An Interview with Marquitia Edwards
Marquitia Edwards is the owner and operator of Five Star Bail Bonds located in Montgomery, Alabama. Edwards is a licensed bail agent and bounty hunter through the State of Alabama Department of Insurance. She is also employed by the Sequel Youth Services and has extensive experience and education in the criminal justice system.
Edwards makes her clients and their family the main priority of her mission as a bounty hunter and is always available. She is an active participant in the community and an avid admirer of motorcycles, particularly the Yamaha R6.
We would like to thank Marquitia for taking the time to speak with us today about her experience with bounty hunting.
Many people are not aware of the bail business and how it works- can you elaborate on how you became involved as a bounty hunter?
The bail bond business is a vital part of our justice system. The Bail Bond Agent is commonly referred to as a Bondsman. The Bondsman charges the defendant a non-refundable premium in exchange for providing the courts with a power of attorney for the full of the bail to the courts. The amount of the premium is normally ten percent. Once the bail is in place the bail agent is basically the custodian of the defendant and if the defendant fails to appear in court on his designated date, a bounty hunter is put into place to apprehend the fugitive and bring said defendant back to into the judicial system. Here in the state of Alabama, we obtain a ‘Bondsman Process’ that gives permission to the Bail Agent or Bounty Hunter the power to rearrest the individual and return them to jail. I completed a variety of courses in the field of Criminal Justice and have worked in the system for quite some time. I like to think of it as a calling.
How has the profession changed since you first became involved?
The profession hasn’t changed much since I became involved as far as how the Bail and Recovery industry is concerned. However, the Criminal Justice laws change every four years. All agents here in the state of Alabama have to complete continuing education every two years as required by the State Department of Insurance.
As you look at your career can you name one case that stands out as one that drew upon all of your skills and experience? Please elaborate.
Actually it is difficult for me to pick out one particular case. I call upon all of my skill and experience in every case. The profession can be dangerous so when I am dealing with recovery I have to prepare for any type of situation and be able to foresee a variety of outcomes. This outlook keeps me ready and prepared for any circumstance that might come my way. I find I approach each case with same care and caution- but do not feel that any one case stands out.
What skills or educational experiences would you advise someone who wants to become a bounty hunter to acquire?
The skills and/or educational experiences that I would advise someone who is interested in Bounty Hunting is one: I would encourage them not only to take a Fugitive Recovery course but also familiarize themselves on Bail laws as he/she will work closely with the agent and sometimes serve as an assistant to the Bondsman. Like myself, I do some of my own skip tracing. Previous law enforcement officials are perfect for this job as we have several retired officials working as a Bounty Hunter because they are extremely familiar with most defendants.
What are two or three of the biggest challenges that a new bounty hunter would face when entering the field?
I would say the biggest challenges that a new bounty hunter would face entering the industry is getting to know your defendants, because you have to have the right approach when coming in contact with them. Their attitude bounces off your attitude. Next would be being comfortable in approaching a fugitive. It’s like a dog, if he smells fear his option is to attack. Tact and tone is extremely important in this profession.
If you could do anything differently in building your career, what different turns would you take, if any?
If I could do anything differently in building my career, the answer would be “nothing.” I am good at what I do, I enjoy what I do and my plans going forward is to continue to grow, expand and brand my business. My dream is to take the company nationwide.
In your view, what are the three most important and positive benefits of being a bounty hunter?
The three most important and positive benefits of being a bounty hunter are Attitude, Persistency and being very well driven.
In your view, what is the biggest challenge in being a bounty hunter?
The biggest challenge is that you never know what you’re going to get with a defendant. You have to wear several different hats on a day-to-day basis.
Is there any further advice you would share with students considering bounty hunter as a career?
Further advice that I would share is if you are fearful this profession isn’t for you. Always keep a clean attitude until there’s a need for alternate and get to know your defendants as well as your surroundings.