Arizona Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

    Arizona has a population of 7.2 million people and allows the profession of bounty hunting as a method of locating and apprehending fugitives who have skipped bail (known as “skips”). Bounty hunters (known as bail recovery agents in Arizona) work for bail bondsmen to find and return defendants who have skipped bail in the hopes of avoiding jail or prison. The Arizona Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions (DIFI) does not license bounty hunters, it does require them to be registered. If a career as a bail recovery agent interests you, continue reading to learn more about the requirements and process set forth by the DIFI.

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    Requirements for Prospective Bail Recovery Agents in Arizona

    While Arizona bail recovery agents are not required to be licensed, they must register with the DIFI. To qualify for registration as a bail recovery agent in Arizona, individuals must:

    • Be at least 18 years of age
    • Have no felony convictions, nor have been convicted of theft or illegal use or possession of a deadly weapon

    Steps to a Career as a Bail Recovery Agent in Arizona

    If you meet the above requirements, you are eligible to register as a bail recovery agent in Arizona. Detailed below is the bail recovery agent registration process, along with some tips to increase your ability to secure work as a fugitive recovery agent in Arizona.

    1. Obtain appropriate training.

    The DIFI does not require specific training to become a registered bail recovery agent in the state. However, it will be useful for your career to obtain some training in fugitive recovery. Obtaining at least a certificate in criminal justice can give you a solid understanding of laws and the criminal justice system.

    2. Complete the fingerprint verification form.

    To register as a bail recovery agent, you will need to be fingerprinted, submit to a background check, and agree to have this information on file with the DIFI. After you are fingerprinted by Prometric, Arizona’s approved fingerprint vendor, the fingerprint card and supporting document Form L-FPV will be returned to you in a sealed envelope, which you must submit to the DIFI. Opening or folding the envelope will result in a rejected registration.

    3. Submit your registration.

    After you have been fingerprinted, you should submit your application for registration to the DIFI. As a part of the registration process, you must submit:

    • A sealed envelope containing your fingerprint card and completed Form L-FPV
    • A 2-inch by 3-inch photograph of your face
    • The FBI fingerprint card processing fee of $22.00 (as of May 2022)

    4. Receive your registration.

    After submitting your registration and passing the background check, you will be able to work as a bail recovery agent in Arizona. Once you have identified a bail bondsman to work with, he or she must submit to the Department of Insurance Form L-BRA, Notice of Bail Recovery Agent Utilization. This form is essentially an agreement between the bail bondsman and bail recovery agent and certifies that the bail bondsman is ultimately responsible for the actions of the bail recovery agent.

    Bail recovery registration must be renewed every three years on September 1st. To renew, you must submit the fingerprint Form L-FPV and the registration Form L-BFP along with an updated 2-inch by 3-inch picture. The fee to renew is the same as the original registration fee, $22.00 (as of May 2022).

    Related Careers

    Most bail recovery agents expand their careers to include similar jobs, not only to earn additional income, but also to gain valuable experience and connections related to the field. Some of these jobs include working as a private investigator or a process server. Continue reading to learn more about the requirements of both professions in the state of Arizona.

    Private Investigator/ Private Detective

    Private investigators (PIs) are detectives who work for independent clients to find information on a matter that is relevant to the client. PIs, also known as private detectives (PDs) can investigate legal, financial, and personal data. In Arizona, PIs are licensed by the Department of Public Safety (AZDPS). To qualify for a PI license, the AZDPS requires that you:

    • Be a US citizen or legal resident
    • Be at least 21 years of age
    • Have no felony convictions and no misdemeanor convictions (involving personal violence, use of force, illegal use or possession of a deadly weapon, fraud, arson, theft, or domestic violence) within the past five years
    • Not have found to be mentally incompetent by a court
    • Have at least three years of prior investigative experience on a full-time basis

    If you meet these qualifications, you can apply for the license through the AZDPS online portal. As of May 2022, the fee to apply for licensure as a private investigator was $72. Note there are additional requirements and fees to apply for an agency license.

