In South Carolina, the judicial system is designed to ensure that individuals who have been accused but not yet convicted of a crime are not unnecessarily detained. This is achieved through a system known as bail, which is intended to guarantee that defendants will return for their court dates.
Understanding Bail Bonds
A bail bond, often simply referred to as bail, is a financial guarantee that an accused person provides to the court. It’s a pledge that the defendant will return to court for all necessary hearings and trial dates. If the defendant fails to appear, they may forfeit the amount of the bail.
In South Carolina, within 48 hours of an arrest, the accused is brought before a magistrate. The magistrate then sets the bail amount and any additional conditions for release.
Bail Types in South Carolina
In the state of South Carolina, a variety of bail types are available to ensure a defendant’s release from custody. Each bail type is subject to its own set of regulations and rules, as dictated by the state’s legal statutes.
Written Promise to Appear
In cases involving minor offenses, a defendant may secure their release from jail by simply providing a written promise to attend all subsequent court hearings. This method is typically employed when the defendant is deemed unlikely to flee and has significant community ties. The governing statute for this bail type is found in Chapter 15A of the Constitution of South Carolina.
An unsecured bond represents another form of bail in South Carolina. Here, the magistrate determines the bond amount, but the defendant isn’t required to pay it for release from jail. However, should the defendant fail to appear at a court hearing, a monetary judgment equivalent to the bond amount would be levied against them. The statutes governing this bond type are identical to those for the written promise to appear.
Secured bonds are the most prevalent type of bail in South Carolina. To be released on a secured bond, the defendant or a bail bondsman must pay the bail amount in cash, through a bonding company, or by using collateral such as real estate. If the defendant fails to appear at court hearings, they risk forfeiting their cash or collateral.
Finally, there’s the cash bond. If a magistrate sets a cash bond, the defendant must pay the entire bond amount in cash for release from jail. This bond type is generally used in cases involving serious offenses or where there’s a high risk of flight.
Consequences of Violating Bail Terms
Violating the terms of your bail can have serious consequences. If you fail to appear at a court hearing or violate another condition of your release, your bail could be revoked and you could be arrested again. Once back in custody, you may have to remain in jail until your trial or meet more stringent requirements for release.
Modifying Bail Amounts
After your initial bail has been set by a magistrate, you have the right to request a modification of your bail amount. This request is made through a motion to modify bond and is heard by a judge rather than a magistrate. It’s recommended that you have a criminal defense attorney file this motion on your behalf and represent you at the hearing.
Call a Greenville Criminal Defense Lawyer Today!
If you are arrested and facing a subsequent bail hearing, a Greenville criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights. Contact Baldwin Law at 864-630-8503 to schedule a free case review today!