New Mexico Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

With a population of just over 2 million, New Mexico has a private bail system that includes the services of bail bondsmen and solicitors.1 A bail bondsman must be licensed by the New Mexico Office of Superintendent of Insurance. New Mexico Statute 13.20.2 gives the authority for a bondsman (or surety) to arrest a defendant who has skipped bail. Below, we’ll share the requirements for becoming a bail bondsman in New Mexico as well as the process you should follow to ensure success in the profession.

Requirements for Prospective Bail Bondsmen in New Mexico

In New Mexico, you must meet the following minimum requirements before you can become a bail bondsman.

  • Be a US citizen
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED
  • Have no felony convictions

Steps to a Career as a Bail Bondsman in New Mexico

Once you meet those basic requirements, you can begin the process of starting your career as a bail bondsman. There are two licensure options if you wish to catch fugitives in New Mexico:

  • You may become a bail bondsman, who has arresting authority
  • You can become a limited surety solicitor, who has the authority to arrest fugitives but must be working under the authority of a licensed bail bondsman

The steps below outline the process for both licenses in New Mexico.

Bail Bondsman

A bail bondsman has the authority to write bonds (or insurance) for individuals who have been arrested and need to post bail. They also have the authority to arrest fugitives. To obtain your license as a bail bondsman, you must:

1. Complete the pre-licensing and on-the-job training.

The New Mexico Office of Superintendent requires aspiring bail bondsmen to complete 30 hours of prelicensing education. Training should be in courses related to the duties of a bail bondsman, including ethics, laws, and rules that a bondsman should follow. If you wish to apprehend fugitives as a bail bondsman, you should be knowledgeable in skip tracing, interviewing individuals, and using various methods of research. After completing the required training, you must complete 120 hours of on-the-job training under the supervision of a licensed bail bondsman. Your supervisor must certify in writing that you completed the training and have experienced the general duties of a bail bondsman. In addition to bail enforcement training, you should consider obtaining formal education in criminal justice in the form of a two- or four-year degree. While a degree is not required in New Mexico, it may help to jumpstart your career.

2. Complete the application.

In order to receive a license, you must complete the National Insurance Producer Registry Application. You must submit to a criminal background check which will include fingerprints. The fee for fingerprinting and a background check is $44 and the individual license fee is $30 (as of May 2016). A complete bail bond application will have:

  • A letter of credit for $25,000 (issued to the Superintendent of Insurance)
  • A detailed financial statement that has been notarized
  • The $50 filing fee
  • Documentation that you have completed the required on-the-job training
  • Proof of completion of 30 hours of prelicensing education

3. Take and pass the exam.

Once you submit your application and have received approval from the Office, you must take and pass the New Mexico insurance producer exam Your exam should be scheduled with the PSI testing center. The exam fee was $75 as of 2020.

4. Receive your license.

After completing the steps above, you will become a licensed property bondsmen in the state of New Mexico. The Office requires that you renew your license annually; to do so, you must complete 15 hours of continuing education (CE). At least one CE hour must be in ethics, all other CE credits should be in topics related to the duties and responsibilities of a bail bondsman. As of May 2016, the renewal fee cost $20.

Limited Surety Solicitor

A limited surety solicitor is appointed by a bail bondsman to execute bonds for a fee. Limited surety solicitors can arrest fugitives who have skipped bail when working under the authority of a bail bondsman. They will also help with surveillance of, capturing, and presenting the fugitive in court. To become a limited surety solicitor, you must:

1. Complete the application.

Hopeful limited surety solicitors must submit an limited license to the Office. Your application must include:

  • The $30 application and $20 appointment fees (as of Junev2016)
  • A criminal background check and fingerprints

2. Identify a sponsor.

Limited surety solicitors must be sponsored or appointed by a licensed bail bondsman. If you have a mentor, someone who is experienced in the field and is willing to help you with your career, he or she can help you identify a sponsor. You may also use the Find a Bail Agent tool on the PBUS website to find a sponsor.

