Fugitive Recovery

California Penal Code §1299 governs fugitive recovery. While this statute has sunset, there is a current bill to revive this statute (see update). You can read that billhere.

On September 16, 1999, Governor Davis signed AB 243 (Wildman) into law, effective January 1, 2000. For a complete copy of AB 243, click here.

The basic provisions of AB 243 are:

  • After January 1, 2000, in order to apprehend, detain, arrest or surrender bail fugitives, as an independent contractor or employee of the bail recovery agency, then one must meet the following qualifications: A. Must be authorized by the bail or depositor of bail to apprehend a bail fugitive AND B. Must hold one of the following: A California Bail Agent License, A Bail Agent License from another state, A California Private Investigator license OR C. Must be trained and qualified as Bail Fugitive Recovery Person, pursuant to California Penal Code Section 1299.
  • Must Be 18 years of age or older.
  • Must have completed a 40-hour power of arrest course pursuant to California Penal Code Section 832, from a P.O.S.T. approved instructor and school. Check you local community collage for P.O.S.T. certified courses.
  • Must have completed a 12-hour pre-licening bail education course (Bail Law) pursuant to Insurance Code Section 1810.7. CBAA offers this course every two months, alternating between northern and southern California. For the schedule of classes, please see Becoming a Bail Agent.
  • Must have completed a 8 hour security guard course regarding powers of arrest pursuant to Business & Professions Code Section 7583.7. This is required by The Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS).
  • Must not have been convicted of a felony. All applications are signed under penalty of perjury.
  • If carrying weapons a California Bail Licensee or California Bail Fugitive Recovery Person must comply with all state and local laws and it is recommended that you take the necessary training required for the weapons you wish to carry or use in the course and scope of your work.

IMPORTANT NOTE:
A Bail Fugitive Recovery Person must, at all times, in the course of performing his/her duties under the current, carry certificates of completion for each of the courses listed above.

*Exceptions for California Bail Licensees California Penal Code §1299 also states:

    • A bail fugitive recovery person, a bail agent, bail permittee, or bail solicitor who contracts his or her services to another bail agent or surety as a bail fugitive recovery person for the purposes specified in subdivision (d) of Section 1299.01, and any bail agent, bail permittee, or bail solicitor who obtains licensing after January 1, 2000, and who engages in the arrest of a defendant pursuant to Section 1301 shall comply with the requirements outlined in 1-5 above. (effective 1/1/2000)

 

    • Therefore, in order to apprehend, detain, arrest or surrender any defendant, a person obtaining a bail license on or after January 1, 2000 must meet the qualifications outlined above.
    • However, if a person was a California Bail Licensee prior to January 1, 2000, s/he may apprehend, detain, arrest or surrender defendants who have been bailed out by the licensee him/herself or the licensee’s employer. If you are not an employee (but an independent contractor), you are then contracting out your services and must comply with the requirements outlined above.
    • After January 1, 2000, any bail licensee who apprehends, detains, arrests or surrenders defendants who have been bailed out by someone other than the licensee him/herself or the licensee’s employer must meet the qualifications outlined above. As a bail licensee who contracts services to another bail agent or surety, you must comply with the qualifications outlined above.
    • A bail licensee who does not apprehend, detain, arrest or surrender defendants is not required to meet the qualifications outlined above.
    • In addition, any bail licensee or bail fugitive recovery person operating in the State of California, must comply with all of the following general provisions:

Authority to Apprehend

    • Before apprehending a bail fugitive, an individual authorized by California Penal Code §1299 to apprehend a bail fugitive shall have in his or her possession proper documentation of authority to apprehend issued by the bail or depositor of bail as prescribed in California Penal Code §1300 and 1301.  The authority to apprehend document shall include all of the following information: the name of the individual  authorized by California Penal Code §1299 to apprehend a bail fugitive and any fictitious name, if applicable; the address of the principal office of the individual authorized by California Penal Code §1299 to apprehend a bail fugitive; and the name and principal business address of the bail  agency, surety company, or other party contracting with the individual authorized by California Penal Code §1299 to apprehend a bail fugitive.

Representation

    • An individual authorized by California Penal Code §1299 to apprehend a bail fugitive shall not represent himself or herself in any manner as being a sworn law enforcement officer.

