Why Have an Attorney at a Bond Hearing?
An attorney can emphasize the reasons the court should grant a low bond or even set a “pr bond,” one that secures the person’s release on his own word. Having a lawyer shows the court that the person/client intends to appear as ordered. Who would hire a lawyer if they intended to flee the jurisdiction? Having a lawyer shows the court that the person/client intends to deal with the charges. It shows that they are less of a flight risk. An experienced, prepared attorney can present to the court information to show the client would not create a danger to the community. A lower bond saves money. The attorney’s help at a bond hearing often can mean a lower bond, and pay for itself.
Three Types of Bonds
1. Personal Recognizance Bond: a “PR” bond – a defendant is released, but must agree to forfeit a certain amount of money if he or she fails to appear for court; however, the defendant need not post bond to be released.
2. Surety Bond: if the bonding judge makes a finding that PR bond would not reasonably ensure a defendant’s appearance, or the release of the defendant would cause an unreasonable danger to the community, the defendant still has a constitutional right to bail. However, the judge may impose any one of more of the conditions listed in Section: §17-15-10:
A. Require a professional bondsman;
B. Require a designated person or facility (such as a treatment center) to agree to supervise the defendant;
C. Place restrictions on the travel, association, or residence of the accused while the charges remain pending; and
D. Impose any other condition deemed reasonably necessary to assure appearance, including a condition that the person return to custody after specified hours.
3. Posting Real Estate, Cash Bond: the defendant may come up with one of several kinds of security which the judge must accept. The defendant may post security, or he may find friends or relatives who can act as surety for him.
A magistrate or municipal judge may accept a real property interest as security for a bail bond. In general, the real estate/property must be within the county where the criminal charges have been brought. The defendant may sometimes be permitted to deposit cash or to post a percentage of the amount of the bond, rather than the entire amount. This is desirable because when the charges are resolved the bond amount is refunded. This is not so when the court requires a professional bondsman. The bondsman keeps that money as their fee.
Fourteen Things to Know About Bond Hearings in South Carolina
1. Bond hearings are conducted by a Magistrate or Municipal Judge, who sets the bail, usually at the jail or detention center.
2. At the Bond Hearing, the judge not only sets the bail or bond, but also sets the date the defendant must appear in court.
3. A Magistrate judge must not set bond if the defendant is charged with an offense that is punishable by life in prison or death. Then the bond hearing must be held in General sessions Court before a Circuit Court Judge. See, §22-5-510(A) S.C. Code of Laws of 1976, as amended.
4. A person may not be denied a bond by the Municipal or Magistrate Court unless:
A. The crime charged is a violent crime, as defined in Section 16-1-60 of the South Caroline Code of Laws of 1976, as amended, and
B. Then only if the judge makes findings that “give due weight or the evidence and to the nature and circumstances of the event.”
5. Victims do not have the unconditional right to attend a bond hearing. Law Enforcement Agencies must make REASONABLE efforts to notify a victim (alleged victim) as to the date and time of the hearing. Alleged victims do have the right to speak to the court about the bond if they attend the hearing. However, a victim or alleged victim can not keep the accused in jail by being unavailable for contact.
6. The Bond Court Judge can impose additional restrictions or requirements on a defendant, and can make those a condition of the defendant’s bond. Later, if someone contends a defendant has violated one of the terms of the bond, the defendant may face a Bond Revocation Hearing.
7. Bond Hearings must be held twice a day, in the morning and the evening, at specific times, usually at the county detention center.
8. South Carolina law provides that “[a] person charged with a bailable offense must have a bond hearing within twenty-four hours of his arrest and must be released within a reasonable time, not to exceed four hours, after the bond is delivered to the incarcerating facility.” S.C. Code § 22-5-510(B).
9. However, there is an exception if a law enforcement agency can present “compelling written evidence to the bonding magistrate or municipal judge as to why an individual should not be released within twenty-four hours.” See, Order of the Chief Justice dated September 19, 2007.
10. The same Order requires all bond hearing be open to the public.
11. Violations of the Chief Justice’s Order must be reported “immediately to the Office of Court Administration.” See, Order of the Chief Justice dated September 19, 2007.
12. Another exception is when the bond hearing involves a person charged with Criminal Domestic Violence (CDV), Section 16-25-20 or Criminal Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature (CDV-HAN), Section 16-25-65.
In these cases, Bond Hearings are conducted a bit differently, and the law has recently changed to require the Bond Judge, “when considering the release of a person on bond who is charged with a violent offense as defined in SS16-1-60, and the person is a household member as defined in SS16-25-10, and the person: (1) is subject to the terms of a valid Order of Protection or Restraining Order of this State or another state; or (2) has a previous conviction involving the violation of a valid Order of Protection or Restraining Order of this State or another state, § 16-25-120 requires that the court consider the following factors for release of that person on bond: (1) whether the person has a history of criminal domestic violence or a history of other violent offenses; (2) the mental health of the person; (3) whether the person has a history of violating Orders of a court or other governmental agency; and (4) whether the person poses a potential threat to another person. Additionally, when considering the release of a person on bond under this section, the court must consider whether to issue a Restraining Order or Order of Protection against the person, using the criteria described above. If the court determines that such an Order is appropriate, it should issue the Order or forward the matter to the appropriate court.
13. Some people may be detained before a bond is set by as many as twelve days. In the cases of bonding individuals charged with harassment or stalking, a magistrate or municipal judge may order a defendant to undergo a mental health evaluation, performed by the mental health department, to determine if the defendant needs mental health treatment or counseling as a condition of bond. The evaluation must be scheduled within ten days of the Order of issuance. Upon completion of the evaluation, the examiner must report his findings, within forty-eight hours, to the local solicitor’s office or summary court judge, for consideration by the bonding judge.” South Carolina Bench Book for Summary Court Judges, Criminal Section E. 4.
14. If the bond court judge requires the defendant (or his or her family) to post some sort of payment, that payment could be a cash bond posted with the Clerk of Court which you can get back when the case is resolved, that is, posting ten percent of the bond amount in cash and being on the hook for the other ninety percent should the defendant fail to appear for court or a surety bond. A surety bond requires the defendant to pay a professional bonding company and that is generally non-refundable and the bonding company can and does add additional requirements, such as reporting to them weekly, having a co-signer, etc. Finally, if the defendant has land in the county where he or she is being held in jail, that property can secure their release.
Michael D. McMullen has appeared at hundreds of Bond hearings and knows how best to present his client’s position to the Judge setting bond. He is sincere and gives the judge reasons to grant the bond he is requesting. Following the hearing, he knows how to get these things done, and can get the defendant released as soon as possible.
If you need an attorney for a bond hearing, call Michael immediately and he will go to work to get you or your loved one a reasonable bond and released from jail as soon as possible.
Where Will the Bond Hearing be Held?
Arrests made in Richland County and the City of Columbia, bond hearings are typically held at:
- The Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center: 201 John Mark Dial Drive, Columbia, SC 29209. Telephone (803) 576-3281.
Arrests made in Lexington County, bond hearings are usually conducted at:
- The Lexington County Detention Center, 521 Gibson Road, Lexington, SC 29072. Telephone (803) 785-2473.
Arrests made in Kershaw County, and the city of Camden, bond hearings are usually held at:
- The Kershaw Detention Center, 101 Bramblewood Plantation Rd, Camden, SC 29020. Telephone (803) 425-1516.
Sometimes the accused is unable to afford to post bond. He or she may be forced to sit in jail until the case goes to court. This can take a long time.
It may be possible to find a way to change the amount of the bond by requesting a bond modificiation hearing.
For more information, contact Michael for a Free Consultation.