Bail – Bond Hearings

If you have been arrested in South Carolina, you should be given a bond hearing in front of a magistrate or municipal judge within 48 hours.

However, except for Burglary First Degree, if the offense is punishable by life in prison (or death), your bond hearing must be held in General Sessions Court in front of a circuit court judge – it will take much longer before you get a bond hearing, especially if you do not have a defense attorney yet.  

If you are aware that you are under investigation and contact a criminal defense lawyer before the warrant is served, it is possible to arrange for you to turn yourself in at a particular time and/or place in order to minimize your time in jail.

How Do I Get a Bond Reduction in SC?

If the bond that is set is unreasonable or if you cannot afford the bond amount, your lawyer may be able to petition the court for a bond reduction.

The factors that the court considers in setting bond include:

  • What you are charged with and the circumstances of your arrest;
  • Your employment;
  • Family ties and connections with the community;
  • Whether you are a flight risk; and
  • Whether you are a danger to the community if released.

Your attorney is permitted to present evidence to the court to demonstrate why you should be released pending the trial of your case. If there is an alleged victim in your case, the court is required to provide them notice of the hearing and allow them the opportunity to speak as well.

What is a Personal Recognizance or PR Bond in SC?

Depending on the circumstances of your case, the nature of the charge, and the evidence presented to the judge at your bond hearing, you may be released on a personal recognizance bond (PR bond), your bond may be set at an amount that the judge deems sufficient to ensure your appearance in court, or bond may be denied in extreme cases. The court may also place conditions on your bond, such as GPS monitoring by an ankle bracelet.

A PR bond means that you do not have to pay money to the clerk or to a bondsman. The court sets an amount of bond that you will be required to pay if you do not appear in court, but you will not have to pay any part of it before you are released from jail.

What Other Kinds of Bond are There in SC?

The types of bond that a judge may order in SC include:

  • Personal recognizance (PR) bond;
  • Cash only bond – you pay the full amount to the clerk of court and it will be returned at the end of your case;
  • 10% bond – you pay 10% of the full amount to the clerk of court and it will be returned at the end of your case;
  • Surety bond – your bond must be secured by a bondsman before you can be released.
How Much Does a Bail Bondsman Cost in SC?

If your bond is secured by cash through the clerk of court, the money paid will be returned once your case is over.

On the other hand, if a bail bondsman is used, the bondsman will keep their fee - it is generally non-refundable. Although the bondsman’s fee is usually 10% of the total amount of bond, it can vary depending on the bondsman and your situation. Bondsmen may have additional requirements as well, such as placing additional money in escrow or requiring that you provide them with a deed to real estate for security.

Criminal Defense Attorney in Myrtle Beach, Columbia, and Lexington, SC

If you or a loved one is in jail, it is important that you retain a trained advocate who understands the system and can help to secure that person's release. When a person is being held in jail, our first goal is to secure their release if possible.

Call the Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm today at 843-444-6122 or contact us online if you or someone you know is in jail, to find out how we can help.