    Process Server

    A process server works independently for the court system to file legal papers, serve documents to parties involved in lawsuits, and retrieve documents as needed. Process servers in Arizona are certified by the Arizona Judicial Branch. To become certified, you must be at least 21 years of age, a US citizen or resident alien, and possess a high school diploma (or GED). You must also pass a certification exam. Process servers who are residents of Arizona can only apply for certification and write the certification exam in their home county.

    The Arizona Process Servers Association provides training and resources to help process servers in the state.

    Training and Education Options in Arizona

    A great foundation for fugitive recovery work is a two- or four-year education program in criminal justice. With a formal education, you will be more knowledgeable about the criminal justice system, and you can show potential employers that you are serious about your career. Listed below are a few schools in Arizona that offer associate degrees or a certificate program in criminal justice.

    Arizona State University
    411 N Central Ave
    Ste 600
    Phoenix, AZ 85004

    Eastern Arizona College
    615 N Stadium Ave
    Thatcher, AZ 85552

    Mesa Community College
    1833 Southern Ave
    Mesa, AZ 85202

    Rio Salado College
    2323 W 14th St
    Tempe, AZ 85281

    Finding Work

    Bail recovery agents must be proactive if they wish to find steady work in Arizona. As a bounty hunter, you must be comfortable introducing yourself to bail bondsmen and explaining why your qualifications make you right for the job. Bail recovery agents should look for more experienced professionals in the field who can act as mentors. You may want to search for apprenticeships for bail recovery agents in Arizona to learn how bounty hunting works in the real world and to gain valuable experience.

    Featured Bail Agents in Arizona

    According to the Professional Bail Agents of the United States (PBUS) website, there are 5 member bail agents in Arizona. Here’s a listing of top-rated, well-known, or big-city bail bond agencies in Arizona to help you find job opportunities.

    Affordable Bail Bonds
    115 W McDowell Rd
    Ste 4A
    Phoenix, AZ 85003

    Alliance Bail Bonds
    1013 S Stapley Dr
    Mesa, AZ 85204

    Azteca Bail Bonds
    1235 W Silver Lake Rd
    Tucson, AZ 85713

    Didn’t Do It Bail Bonds
    2008 E Broadway Blvd
    Ste 200
    Tucson, AZ 85719

    Dignity Bail Bond
    111 E Palm Lane
    Ste C
    Phoenix, AZ 85004

    Maricopa County Bail Bonds
    125 N 2nd St
    Ste 110-116
    Phoenix, AZ 85004

    Quick Bail Inc.
    1006 W Adams St
    Phoenix, AZ 85007

    Sanctuary Bail Bonds
    337 N 4th Ave
    Phoenix, AZ 85003

    Silver Lake Bail Bonds
    648 N Stone Ave
    Tucson, AZ 85705

    For even more bail agents in Arizona, try out the PBUS Find a Bail Agent tool.

    Bail Recovery Agent Salary and Outlook in Arizona

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide salary data for bounty hunters in Arizona. To provide salary and outlook data, we use the information provided for private investigators as a proxy because of the similarity in job function and compensation. In Arizona, an estimated 700 private investigators were employed as of 2021 with an annual average salary of $51,140.2 The state has a higher-than-average concentration of private investigators per 1,000 jobs.3 Through 2030, jobs for private investigators in Arizona are expected to increase by 19.6%.4 The table below shows employment and salary data for Arizona’s largest cities as reported by the BLS.

    City or Metropolitan AreaNumber Employed2Average Annual Salary2

    Additional Resources

    Check out professional associations in Arizona to build and grow your network.

    1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, Arizona: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/AZ/PST045221
    2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021, Arizona: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_az.htm
    3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021, Private Detectives and Investigators: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes339021.htm
    4. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm