CHAPTER 194

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 176

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NOS. 1 AND 2 AND

SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 2

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 24 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO BOUNTY HUNTERS AND BAIL ENFORCEMENT AGENTS.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Three-fifths of all members elected to each house thereof concurring therein):

Amend Title 24 of the Delaware Code by adding a new chapter as follows:

"Chapter 54. Bounty Hunters/Bail Enforcement Agents.

§ 5401. Purpose.

The Delaware General Assembly declares that it is in the best interest of the citizens of Delaware to require licensure of bail enforcement agents and their agents and employees to prevent unqualified individuals from endangering the public. Therefore, the purpose of this chapter is to promote, preserve and protect the public health, safety and welfare by regulating fugitive recovery. This chapter shall be liberally construed to accomplish this purpose.

§ 5402. Definitions.

(a) "Bounty hunter" or "bail enforcement agent" as used within this chapter shall mean any person or cooperative of persons, resident or nonresident, whose services or actions are performed for the purpose of capturing a fugitive, and including, but not limited to, any person who engages in the apprehension and return of persons who are released on bail and who have failed to appear at any stage of the proceedings to answer the charge before any state or federal court.

§ 5403. Prohibited conduct.

No person, other than a law enforcement officer as defined by §222(13) of Title 11 or an employee of any state court acting at the direction of any judge, commissioner or master of any state court, shall apprehend, detain, or arrest a suspected fugitive on behalf of another person, including a principal on a bond, wherever issued, unless that person is licensed by the Secretary of the Department of Public Safety.

§ 5404. Licensing.

(a) The Secretary of the Department of Public Safety is hereby authorized and directed to promulgate regulations in accordance with Chapter 101 of Title 29 as are necessary to implement the provisions of this chapter regarding the licensure and registration of bounty hunters and bail enforcement agents, which may include the term of a license or registration, reciprocity and the qualifications of a licensee, and may charge a fee not to exceed $500 for each application for licensure and each renewal of an existing license.

(b) The Department of Public Safety shall, by its rules and regulations, determine all fees to be assessed under this chapter, including application and renewal fees not to exceed the maximum fee permitted in subsection (a) hereof. Each fee collected shall be deposited into the Bail Enforcement Regulatory Fund, which fund shall be a revolving fund and monies into the fund shall not revert to the State General Fund. The Department shall use the fund to defray all expenses incurred in its administration of this chapter, including, but not limited to, background investigations, criminal history investigations, and fingerprinting of an applicant and any investigation of any charge made against a licensee.

(c) No person shall be issued a license pursuant to this chapter unless that person submits their name, social security number, age, race, sex, date of birth, height, weight, hair and eye color, address of legal residence and such other information as may be necessary to obtain a report of the applicant's entire criminal history record from the State Bureau of Identification and a report of the applicants entire federal criminal history record pursuant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation appropriation of Title 11 of Public Law 92-544.

§ 5405. Penalties.

Any person who violates this chapter shall be guilty of a Class F felony."

Section 2. This Act shall become effective six months after enactment.

Approved July 19, 2001