Can a Bounty Hunter Apprehend Fugitives from another state in Maine?

So, imagine this scenario: a defendant in a criminal case in another state jumps bail. He makes his way to the state of Maine. The defendant’s bail bondsman from that other state sends a bail recovery agent to recover the fugitive from Maine, and to bring that person back to the court. But Maine has no laws regulating bounty hunters or fugitive recovery agents. Can he legally enter Maine on the strength of his license from another state and be legally able to perform his job as a bounty hunter in Maine?

The difficulty is that the silence of Maine law regarding bail recovery agents can be interpreted in two ways: one, that because it is not expressly illegal, bounty hunting may be implied to be allowed within the state of Maine. Or, because the law is silent, it means that the license and authority of bail recovery agents are not recognized as valid by Maine law enforcement authorities. We cannot know which way to interpret this silence in the law until and unless the matter is brought before a court and some precedence is created.

All that said, it can also be argued that the actions taken by a bail recovery agent are not necessarily illegal in Maine. Even in Maine, there are provisions made for citizen arrests, which is essentially what a bail recovery agent is – a private citizen tasked with apprehending a fugitive.

The next question that may be asked is whether this falls under a valid warrantless arrest. The simple answer is yes. Even if an active crime is not being committed right in front of you, a private citizen who is aware that an individual is a fugitive may also perform a citizen’s arrest. Essentially, simply by being out and free when he should have been in jail, or when a warrant is out for his arrest, all of which the bounty hunter knows of, empowers him to make a citizen’s arrest.

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