Michigan’s Bounty Hunting Industry Grows as Laws or Regulations Remain Unchanged

Michigan is one of a number of states that have no rules, regulations or laws regarding the bounty hunting industry. In fact, Michigan, in the eyes of many, is a state right out of the Wild West when it comes to capturing fugitives.

Nearly two dozen states have clear legislation regarding bounty hunters, with the majority of these states licensing their bounty hunters as to closely monitor and regulate the industry and the men and women who work in this profession.

Opponents of Michigan’s lack of legislation for bounty hunters find it astounding that the State requires hairdressers to be licensed but not bounty hunters, who have sweeping arrest powers and more often than not carry firearms and other weapons. What may be even more shocking: even convicted felons can become bounty hunters in Michigan.

Although the laws in Michigan don’t specifically state that felons can become bounty hunters, the problem is that there is no language that states they can’t. In fact, there is no language at all about appropriate behavior or requirements for bounty hunters in Michigan.

The bounty hunting business in Michigan is one of the few professions in Michigan that has been steadily growing. Further, because the profession isn’t regulated, no one knows exactly how many bounty hunters are practicing in Michigan. However, a number of established bounty hunters in the state note that many people enter the field for a brief period of time.

Bounty hunters, despite their lack of training, have sweeping arrest powers, and they can break into a home if they think the fugitive is inside. They can even move a fugitive across state lines. This authority comes from a Supreme Court ruling that states that people who sign a contract with a bail bondsman waive their civil rights. Although this ruling is more than 136 years old, Michigan has failed to update it by regulating the industry and licensing bounty hunters and bail bondsmen.