When a bail bond company posts a bail bond for somebody who is in jail, or to quash a warrant for a person wanted by the law, that bail bond represents a promise to the court that the principal, or defendant, will appear at all scheduled hearings until the case is settled. If the defendant fails to appear, the judge may “Forfeit” the bail bond, at which time the bail bond company must either return the defendant to jail, post another bail bond to quash the warrant (if the judge gives that as an option), or pay the face amount of the bail bond. In some cases, the only option is to return the defendant back to jail. In that event, the bail bond company may hire a Bounty Hunter aka Fugitive Recovery Agent.

In most cases, bounty hunters are well trained in finding people that are trying not to be found. They typically are subscribers to on-line services that cater to the fugitive recovery industry, are well connected to law enforcement, and are privy to personal information about the person they are seeking. Their job is to locate the defendant and deliver him\her back to jail, and they are paid a fee for doing so. Those fees are then passed on to the cosigner on the bail bond.