 

    • An individual authorized by California Penal Code §1299 to apprehend a bail fugitive shall not wear any uniform that represents himself or herself as belonging to any part or department of a federal, state, or local government.  Any clothing shall not display the words United States, Bureau, Task Force, Federal, or other substantially similar words that a reasonable person may mistake for a government law enforcement agency.

 

    • An individual authorized by California Penal Code §1299 to apprehend a bail fugitive shall not wear or otherwise use a badge that represents himself or herself as belonging to any part of a law enforcement department of the federal, state, or local government. California Government Code §402 prohibits the use of the Great Seal of the State California for any commercial purpose.

 

    • An individual authorized by California Penal Code §1299 to apprehend a bail fugitive shall not use a fictitious name that represents himself or herself as belonging to any federal, state, or local law enforcement agency.

Notification:

    • Except under exigent circumstances, an individual authorized by California Penal Code §1299 to apprehend a bail fugitive shall, prior to and no more than six hours before attempting to apprehend the bail fugitive, notify the local police department or sheriff’s department of the intent to apprehend a bail fugitive in that jurisdiction by:
    • (1) Indicating the name of an individual authorized by California Penal Code §1299 to apprehend a bail fugitive entering the jurisdiction.
    • (2) Stating the approximate time an individual authorized by Section 1299.02 to apprehend a bail fugitive will be entering the jurisdiction and the approximate length of the stay.
    • (3) Stating the name and approximate location of the bail fugitive.
    • If an exigent circumstance does arise and prior notification is not given as provided in subdivision (a), an individual authorized by California Penal Code §1299 to apprehend a bail fugitive shall notify the local police department or sheriff’s department immediately after the apprehension, and upon request of the local jurisdiction, shall submit a detailed explanation of those exigent circumstances within three working days after the apprehension is made.

 

    • This section shall not preclude an individual authorized by California Penal Code §1299 to apprehend a bail fugitive from making or attempting to make a lawful arrest of a bail fugitive on bond pursuant to California Penal Code §1300 or 1301.  The fact that a bench warrant is not located or entered into a warrant depository or system shall not affect a lawful arrest of the bail fugitive.
    • For the purposes of this section, notice may be provided to a local law enforcement agency by telephone prior to the arrest or, after the arrest has taken place, if exigent circumstances exist.  In that case the name or operator number of the employee receiving the notice information shall be obtained and retained by the bail, depositor of bail, or bail fugitive recovery person.

Entering Premises

    • An individual authorized by California Penal Code §1299 to apprehend a bail fugitive shall not forcibly enter a premises except as provided for in Section 844. Nothing in subdivision (a) shall be deemed to authorize an individual authorized by California Penal Code §1299 to apprehend a bail fugitive, detain, or arrest any person except as otherwise authorized.

Firearms

    • An individual authorized by California Penal Code §1299 to apprehend a bail fugitive shall not carry a firearm or other weapon unless in compliance with the laws of the State of California.

Violations

    • Any person who violates this act, or who conspires with another person to violate this act, or who hires an individual to apprehend a bail fugitive, knowing that the individual is not authorized by California Penal Code §1299 to apprehend a bail fugitive, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of five thousand dollars ($5,000) or by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by both that imprisonment and fine.

Sunset

    • This article shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2010, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2010, deletes or extends that date.

NOTE:

  • Existing rights of current bail licensees to apprehend their own defendants and basic rights to surrender bail fugitives are not affected by this bill. A member of the Legislative Unit of the Attorney General’s Office, has said that all existing rights of current bail licensees to apprehend and surrender their own fugitives remains the same if this bill becomes law. Assembly member Wildman, the author of this bill, assured us there was never any intent to change the existing surrender powers of bail agents in statute or case law. Remember, when a bail arrest takes place, the arresting agent is not apprehending the defendant on the underlying case (domestic violence, theft, murder, rape, drunk driving, traffic tickets, etc.), but as a result of the defendant’s “escaping” the bail agent’s “custody.”Thus, all bail arrests are felony arrests under statute California Penal Code and case law United States Supreme Court ruling in Taylor v. Taintor, 83 U.S. 366 (1872), affirmed by People v. Walling [1962] in California.