Maryland Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

According to the US Census Bureau, Maryland has a population of 5.9 million people.1 Bounty hunters are not prohibited by law in Maryland, but there is no licensing or registration process for those in the profession. Bounty hunters, or “surety recovery agents” in Maryland, work to locate and return fugitives who have “skipped” bail. Power is given to a surety recovery agent to arrest or to direct an associate to arrest a fugitive by Section 5-208 of the Maryland Code. Because the state does not require a license, you must take care to follow the laws and rules of bail enforcement in the state. If a career as a surety recovery agent in Maryland interests you, keep reading to learn more.

Requirements for Prospective Surety Recovery Agents in Maryland

Surety recovery agents in Maryland work for bail bondsmen to catch and return fugitives who failed to show up in court. Maryland state law gives a surety agent 90 to 180 days to find the missing defendant before the surety has to forfeit the bond. If you want to be a surety recovery agent in Maryland, you must be 18 years of age or older, a US citizen or resident alien, and you must have no felony convictions.

Steps to a Career as a Surety Recovery Agent in Maryland

Surety recovery agents use investigative skills, surveillance techniques, and their knowledge of the law to find fugitives who have “skipped” bail. Because there are no licensing requirements in Maryland for surety recovery agents, you will need some guidance to ensure a successful career and separate you from the other agents. In Maryland, there are three steps we recommend you follow prior to becoming a surety recovery agent. In order to begin working as a surety recovery agent license in Maryland, follow these steps.

1. Obtain the appropriate training.

It is imperative that surety recovery agents understand how to read and interpret the law relating to criminal procedure in Maryland. In addition to that, you’ll need to master the art of “skip tracing” and be comfortable interviewing strangers and prying for information. You should attend a fugitive recovery training to become proficient in the art of bail recovery. Pricing for bail recovery training may range from $200 to $500. In addition, you should consider completing a certificate or two- or four-year degree in criminal justice to ensure that you fully understand the law.

2. Identify a mentor.

Training isn’t the only requirement to becoming a surety recovery agent in Maryland. A bail bondsmen will rarely post a job opening online or in the classified section of the newspaper. Instead, surety recovery agents will need existing relationships with bail bondsmen and must be able to prove their experience. If you’re new to the field, you should look for an experienced bounty hunter to mentor you and be your connector to bail bondsmen. Someone who is in the early stages of retirement may have the desire to share his or her knowledge with a new bounty hunter. Check out local associations to network with fugitive recovery agents and visit the Professional Bail Agents of the US directory to reach out to bail agents in Maryland.

3. Become a surety recovery agent.

Once you have some training under your belt and have identified a mentor in the field, you should be ready to step out on your own. It’s recommended that you inform your local law enforcement agency that you will be practicing surety recovery agent in the area. This may alleviate legal issues that could arise from arresting fugitives while also providing you with some allies to assist you.

Surety recovery agents must stay updated on changes with Maryland legislation so make it a point to review new and repealed laws from the General Assembly of Maryland.

Related Careers

New surety recovery agents may need to find ways to supplement their income while getting their bounty hunting business off the ground. Two professions that are somewhat similar to that of a bounty hunter are private investigators and process servers. Below, we provide basic licensing information for both professions in Maryland.

Private Investigator/ Private Detective

Private detectives (PDs) work for clients to find information on matters relevant to the client; working for individuals, corporations, law practices, and even law enforcement. In Maryland, private investigators must be certified by the Maryland State Police. Licensed private detectives in Maryland must:

  • Be at least 25 years of age
  • Have no felony convictions nor any convictions for violent offenses
  • Not have a dependence on alcohol or any narcotic
  • Not have been confined to a mental institutions
  • Not have been convicted of any criminal act directly related to employment

As of April 2016, the application and license fees are $25. If you are interested in becoming a PD, submit an application to the State Police by mail or on their website.

Process Server

As in many other states, process servers in Maryland are not required to be licensed. Process servers work for the court system to file legal papers, serve documents to parties involved in a lawsuit, and retrieve documents when needed. In Maryland, process servers must be at least 18 years of age and must contact their local court for more information.

Training and Education Options in Maryland

In Maryland, there is no required training experience but having a formal education in criminal justice can positively impact your career. Look for two- or four-year degree programs in criminal justice or a related field to gain information on the legal system and show potential employers that you are serious about your career. Here is a short list of schools across the state of Maryland that offer associate degrees in criminal justice.

Carroll Community College
1601 Washington Road
Westminster, MD 21156

Hartford Community College
401 Thomas Run Rd
Bel Air, MD 21015

Montgomery College
51 Mannakee St
Rockville, MD 20850

Wor-Wic Community College
32000 Campus Dr
Salisbury, MD 21804

Finding Work

Surety recovery agents must find bail bondsmen who are actively hiring to secure work. Most bounty hunter jobs are found through word-of-mouth so having a professional relationship with bail bond agents will greatly benefit your career. You should join bail bond agent associations to find an apprenticeship program or an experienced bounty hunter who could offer advice as you embark on your new career. The Professional Bail Agents of the US (PBUS) shows 25 member bail bondsmen in Maryland in their directory.

Featured Bail Agents in Maryland

Below is a listing of top-rated or well-known bail bond agencies in Maryland to help you find job opportunities.

Bail Bonds 24 Hour
408 E Eager St
Baltimore, MD 21218

Baltimore Bail Bonds 24-7
400 E Eager St
Baltimore, MD 21202

Ben Harris & Sons Bail Bonds
3 Church Circle
Suite 148
Annapolis, MD 21402

Fred Frank Bail Bonds
214 E Lexington St
Baltimore, MD 21202

Hi-Tech Bail Bonds
8630-M Guilford Road
Suite 226
Columbia, MD 21046

Prestige Bail Bonds
200 N Highland Ave
Baltimore, MD 21224

Relapse Bail Bonds
8402 Lynn Cir
Pasadena, MD 21122

Q & L Tags and Title
2100 Harford Rd
Baltimore, MD 21218

Step by Step Bail Bonds
101 W 22nd St
Baltimore, MD 21218

To search for more bail agents and bondsmen in Maryland, you can use the Find a Bail Agent tool on the PBUS website.

Bounty Hunter Salary and Outlook in Maryland

Salary data is not provided for surety recovery agents from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because bounty hunting and private investigation (PI) jobs are similar, we use salary data from that profession as a proxy. In 2015, the Baltimore metropolitan area had the fifth highest level of employment for private detectives and private investigators in the nation.2 The Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metropolitan division was in the top-paying category for PIs in the US (#9).2 In Maryland, 650 PIs were employed in 2015 and they earned an average annual salary of $52,540.3 Projections Central predicts that jobs for private investigators in Maryland will increase by 6.4% between now and 2022, amounting to 60 job openings per year.

City or Metropolitan AreaNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Salisbury MD-DEN/A*$51,770
Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville40$48,560

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.3
*Estimates not released by the BLS.

Additional Resources

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