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SB 0837
Bell
HB 1305
Dean
CRIMINAL LAW: Bounty hunters required to have criminal background check. Requires bounty hunters to undergo a criminal background check.

TCA Sec. 40-11-0318

Senate Status: Set for Senate Judiciary Committee 03/08/2011.
House Status: Referred to House General Subcommittee of Judiciary.

 

SB 0838
Bell
HB 1306
Dean
CRIMINAL LAW: Handgun carry permit required for bounty hunters. Requires bounty hunters to have a lawful handgun carry permit.

TCA Sec. 40-11-0318

Senate Status: Referred to Senate Judiciary.
House Status: Referred to House General Subcommittee of Judiciary.

 

Title 40 Criminal Procedure 
Chapter 11 Bail 
Part 3 Professional Bondsmen

Tenn. Code Ann. 40-11-318 (2011)

40-11-318. Bounty hunting.

 (a) "Bounty hunting" means a person who acts as an agent of a professional bondsman who attempts to or takes into custody a person who has failed to appear in court and whose bond has been forfeited, for a fee, the payment of which is contingent upon the taking of a person into custody and returning the person to the custody of the professional bondsman for whom the bounty hunter works; provided, that "bounty hunting" does not include the taking into custody of a person by a professional bondsman.

(b) No person who has been convicted of a felony shall serve as a bounty hunter in the state of Tennessee. Persons having been convicted of a felony who perform the services of a bounty hunter as defined in this section commit a criminal offense, punishable as a Class A misdemeanor.

(c) Before a bounty hunter takes into custody any person who has failed to appear in court, the bounty hunter shall comply with 40-11-401, make a good faith effort to verify the person's address, and present to the office of the appropriate law enforcement officer of the political subdivision where the taking will occur:

  (1) A certified copy of the underlying criminal process against the defendant;

  (2) A certified copy of the bond or capias;

  (3) Proper credentials from a professional bondsman in Tennessee or another state verifying that the bounty hunter is an agent of a professional bondsman; and

  (4) A pocket card certifying that the bounty hunter has completed the training required by this section or, if the bounty hunter is from a state other than Tennessee, proof that the bounty hunter successfully completed an equivalent amount of training in the bounty hunter's home state within the last year.

(d) Failure to present all of the proper credentials as specified in this section to the office of the appropriate law enforcement officer prior to taking any person into custody shall be punishable as a Class A misdemeanor.

(e) A professional bondsman, who knowingly employs a convicted felon to act as an agent of the bondsman for purposes of taking into custody a person who failed to appear in court, commits a Class A misdemeanor.

(f) Any resident of this state who is a United States citizen and who intends to perform the functions of a bounty hunter as defined in subsection (a), shall submit to a criminal history background check as provided by 38-6-109 at the sheriff's office at the county of the person's permanent residence. The person requesting the criminal history background check shall be responsible for any fees associated with the background check. The criminal background check shall include fingerprint checks against state and federal criminal records maintained by the Tennessee bureau of investigation (TBI) and the federal bureau of investigation (FBI). The sheriff's office shall maintain files in their respective counties on bounty hunters requesting a criminal history background check. A sheriff may charge a fee of not more than two hundred dollars ($200) for each background check performed pursuant to this subsection (f) and in addition to the background check fees payable to the TBI, the FBI and any designated vendor. If the bounty hunter is from a state other than Tennessee, proof that the bounty hunter has completed an equivalent criminal history background check in the person's home state within the last year shall be provided to the appropriate law enforcement agency of the political subdivision where the taking will occur.

HISTORY: Acts 1998, ch. 1019, 1; 2001, ch. 430, 1; 2011, ch. 456, 1.