Becoming a bounty hunter in Arkansas requires a state-issued bail bondsman license. In order to practice in this competitive and demanding field, professionals must complete the following steps:
|Determine Eligibility in Arkansas
|Complete Education and Training in Arkansas
|Pass the Arkansas Licensing Exam
|Apply for an Arkansas State License
|Find Employment or Etablish a Company in Arkansas
Arkansas strictly regulates the bail bondsman profession through the Arkansas Professional Bail Bondsman Licensing Board (APBBLB). Like most states, Arkansas considers a bail bond a surety transaction, or in more common terms, a financial agreement based on some form of assurance that the defendant will fulfill his or her obligations to the court as well as to the bail bondsman. In Arkansas, bail bondsmen may provide financial products to defendants with secured or unsecured bond commitments. Since bail bondsmen and bounty hunters are considered one and the same under state licensing requirements, the bail bondsman has the legal right to pursue those who skip bond.
Secured bonds are essentially loans that are provided with the backing of some type of collateral like property or co-sign. Unsecured loans do not have collateral backing and bail bondsmen are permitted only a certain amount of unsecured loans. This unsecured bail bond limit is set by the APBBLB but typically follows the “ten times” formula which limits all unsecured financial offerings to ten times the cash holdings of the company.
Step 1. Determine Eligibility in Arkansas
To qualify for a bail bondsman license in Arkansas and work as a bounty hunter, you must meet the following base qualifications:
- Cannot be convicted of a felony or crime of moral turpitude
- Cannot be an attorney or employee of an attorney licensed in Arkansas
- Must be competent, trustworthy and financially responsible
- Must be able to pay the $100 license fee
- Must have passed the state license examination
- Must be sponsored by a bail bond company
Step 2. Complete Education and Training in Arkansas
Due to the financial nature of the bail bond industry, most professionals who enter this occupation possess some college education in finance, economics or business administration. Although a college degree is not required to obtain licensure, most bail bondsmen who possess an associate’s or bachelor’s degree are more capable of meeting the challenges of this demanding financial profession.
In addition to the more broad-based academic education, many prospective bail bondsmen benefit from a pre-licensing course available through several colleges and private schools throughout the state. These courses are composed of eight hours of classroom instruction and focus on the topics that will be covered in the Arkansas Bail Bondsman Licensure Exam.
Prior to licensure, prospective bail bondsmen must also obtain sponsorship from a bail bond company. In order to obtain such sponsorship, many candidates may seek internships or paid employment to establish a relationship with a company.
Step 3. Pass the Arkansas Bail Bondsman Licensure Exam
In order to obtain licensure, candidates must first take the Arkansas Bail Bondsman Licensure Exam. There is a $25 testing fee in the form of a Bail Bond Company check or money order must be submitted along with the application, which can be obtained from the APPBLB Board Office. This exam is offered on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. A score of 70 percent or higher is required to pass. The score for a passed exam is good for only one year; candidates must apply for their state license within that period or retake the exam.
Before taking the state licensing exam, you must take an 8 hour pre-licensing course. Many of the pre-licensing courses which are offered will be significantly longer than the 8 hours, and will cover all the legal aspects of being an bail bondsman and bounty hunter.
Look for a course that focuses on preparing you for the exam. These courses will offer several sample tests so that you can be adequately prepared on exam day. After completing the course you can then apply for a permit, which allows you to take the exam. You will have three months to complete the exam.
Step 4. Apply for an Arkansas State License
In order to obtain an Arkansas state bail bondsman and bounty hunter license, candidates must complete the following procedure:
- File an application
- Submit a B-11B form detailing sponsorship by a bail bond company
- Submit a Qualifying Power of Attorney from the sponsoring bail bond company
- Submit an Arkansas State Police record check authorization
- Provide a character reference form
- Provide a $100 licensing fee in the form of a money order or Bail Bond Company check
In Arkansas, licenses are good for one year. To qualify for license renewal, you’ll need to pay a $100 license renewal fee and fulfill the continuing education requirements.
Practicing bail bondsmen must complete eight hours of continuing education unless they are 65 years or older, or have been licensed for 15 years or more. The fee for this eight hour continuing education course is $200 and is available through one of several state licensed schools found throughout the state.
Step 5. Find Employment or Establish a Bail Bond Company in Arkansas
Many bounty hunters licensed as bail bondsmen in Arkansas continue employment with their sponsoring bail bond company, but a large portion go on to found their own bail bonds companies. This process entails providing a $1,000 company licensing fee and submitting proof of incorporation in Arkansas.
Bail bondsmen serving as bail enforcement agents may also find additional networking opportunities at the Arkansas Professional Bail Association.