed by bail bondsmen. You might wonder what kind of authority bounty hunters have, and whether you have any kind of protection against them.

First, of all, the authority of bounty hunters varies by state. As a general statement, their job is to track down a skip, a person who jumped bail, or a fugitive, to apprehend them, and to bring them back to the court’s jurisdiction. The manner and extent to which bounty hunters are regulated also varies. Some are regulated and licensed by the state, but are mostly unregulated in other states. Some states allow the practice of bounty hunting, while others have enacted laws restricting what bounty hunters can do. As a general rule, what holds are the laws of the local state, or where the possible apprehension might occur. If a fugitive is hiding in a certain state, the laws of that state govern, regardless of what the bounty hunter is capable of doing in their home state.

This also applies to bounty hunters that choose to operate outside of the United States in order to apprehend a fugitive. Not all countries in the world recognize the practice or the legality of bounty hunting, which means that the legal authority of bounty hunters is not recognized, as well.  Bounty hunters can get into a lot of trouble in other countries, and be held liable for kidnapping or other similar criminal and civil charges.

Where bounty hunters can legally operate, however, they can do whatever is considered reasonable to apprehend a fugitive. So, for instance, a bounty hunter can enter the fugitive’s property without a warrant in order to re-arrest him. But this should be based on a personal knowledge that fugitive is actually living there. That means that unless the bounty hunter is aware that the property belongs to the fugitive, and that the fugitive is actually living inside the premises, the right of privacy, and to be protected against trespass and unreasonable intrusion into one’s seclusion, still holds.

On the other hand, the right of a bounty hunter to enter into property to conduct a re-arrest also does not apply if the property belongs to another person, whether it is a relative or a loved one of the fugitive. That means that even by association with a person subject to a criminal proceeding, another private person, even those who might have taken the fugitive in, still retain their right to privacy. That means they can exclude others from their property, and they have the right to be protected against trespass and unreasonable intrusion into their seclusion. If the bounty hunter disregards the privacy rights of other private individuals, they he may be held liable for privacy tort, as well as other criminal or civil charges.