3. Receive your license.

After completing the application and finding a sponsor, you will become a licensed limited surety solicitor in New Mexico and you can track and apprehend defendants who have failed to appear in court. Limited surety solicitors must meet the same renewal requirements as a bail bondsman. He or she must complete 15 hours of CE (with one hour in ethics) and pay the $20 renewal fee (as of May 2016).

Related Careers

As a bounty hunter, you may wish to work in related careers while you search for work finding fugitives. Two of those careers are working as a private investigator or process server. Presented below are the general requirements for both professions in the state of New Mexico.

Private Investigator/Private Detective

Private investigators (PIs) work to find information on personal, financial, or criminal matters for their clients. In New Mexico, private investigators must be licensed by the New Mexico Private Investigation Advisory Board. Private investigators in the state must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be a US citizen or resident alien
  • Submit to a criminal background check (including fingerprints) and pass a polygraph examination
  • Have five years (or 6,000 hours) of investigative experience
  • Take and pass the exam
  • Pay application and licensure fees of $400 (as of May 2016)

For consideration, submit a private investigator application to the Advisory Board.

Process Server

Another career similar to that of bounty hunting is process serving. Process servers work for the New Mexico court system to file legal papers and serve documents to parties involved in a lawsuit. Process servers in New Mexico are not required to be licensed. To begin serving as part of the legal process, you must be 18 years of age. For more information, visit your local county clerk’s office.

Training and Education Options in New Mexico

Individuals pursuing careers that involve understanding or interpreting the law often obtain a
two- or four-year degree in criminal justice. Bounty hunters may consider obtaining an associate degree or certificate in criminal justice to complement their bail enforcement training. A criminal justice degree program can teach you about the legal system, social problems, and solutions, and help improve your critical thinking and decision-making skills. Possessing such a degree may also show your employers that you are serious about your career. Listed below are a few schools in New Mexico offering an associate degree program in New Mexico.

Central New Mexico Community College
525 Buena Vista Dr SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106

Mesalands Community College
911 S 10th St
Tucumcari, NM 88401

New Mexico Junior College
5317 N Lovington Hwy
Hobbs, NM 88240

University of New Mexico-Taos Branch
1157 Co Rd 110
Ranchos De Taos, NM 87557

Finding Work

After you meet the requirements for becoming a bounty hunter in New Mexico, you will need to develop a plan to secure work. Your mentor should be able to offer some tips on starting a business as a bail bondsman. In addition to that, seek out professional networks and small groups of bounty hunters, bail agents, and private investigators to build professional relationships and increase your chances at landing a job. The Professional Bail Agents of the US lists 15 member bail bond agencies for New Mexico.

Featured Bail Agents in New Mexico

To aid you in your job search, here are some well-known or highly-rated bail bond agencies in New Mexico.

AAA-Moose Bail Bonds
1845 Copper Loop
Las Cruces, NM 88005

ABC Bail Bonds Inc
413 Slate Ave NW
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Action Bail Bonds
408 N 17th St
Las Cruces, NM 88005

Bail Bonds Albuquerque
400 Gold Ave SW
Ste 265
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Dario Gomez Bail Bonds
877 N Main St
Las Cruces, NM 88001

Quick Bail Bonds
501 5th St NW
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Gerald Madrid Bail Bonds
428 Courthouse Rd SE
Los Lunas, NM 87031

Metropolitan Bail Bonds
1122 Central Ave SW
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Tony Madrid Bail Bonds
505 5th St NW
Albuquerque, NM 87102

For a listing of even more bail agents in New Mexico, use the Find a Bail Agent tool on the PBUS website.

Bounty Hunter Salary and Outlook in New Mexico

Salary data is not provided for bounty hunters from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), so we use data for private investigators as a proxy. In 2015, 330 private investigators were employed in New Mexico and they earned an average annual salary of $33,680.2 Projections Central predicts that jobs for private investigators will increase by 7.9% between the years 2012 and 2022, amounting to about 10 jobs per year.3

City or Metropolitan AreaNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary

Data from the BLS as of May 2015.2

Additional Resources

To grow your professional network, consider joining a bail bond association like the one listed below.

1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, New Mexico: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/NM/PST045219
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015, New Mexico: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nm.htm
3. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm