New Mexico Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

    With a population of just over 2 million people, New Mexico has a private bail system that includes the services of bounty hunters.1 In New Mexico, bounty hunters are known as bail bond solicitors, who work on behalf of a bail bondsman. Bail bond solicitors must be licensed by the New Mexico Office of Superintendent of Insurance (OSI). New Mexico Statute 13.20.2 gives the authority for a bondsman (or bail bond solicitor) to arrest a defendant who has skipped bail. Below, we’ll share the requirements for becoming a bail bond solicitor or bail bondsman in New Mexico as well as the process you should follow to ensure success in the profession.

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    Requirements for Prospective Bail Bond Solicitors in New Mexico

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

    • 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 Bond Solicitor or 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 can become a bail bond solicitor, who has arresting authority but must be working under the authority of a licensed bail bondsman
    • You may become a bail bondsman, who has arresting authority

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

    Bail Bond Solicitor

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

    1. Identify a sponsor.

    Bail bond 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.

    2. Take the bail bond pre-licensing course.

    New Mexico requires prospective solicitors to complete a bail bond pre-licensing course of not less than 10 hours with course content that covers ethics and laws in bail bonding.

    3. Complete on-the-job training.

    You must complete at least thirty clock hours of supervised experience in bail bonding. Your supervisor must be a licensed bail bondsman, and he or she must certify in writing that you have met the experience requirement.

    4. Take the written examination.

    After completing the pre-licensing course and on-the-job training, you are eligible for the next step in the licensing process, which is taking the written exam. You can register for the exam through Prometric, the state’s chosen administrator.

    5. Submit your registration to the OSI.

    After you have met licensing requirements, your employing bail bondsman must submit your registration as a bail bond solicitor to the OSI within seven days of your employment. Your application must include:

    The employing bail bondsman typically covers the registration fees.

    6. Begin working as a bail bond solicitor.

    After completing the application and finding a sponsor, you will become a bail bond solicitor in New Mexico and you can track and apprehend defendants who have failed to appear in court. Note that if you change employers, your new employer must re-submit your registration to the OSI.

    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. Because they are considered insurance producers with financial responsibilities, there are additional steps and requirements to become a bail bondsman in New Mexico. To obtain your license as a bail bondsman, you must:

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

    The New Mexico OSI requires aspiring bail bondsmen to complete 30 hours of pre-licensing 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 education, 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 jump-start your career.

    2. Complete the application.

    In order to receive a license, you must complete the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) Application. You must also complete 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 July 2022). 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 pre-licensing education

    3. Take and pass the exam.

    Once you submit your application and have received approval from the OSI, you must take and pass the New Mexico Resident Insurance Producer exam Your exam should be scheduled with the Prometric testing center. The exam fee was $75 as of 2022.

    4. Receive your license.

    After completing the steps above, you will become a licensed property bondsmen in the state of New Mexico. The OSI requires that you renew your license annually; to do so, you must complete 24 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 July 2022, the renewal fee was $20.

    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), also known as private detectives (PDs), 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 $550 (as of July 2022)

    For consideration, submit a private investigator application and supporting forms 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 the law often obtain a
    two- or four-year degree in criminal justice or a related field. 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.

    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

    New Mexico State University
    1780 E University Ave
    Las Cruces, NM 88003

    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 connecting with bail bondsmen. 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 (PBUS) lists two member bail bond agencies in 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.

    Amigo Bail Bonds
    506 Slate Ave NW
    Albuquerque, NM 87102

    Gerald Madrid Bail Bonds
    507 5th St NW
    Albuquerque, NM 87102

    For a listing of more bail agents in New Mexico, use the Member Search tool on the PBUS website.

    Bail Bond Solicitor Salary and Outlook in New Mexico

    Salary data is not provided for bounty hunters by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), so we use data for private investigators as a proxy. In 2021, an estimated 70 private investigators were employed in New Mexico, and they earned an average annual salary of $62,280.2 This was slightly above the 2021 national average for PIs of $60,970.3 Projections show that jobs for private investigators are expected to increase by 20% through 2030, amounting to about 10 job openings per year including replacements.4

    City or Metropolitan AreaNumber Employed2Average Annual Salary2
    New Mexico (Statewide)70$62,280

    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/PST045221
    2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021, New Mexico: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nm.htm
    3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021, Private Investigators: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes339021.htm
    4. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm