Hawaii Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

About 1.4 million people live in Hawaii according to the US Census Bureau, with the population concentrated in the Honolulu metropolitan area.1 Hawaii is the home state of well-known bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman and his family-owned bond agency, Da’Kine Bail Bonds. The state allows the practice of bounty hunting and has few laws regulating bounty hunters, also known as bail enforcement agents, who work to recover fugitives who skipped bond, or “skips”. Continue reading to learn more about starting a career as a bounty hunter in Hawaii.

Requirements for Prospective Bounty Hunters in Hawaii

As of 2016, state law set no specific requirements for bounty hunters in Hawaii, although state legislators have been attempting to amend the law. As such, those who wish to work as bounty hunters and recover fugitives are not required to become licensed at this time. However, you may wish to become licensed as a bail bond agency, especially if you wish to work independently. You can also become licensed as a private detective to add to your credentials. Continue reading below to learn more about licensing requirements in the state.

Steps to a Career as a Bail Fugitive Recovery Agent in Hawaii

Although there are no specific steps required to become a bounty hunter in Hawaii due to the lack of licensing laws, those who wish to pursue fugitive recovery careers in the state would do best to earn some formal education and training before setting out. To find work, fugitive recovery agents should be at least 18 years of age and have no felony convictions.

1. Obtain the appropriate training.

While no education or training requirements are set by the state, you should seek to understand the criminal justice system and best practices for fugitive recovery. One option for acquiring this training is attending a bail enforcement training course. However, since the bail bond industry in Hawaii is relatively small compared to other states, many prospective bounty hunters choose instead to earn a two- or four-year degree in criminal justice or a related field. You can find out more about degree options below.

2. Identify a mentor.

One of the best ways to learn how to be a bounty hunter is by following the guidance of an experienced mentor. A professional fugitive recovery agent may be willing to help you learn the ropes, especially if you can help with investigative work. A mentor can also introduce you to prospective clients.

3. Begin working as a bounty hunter.

Once you have earned your qualifications as a bounty hunter, you are ready to find work from bail bond agencies. It’s a good idea to notify law enforcement agencies of your plans to work as a fugitive recovery agent in the local jurisdiction; this can help avoid suspicion regarding your activities and possibly lead to professional assistance.

4. Consider an insurance license to work independently.

Although bounty hunters in Hawaii are not required to be licensed, bail bond agencies must have an appropriate business license to operate in the state. The common interpretation of current Hawaiian law is that the licensed bail bond agency takes responsibility for the action of its agents. As a result, although bounty hunters have a degree of independence regarding their work, to work truly independently a bail bond insurer license is required. You can read more about the requirements for an insurance license through the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Related Careers

In order to earn additional income and keep their skills up-to-date, bounty hunters often seek work in related professions. Two of the most common related careers are private investigators and process servers. A brief summary of Hawaii’s requirements for these professions can be found below.

Private Investigator/Private Detective

Private investigators (PIs) and private detectives (PDs) investigate sensitive information for their clients, which may be legal, financial, or personal in nature. As noted above, PIs and PDs in Hawaii must meet specific qualifications to become licensed. To apply for a private detective license in Hawaii, candidates must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age and hold a high school diploma or GED
  • Earn the equivalent of four years of full-time experience performing investigative work
  • Be free of criminal convictions

PIs and PDs in Hawaii are licensed and regulated by the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Private Detective and Guard Board. Contact the Board for further information on and instructions for obtaining a private investigator’s license.

Process Server

Process servers deliver legal documents that are required to be served in person. Process servers are not required to be licensed in Hawaii. The main requirements are that the candidate is at least 18 years of age and appointed by the county chief of police, sheriff, or other court authorized agent. You can contact your local courts for career information and opportunities for process servers.

Training and Education Options in Hawaii

Though there is no required training for fugitive recovery agents in Hawaii, earning an education in criminal justice can provide you with the knowledge and qualifications necessary to succeed in this career. Two- or four-year degree programs provide a strong foundation that can show prospective clients that you are serious about your career. Below are a few schools offering criminal justice degree programs in Hawaii.

Hawaii Community College
200 W Kawili St
Hilo, HI 96720

Hawaii Pacific University
1164 Bishop St
Honolulu, HI 96813

Honolulu Community College
874 Dillingham Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96817

Finding Work

Bounty hunters must find bail bond agencies who are seeking fugitive recovery agents in order to secure work. Most work for bounty hunters is found through word-of-mouth, so developing professional relationships with others in this industry is a must.

Featured Bail Bond Agencies in Hawaii

To help you start your career, below we have listed a few highly-rated and well-known bail bond agencies in Hawaii. Contacting these agencies can also help you connect with more experienced agents for career advice. The Professional Bail Agents of the United States (PBUS) website lists 19 member bail agencies on their website.

24 Hour Best Deal Bail Bonds
475 Kinoole St, Ste 200
Hilo, HI 96720

A-1 Bonding
550 Halekauwila St, Ste 303
Honolulu, HI 96813

Above All Bail Bonds
1154 Fort Street Mall, Ste 310
Honolulu, HI 96813

Da’Kine Bail Bonds
1381 Queen Emma St
Honolulu, HI 96813

Island Bail Bonds, Inc.
PO Box 1678
Kaunakakai, HI 96748

United Bail Bonds
1750 Kalakaua Ave, Ste 102
Honolulu, HI 96826

To find even more bail agents and bondsmen in your area, use the Find a Bail Agent tool on the PBUS website.

Bounty Hunter Salary and Outlook in Hawaii

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track salary information for bounty hunters. However, since private investigators perform similar work, we have used this career as a proxy. In 2015, the average annual salary for private investigators in Hawaii was $53,180.2 This wage was significantly higher than the national average of $45,610.3 According to Projections Central, demand for private investigators in Hawaii should remain steady through 2022.4

City or Metropolitan AreaNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Urban Honolulu70$53,570

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.2

Additional Resources

  • Western Association of Criminal Justice – A member-oriented association open to criminal justice professionals working in the western states that provides networking opportunities and an annual conference.

1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, Hawaii: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/HI/PST045219
2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wages, Hawaii: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_hi.htm
3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Private Investigators: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes339021.htm
4. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm