Bounty hunters in Virginia must go through a strict licensure process that follows these five steps:
|Meet Fundamental Qualifications in Virginia|
|Complete Education and Training Requirements in Virginia|
|Pass a Virginia Examination|
|Submit an Application and Required Documentation in Virginia|
|Now that you’re a Bounty Hunter in Virginia|
Bounty hunters, also known as bail enforcement agents in Virginia, are regulated by the state’s Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). It was only within the last decade that Virginia instituted licensing laws for bounty hunters.
Step 1. Meet Fundamental Qualifications for Bounty Hunters in Virginia
Before applying to become a licensed bounty hunter in Virginia, you must meet these fundamental requirements:
- Attain the age of 21 or older
- Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident alien
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Complete a basic certification course in bail enforcement training (see below)
- Not be an employee of a local or regional jail
- Not currently the subject of a protective order
- Not be employed by a sheriff’s office
- Not be employed y a state or local police department
- Not be a Commonwealth’s Attorney or an employee of its offices
- Not be an employee of the Department of Corrections
- Not be an employee of the Department of Criminal Justice Services
If you have had a felony conviction at any time in your past, a misdemeanor conviction of any kind in the past five years, or a misdemeanor at any time in your past related to stalking or brandishing a firearm, you may still qualify for licensure as long as you have received a full pardon and have had your civil rights fully restored. If any of these apply to you, you must disclose the details of the conviction and provide documents to support that you have satisfied all court requirements and that your civil rights have been restored when submitting the Criminal History Supplemental Form along with your application (see Step 4.).
In some cases, the stipulation barring you from licensure due to a misdemeanor conviction within the last five years may be waived without a specific pardon provided it was not related to the following:
- Concealed weapon
- Sexual battery
- Assault and battery
- Drug offense
- Discharging a firearm
- Sex offence
Step 2. Complete Education and Training Requirements for Virginia Bounty Hunters
Virginia mandates that all bounty hunters complete the Bail Enforcement Agent Entry-Level Training Course (44E) before seeking licensure to work in the state. For a directory of DCJS-approved training schools, click here. The course is 40 hours long and consists of training in the following areas:
- Conflicts of interest
- Code of ethics
- Code of Virginia and Regulations
- Basic law
- Federal court system
- State court system
- Bail enforcement
- Fugitive recovery
- Investigative techniques
- Recovery procedures
- Agent survival
- Apprehending a fugitive
- Remanding to custody
- Legal detainment facilities
- Hospital procedures for injuries
- Signing the bail piece, returning to court
- Entering the jail or sally port
You must pass a written examination at the end of the course (see Step 3).
Although a college education is not a stated requirement for becoming a bounty hunter in Virginia, it can help your chances of succeeding in the training course mentioned above and in passing the exam. Degrees such as the following have proven to be helpful to potential bounty hunters in Virginia:
- Diploma in Criminal Justice
- Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
- Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration
- Bachelor of Business Administration in Legal Studies
- Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
Step 3. Pass the Required Virginia Exams
Upon completion of the Bail Enforcement Agent Entry-Level Training Course, you must pass a comprehensive written examination testing everything that you learned in that course. The training provider will administer this examination.
You may not proceed with the licensure process until you have passed this examination.
Once you pass the exam, the training center will take your photo, which will be used when your license is issued.
Step 4. Submit an Application and Required Documentation to Become a Bounty Hunter in Virginia
After passing the Bail Enforcement Agent Examination, you are ready to submit your application to become a bounty hunter in Virginia.
- Download and complete the Bail Enforcement Agent Initial License Application
- Download and complete the Criminal History Supplemental Form
- Include a licensure fee of $200, payable via check/money order to the Treasurer of Virginia
- Include the Fingerprint Application Form, a completed fingerprint card and a fee of $50 to the Treasurer of Virginia. This will enable DCJS to run a full criminal history records check on you.
- If you plan to carry a firearm as part of your bounty hunter duties, you must submit the Firearms Endorsement application and $30 fee to the Treasurer of Virginia. (Within 12 months prior to this application you must complete entry-level training for firearms endorsement)
Mail all of the above to Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, P.O. Box 1300, Richmond, VA 23218.
Step 5. Now that You’re a Bounty Hunter in Virginia
You have completed the necessary education and training and passed the exam, and are now a licensed bail enforcement agent/bounty hunter in Virginia! Your license is valid for two years, after which time it must be renewed. Every two years, you must complete eight hours of renewal training, consisting of the Bail Enforcement Agent In-Service (44I) course. Search for training schools offering this course here.
- Use the Bail Enforcement Agent Renewal License Application. Be sure to include a licensure fee of $200, payable via check/money order to the Treasurer of Virginia.
- Also include the Fingerprint Application Form, a completed fingerprint card and a fee of $50 payable to the Treasurer of Virginia
- Include the Firearms Endorsement application and $30 fee to the Treasurer of Virginia, if you are renewing your Firearms Endorsement. (Within 12 months prior to this application you must complete entry-level training for firearms endorsement
Mail all of the above information to Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, P.O. Box 1300, Richmond, VA 23218.
Potential employers of Bounty Hunters in Virginia
The following companies are some of the major fugitive recovery agencies in Virginia that may provide jobs to licensed bounty hunters:
- Finders Investigations, Inc. – Norfolk
- Eagle Security Solutions, Inc. – Chesapeake
- John Phillips-Chesapeake
- A+ Leverage – Hampton
- Getem Boyz Bounty, LLC – Woodbridge
- Skip Trackers Bail Enforcement Agency – Richmond
- Mock1 Bail Enforcement –Virginia Beach