Bail – Bond Hearings
Once an arrest has been made you will be given a bond hearing in front of a magistrate or municipal judge within 48 hours. However, with the exception of Burglary First Degree, if the offense is punishable by life in prison, your bond hearing must be held in General Sessions Court in front of a circuit court judge. If you are aware that you are under investigation and contact a 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.
Under certain circumstances, if the bond that is set is unreasonable or if you cannot afford the bond amount, your lawyer can petition the court for a bond reduction. The factors that the court considers in setting bond include 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.
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 place conditions on your bond, such as electronic monitoring by an ankle bracelet.
Bond may be a cash only bond that is payable to the clerk of court, it may be a 10% bond that is payable to the clerk of court, or it may be a surety bond. A surety bond must be secured by property or by a bondsman. If bond is secured by cash through the clerk of court, the money paid will be returned once the case has been disposed of; however, if a bail bondsman is used the bondsman will keep the fee that was paid to him - it is generally non-refundable. 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.
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 primary goal is to secure their release if possible. Call our Myrtle Beach office at 843-444-6122 or contact us online if you or someone you know is in jail, to find out how we can help.