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What authority do bail bondsmen have?

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Donald Ray Adams Donald Ray Adams

An out of state bondsman is booked into the Potter County jail on assault charges.

Amarillo police say over the weekend, 33 year-old Donald Ray Adams of Kismet, Kansas fired a taser and pepper spray at a man, then handcuffed and attempted to place leg restraints on him.

The assault victim was not who Adams was searching for, and we're told officers could not locate any outstanding warrants on the man he was seeking.

Adams indicated he had authority to take the man into custody.

But, what can these bounty hunters can legally do.

There are laws for bondsmen and bounty hunters. In fact in the state of Texas, only a private investigator can act on behalf of a bail bonding company. Private investigators doing so in Texas must be licensed in this state.

Unlike what happened in this week's incident, there is no law that states a personal investigator has authority beyond any other citizen's to use force, such as using a taser or pepper spray. Texas Occupations Code states they cannot enter a residence without consent, execute the warrant without written consent from the bond company, wear anything stating they are police, and cannot use deadly force.

"I think there are probably some public perceptions or ideas that we have people like Dog The Bounty Hunter that are out here kicking down doors and doing things like that, but I've just not seen it here and I certainly don't know of any law that gives them permission to do anything like that," Sgt. Brent Barbee, Amarillo Police Department says.

Sgt. Barbee says in his 33 years with APD he has only seen something like this twice.

Police officials do not act upon these issues without a judge signed warrant.

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