As criminal defense lawyers, there are questions concerning criminal court and bonds that arise again and again. Here are the most frequently asked questions concerning types of bonds.
How do I post bond?
At the hearing a judge sets the amount and conditions of a bond. Magistrate or Municipal judges conduct most bond hearings. Circuit Court judges must set bond on charges where the penalty is life imprisonment or death. Depending on the nature of the charges, several methods of posting bond are available in South Carolina. Generally, a defendant’s family, his criminal defense lawyer, or bonding company deposits bail with the Clerk of Court. The Clerk then provides a release letter. The family, criminal defense lawyer or bonding company takes the letter to the detention center to begin processing the defendant’s release. For detailed information on bail proceedings, contact a criminal defense lawyer.
What is a Personal Recognizance Bond?
When released on a personal recognizance bond, a defendant gives the court his word that he will show up to future court dates. The defendant also acknowledges a debt to the court equal to the total amount of the bond. If the defendant breaks the conditions of his bond, he owes this debt to the court, and the judge may return him to jail. In normal circumstances, courts release defendants on personal recognizance bonds before trial. However, if the bonding court determines that the defendant might skip court appearances or cause
an unreasonable danger to the community, it will not release the defendant on a personal recognizance bond. Judges have a choice in making this determination.
If the judge determines that the defendant is likely to skip court appearances or pose an unreasonable danger to the community, the judge may place conditions on the defendant’s release and/or require a cash bond. Typical conditions include limiting who the defendant can associate with, where the defendant can travel, and
where the defendant can live.
Where do I pay?
The Clerk of Court accepts bond payments. The Clerk holds the payment until the case reaches a final disposition by guilty plea, dismissal, or trial. The Clerk of Court then releases the payment to the defendant or his surety.
What is a “cash percentage in lieu of bond”?
Cash percentage in lieu of bond is an alternative to hiring a private bail bondsman. When released with cash percentage in lieu of bond, the defendant pays no more than 10% of the overall bond in order to secure his release. If the defendant violates the conditions of his release, he owes the full amount to the court.
What is “cash in lieu of bond”?
When released on cash in lieu of bond, the defendant pays the entire amount of his bond to the court. If the defendant violates the conditions of his release, he may forfeit the entire amount.
What is a Surety Bond?
A surety is someone who guarantees the court that a defendant will appear at court and obey bond conditions. Bail bondsmen are the most common sureties. Bail bondsmen are licensed by the state and have standing lines of credit with the courts. They charge fees for their services, generally requiring an initial payment totaling 10-15%
of the overall bond amount. Family members or other individuals also act as sureties. An individual can secure the release of a defendant by depositing the entire amount of the bond with the court or by pledging property to
the court as collateral. If the defendant violates the terms of his release, the surety may lose the bond amount or property.
How do I post a property bond?
A property bond is a claim held by the court against the property of a surety. If the defendant breaks the conditions of his bond, the surety may lose the property. Acceptable properties include homes and land, but not mobile homes.
To secure a property bond, you must do the following:
1) Have your criminal defense lawyer, apply to the clerk of court using the “Application for Pledge of
Real Estate for Surety Bond”;
2) Your criminal defense lawyer may have a real estate lawyer complete a “Certificate of Value of Real Estate for
Bond”. In order to complete this form, the real estate lawyer will perform a
title search on your property; and
3) File Notice of Pledge of Real Estate and other documentation
NOTE: Each county may have slightly different procedures and
requirements. This is why it is to your advantage to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer working for you.
How do I get the bond amount modified?
A General Sessions judge can modify a bond set by a Magistrate or Municipal Court judge. Modifications go both ways, judges can increase or decrease the bond amount. To get a bond modification, file a Motion to Reconsider Bond with the Clerk of Court.