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The steps to becoming a bail bond enforcer in West Virginia are as follows:
|Meet Basic West Virginia Requirements|
|Obtain the Necessary Training in West Virginia|
|Contact Employers in West Virginia|
|Submit your West Virginia Application|
|Start Work as a Bounty Hunter in West Virginia|
In West Virginia, bounty hunters are known as bail bond enforcers. The job of a bail bond enforcer involves tracking fugitives who have not appeared in court, thus forfeiting their bail, and bringing them to justice for a fee. To do this, West Virginia requires an apprehension authorization from a bail bondsman.
The official definition of a bail bond enforcer in West Virginia means doing the following on behalf of a bail bondsman:
- Assisting to present the defendant in court
- Assisting in the defendant’s apprehension and surrender to a court
- Keeping the defendant under surveillance
- Executing bonds when a power of attorney has been recorded
The state does not require licensing to enter this profession, but bail bond enforcers must be registered with the West Virginia State Police and be sponsored by a bail bondsman with this authorization on file.
Step 1. Meet the Basic West Virginia Requirements
- Be at least 21 years old at the time you submit your application
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Not have any felony convictions
Step 2. Obtain the Necessary Training in West Virginia
While becoming a bail bond enforcer is a popular goal, to do so requires a substantial amount of experience or training. Some individuals gain experience by working as an apprentice for a bail bondsman.
Others obtain formal criminal justice training. It is not uncommon for bail bond enforcers to go on to become law enforcement agents. Obtaining an associate or bachelor degree in criminal justice, legal studies or public administration can help with such a goal and provides experience in navigating the legal system.
Step 3. Contact Employers in West Virginia
To be able to apply to become a bail enforcement agent in West Virginia, you will need a completed registration authorization or an enforcement authorization indicating that you already have employment with a bail bondsman before you can start your application process. Having obtained training will make you a more desirable candidate when you apply.
West Virginia has several prominent bonding companies that you can contact to seek employment. They include:
- 1st Action Bail Bonds
- AAA Bail Yes Bonding Agency
- Steven Mehr Bail Bonds
- West Virginia Bonds
Step 4. Submit Your West Virginia Application
You will can obtain an application from the:
West Virginia State Police
Criminal Records Section
Bail Bond Enforcer Registration
725 Jefferson Rd.
South Charleston, WV 25309-1698
Or you can obtain the application online and mail your completed one to this address.
You will need to include the following items with your application:
- Two sets of fingerprints (State and Federal Applicant) taken by an employee or member of the West Virginia State Police
- Two recent full-face photographs in color (3” x 3” up to 4” x 6”)
- One of the following:
- Completed Registration Authorization from a bail bondsman
- Completed Enforcement Authorization from a bail bondsman
- Application fee of $50.00 made out to the West Virginia State Police
- Authorization fee of $10.00 made out to the West Virginia State Police
It is extremely important to submit this application. It is considered a misdemeanor for you to work as bail bond enforcer in West Virginia without having submitted the proper documents. You can be imprisoned for sixty days or be fined $500 to $10,000 or both.
Step 5. Start Work as a Bail Bond Enforcer in West Virginia
Once you have been employed and submitted your application, you can start your work of apprehending fugitives. There are additional legal requirements that you need to follow before you can apprehend a defendant. You must have a photo ID and written documentation on you that authorizes the apprehension of this person. This enforcement authorization must be on approved and on file with the West Virginia State Police to be valid. This is described in West Virginia’s code in chapter 51 Article 10A.
Continuing authorization cards – This type of card can authorize action throughout the whole state or certain counties and covers all defendants that the bail bondsman will be acting for to secure an appearance in court. It is valid for up to two years.
Specific authorization cards — In this case, the authorization is for a particular defendant and expires after sixty days. This is the only type of authorization allowed for bail bond enforcers from other states.
Before you try to take the person into custody, you need to notify the primary station of the State Police for the area that you will be working in. A list of the primary stations and the counties they serve can be found online, along with the pre-action notification form that you must provide.
Sometimes the person you are tracking will move into another county in West Virginia. If that is the case and you have notified the police as required, you will not have to file another document in the new county. You should call the relevant State Police detachment or visit them in person as soon as reasonably possible.