Fugitive Recovery Network

Iowa Laws Regarding Bail Bonds & Bounty Hunters

Below is basic information on bail bond laws for Iowa concerning Bail Enforcement, Bounty Hunters, Fugitive Apprehension and Bail Bondsman. This is not legal advice. Laws change frequently, please check the links provided for possible updates and current information.


  1. Iowa bail bond law state statutes:
    • Iowa Code Annotated Title Iii. Public Services And Regulation Subtitle 1. Public Safety Chapter 80a. Private Investigative Agencies And Security Agents 80A.1 – .16A
    • Iowa Code Annotated Title Xvi. Criminal Law And Procedure Subtitle 2. Criminal Procedure Chapter 811. Pretrial Release—bail 811.3, .6 – .9
  2. Iowa licensing requirements for Bail agents:
    Iowa has numerous provisions regulating the licensing of the bail enforcement business and bail enforcement agents.

    • Iowa Code Annotated Title Iii. Public Services And Regulation Subtitle 1. Public Safety Chapter 80a. Private Investigative Agencies And Security Agents 80A.3. Requires a bail enforcement business to obtain the same license as that for a private detective. The license must be renewed every two years.
    • 80A.4. Sets forth the license requirements. Applications for a license or license renewal must be submitted to the commissioner and no license shall not be issued unless the applicant:
      • Is at least eighteen years old.
      • Is not a peace officer.
      • Has never been convicted of a felony or aggravated misdemeanor.
      • Is not addicted to the use of alcohol or a controlled substance.
      • Does not have a history of repeated acts of violence.
      • Is of good moral character and has not been judged guilty of a crime involving moral turpitude.
      • Has not been convicted of a crime described in sections 708.3, 708.4, 708.5, 708.6, 708.8, or 708.9.
      • Has not been convicted of illegally using, carrying or possessing a dangerous weapon.
      • Has not been convicted of fraud.
      • Complies with other qualifications and requirements the commissioner adopts by rule.
      • If the applicant is a corporation, these requirements apply to the president and to each officer, commissioner or employee who is actively involved in the licensed business in Iowa. If the applicant is a partnership or association, the apply to each partner or association member.
      • Each employee of an applicant or licensee shall possess the same qualifications required by this section for a licensee.
    • 80A.5. Requires a licensee fee to be deposited with each application – to be applied if the application is granted and refunded if the application is denied.

      The fee for a two-year license for a bail enforcement business is one hundred dollars.

    • 80A.10. Requires each license applicant to submit bond before receiving a license. The applicant must file a surety bond with the department with the Department of Public Safety, in a minimum amount as follows:
      • Five thousand dollars in the case of an agency licensed to conduct only a bail enforcement business, private security business, or a private investigation business.
      • Ten thousand dollars in the case of an agency licensed to conduct more than one type of business licensed under this chapter.
      • The bond shall be issued by a surety company authorized to do business in this state and shall be conditioned on the faithful, lawful, and honest conduct of the applicant and those employed by the applicant in carrying on the business licensed.
      • The bond provides that a person injured by a breach of the conditions of the bond may bring an action on the bond to recover legal damages suffered by reason of the breach. However, the aggregate liability of the surety for all damages shall not exceed the amount of the bond.
      • Bonds issued and filed with the department shall remain in force and effect until the surety has terminated future liability by a written thirty days’ notice to the department.
    • 80A.10A. Requires each potential licensee to submit proof of financial responsibility, notwithstanding the minimum bond amount that must be filed in accordance with section 80A.10.

      A license shall not be issued unless the applicant furnishes proof acceptable to the commissioner of the applicant’s ability to pay for damages resulting from accidents or wrongdoing arising out of the ownership and operation of a bail enforcement business.

    • Iowa Code Annotated Title Xv. Judicial Branch And Judicial Procedures Subtitle 4.Probate—fiduciaries Chapter 636. Sureties–fiduciaries–trusts—investments Surety Companies 636.11.

      An agent for a company authorized to engage in the business of becoming surety upon bonds must be a resident of this state for the purpose of acting on behalf of the surety company with respect to any bond or bail in criminal cases.

  3. Iowa bail agent’s arrest authority.
      Iowa Code Annotated Title Xvi. Criminal Law And Proceduresubtitle 2. Criminal Procedure Chapter 811. Pretrial Release—bail 811.8.Establishes a bail agent’s arrest authority.

      • For the purpose of surrendering the defendant, the surety may at any time arrest the defendant, or, by written authority endorsed on a certified copy, empower a person (subject to meeting the criteria outlined in #2, licensing requirements) of suitable age and discretion to do so.
      • In making an arrest, the surety or any person empowered by the surety shall possess no more authority than a peace officer would possess in making a lawful arrest.
  4. Iowa bounty hunter (fugitive apprehension) provisions:
      Bounty Hunters are called “Bail Enforcement Agents” in Iowa’s statutes. Rules governing BEAs are primarily given above under Licensing Requirements for Agents. Separate regulations for “Bounty Hunters” do not exist.
  5. Links to State and Local Authorities:

Please check with the Iowa’s Department of Insurance, Licensing Board and/or Local Law Enforcement for the most recent updates. If you know of any updates to Iowa’s bail bond laws, please provide as much detail as possible and send to us using our contact form.