In South Carolina, a bond hearing or bail hearing is one of the first things to occur when someone is arrested. After an accused is booked in jail for a criminal charge, a bond judge will listen to their case and decide whether it is appropriate to release the accused from custody. This also involves deciding under what conditions they can make bail. If you act early enough after an arrest a criminal defense attorney can help you through a bond hearing.
Do I Need a Bondsman to Release Someone from Jail in South Carolina?
That depends on whether the bond court judge issues a personal reconnaissance or a surety bond. In Greenville, South Carolina, a bond court judge may release a person from custody without posting a cash bond based on their "personal reconnaissance". A personal recognizance bond is commonly known as a "PR bond."
By contrast, a surety bond involves the accused person getting out of jail by paying a cash bond. For misdemeanor charges, a bond may be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a couple thousand. In felony cases, the bond is generally higher.
There are three primary ways to post a surety bond. First, the accused may hire a bondsman who will charge a non-refundable fee — typically 8% to 10% of the total surety bond ordered by the judge in exchange for posting the bond for you. Second, the accused individual to the criminal court as collateral.
Sometimes, at the court's discretion, the accused party can post only a certain percentage of the total bond to the court. Finally, besides posting money or using the services of a bail bondsman, sometimes you can pledge collateral, such as land or home within the county where the reviewing court is located, to meet the stipulated amount of the bond. The collateral has to be at least equal to if not more than the amount of the bond.
How Long Does It Take for The Court To Set Your Bond Hearing After You're Arrested?
In South Carolina, you can expect to have your bond hearing within 24 hours after the arrest of the accused party. However, sometimes, it can take longer. For instance, if you're charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may not get your hearing within 24 hours because you may be too impaired. You may also have to wait if you’re hospitalized at the time of arrest and aren’t released for 24 hours.
Sometimes, even if everything else is normal, the police officer simply doesn't complete and turn in the paperwork for the preliminary hearing in a timely manner. If you are held for a day or two longer than usual, there’s no good remedy or restitution for this.
Fortunately, this isn’t usually an issue in most of the cases our legal team has handled, even if some cases do go past the 24-hour mark. In any case, it's crucial for an accused's criminal defense attorney to contact the bond court and the police department to find out the exact time and date the bond hearing will be scheduled.
If you’ve been arrested and are awaiting a bond hearing, you don't have much time to hire a qualified attorney, so it's best to act as fast as possible. Call our criminal defense law firm today at 864-618-2323 if you have a bond hearing coming up. Even if it’s past the bail hearing, we'll still guide you or the accused in preparing a solid defense strategy.
In severe cases that are punishable by life imprisonment or death, a circuit judge normally sets the bond. Rather than the typical 24 hours, this process can take as long as a few weeks.
If your criminal charge is burglary in the 1st degree, the regular bond judge will be able to hear your case, unless the prosecutor objects, which they usually do. If this happens, burglary in the 1st-degree cases can also be heard by a circuit judge.
If you're already out on bond from a previous violent offense, and you are charged with another "violent crime," as defined in Section 16-1-60 of South Carolina's Code of Laws, then a circuit judge has to hear your case. This can take up to 30 days.
Besides Setting Bail, What Else Does the Bond Judge Do?
In South Carolina, there are other conditions the bond court judge can place besides posting bail. In cases where there is a victim, the bond court judge can and likely will order that the accused abstain from having direct or indirect contact with the victim.
This point is generally strongly emphasized. The judge may also require the defendant to avoid going to certain locations, which can be enforced by making the defendant wear an ankle monitor, placing them on house arrest, or both.
It is very likely that the bail bond will also prohibit the defendant from leaving South Carolina without first obtaining written permission from the judge or prosecutor. These are just some of the things that can be ordered as a condition of bail, but there are many other possible conditions the bond hearing judge can order as well.
It's essential that these things are addressed at the bail hearing so the accused can become aware of the extra conditions and avoid violating them.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Bond Hearing?
If you or a family member have been charged with a criminal charge in Greenville County or in the upstate area including, but not limited to, Hampton County, Pickens County, Anderson County, and Spartanburg County, don't wait to contact an experienced attorney to represent you at a bail hearing.
Even if your bond is already set by a bond hearing judge, a qualified attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor's office or take the matter to a judge at a further hearing to reduce the bail set by the judge to an attainable yet reasonable PR Bond or Surety Bond.
Let the criminal defense attorneys at TF Law be the right attorneys for you. We have decades of combined experience in criminal law and we're ready to serve you.
If you have any questions or concerns, please fill out the contact form on our website or call our law offices today at 864-618-2323 to schedule a no-cost initial consultation with our experienced Greenville criminal defense lawyers.