Maryland Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

    According to the US Census Bureau, Maryland has a population of 6.1 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, sometimes known as bail recovery or fugitive recovery agents, work to locate and return fugitives who have “skipped” bail. Because the state does not require a license for bail bond agents, you must be employed by a licensed bail bondsman and take care to follow the laws and rules of bail enforcement in the state. If a career as a bail bond agent in Maryland interests you, keep reading to learn more.

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    Requirements for Prospective Bounty Hunters in Maryland

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

    Steps to a Career as a Bounty Hunter in Maryland

    Bounty hunters 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 bounty hunters, you will need some guidance to ensure a successful career and separate yourself from other agents. In Maryland, there are three steps to follow prior to becoming a bounty hunter:

    1. Obtain the appropriate training.

    It is imperative that bounty hunters 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 consider fugitive recovery training to become proficient in the art of bail recovery. 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 recommended step to becoming a bounty hunter in Maryland. A bail bondsmen will rarely post a job opening online or in the classified section of the newspaper. Instead, bounty hunters 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 connection 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 (PBUS) directory to reach out to bail agents in Maryland.

    3. Become a bounty hunter.

    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 fugitive recovery in the area. This may alleviate false alarms that could arise from arresting fugitives while also providing you with some allies to assist you.

    Related Careers

    New bounty hunters may need to find ways to supplement their income while getting their fugitive recovery 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 (MDSP). Licensed private detectives in Maryland must:

    • Be at least 25 years of age
    • Have at least five years of investigative or criminal justice experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience
    • 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 institution
    • Not have been convicted of any criminal act directly related to employment

    As of June 2022, the individual application fee was $200. If you are interested in becoming a PD, you can submit an application by mail or on the MDSP 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 to become a bounty hunter, 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

    Harford 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

    Bounty hunters 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 can offer advice as you embark on your new career. The PBUS website shows two 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.

    1st Class Bail Bonds
    6507 Old Branch Ave
    Temple Hills, MD 20748

    Dominion Bail Bonding
    14332 Old Marlboro Pk
    Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

    Good Fellas Bail Bonds, Inc.
    1406 E Joppa Rd
    Towson, MD 21286

    Jim Frank Bail Bonds
    100 S Jefferson St
    Frederick, MD 21701

    Statewide Bail Bonds
    133 Thomas St
    Bel Air, MD 21014

    To search for more bail agents and bondsmen in Maryland, you can use the Member Search tool on the PBUS website.

    Bounty Hunter Salary and Outlook in Maryland

    Salary data is not provided for bounty hunters by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Because bounty hunting and private investigation (PI) jobs are similar, we use salary data from that profession as a proxy. In 2021, the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro corridor that crosses Maryland had the fourth-highest level of employment for private detectives and private investigators in the nation.2 In Maryland, an estimated 850 PIs were employed in 2021, and they earned an average annual salary of $56,250.3 Estimates are that jobs for private investigators in Maryland will increase by 19.7% through 2030, with an average of 90 job openings per year including replacements.

    City or Metropolitan AreaNumber Employed3Average Annual Salary3
    Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD630$50,800
    Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV1,030$81,530

    Additional Resources

    Joining professional bail bond and investigative associations can help you network with bail bondsmen, access continuing education, and stay up-to-date on legislative changes.

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