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South Carolina Law: 4 Types of Bail Bonds

Are you an aspiring bondsman who wants to learn about various types of bail? If so, the main types of bail bonds in South Carolina include cash bonds, cash-percentage bonds, personal recognizance bonds, and property bonds.

As a bond agent, you can post cash bonds on behalf of the defendant. The other bond categories don’t involve bond professionals, but they still need to be on your radar.

This article will highlight court bond types in greater detail. Let’s explore.

Cash Bond

A cash bond is a full bond amount paid to the court. The defendant can pay the bond, including friends or family members. The court will place the money in a trust account and retain it throughout the trial process.

Defendants can use third parties to pay the bond. However, they must ensure their name is on the receipt. The court will only return the money to the name on the receipt.

The court will return the bond when the case concludes. If the defense is found not guilty, the court will return the money without delay.

However, the court can keep the money if they’re found guilty. Moreover, the court will also keep the money for failing to appear in court. Additionally, the judge will issue an arrest warrant.

The court could also use the bond money to pay off outstanding fees. When the defendant pays all debts, the court will return the remaining balance.

Overall, a cash bond is applicable if the judge considers offenders somewhat of a flight risk. A full payment upfront gives additional assurance to the court.

A full cash bond is also appropriate if the defendant failed to pay previous fines, or if the defendant failed to appear in court previously.

Surety Bond

Under a surety, a bond company posts the bond on the defendant’s behalf.

The arrangement consists of three parties. The bail bondsmen (surety) guarantees the action of the defense (principal) to the court (obligee).

This option is for defendants who don’t have the resources to pay for the bond. For this reason, bail agents are also called sureties. Your job is to ensure that the defendant adheres to the bond terms and shows up for court hearings.

If the defendants fail to appear or violate the bond terms, the bondsman must pay the bond.

Due to increased competition among bondsmen, many are offering the standard 10% rate. South Carolina places a 15% cap overall. The rate also depends on the bond agency.

A person will call and ask you how much you charge for your services. When a client calls you, ask about the following:

  • Criminal history
  • Personal background
  • Miscellaneous questions that assess their flight risk level

From there, you’ll give the client a quote based on their answers. In certain cases, the potential client may wish to negotiate a lower bond percentage.

Personal Recognizance Bond

This form of bond applies if the court determines the defense isn’t a public threat. This form of bail is appropriate for people charged with minor offenses. If they receive a PR bond, they don’t need money to free themselves.

However, they must agree to appear in court. In general, South Carolina defendants charged with non-capital crimes should have access to the PR option. This rule applies to the following types of courts:

  • General sessions
  • Magistrate
  • County

However, state law allows exceptions if the defendant is a flight risk or poses a danger to the community. In extreme cases, a judge can deny bail outright.

They could deprive bail in cases where the punishment entails a death or life sentence. If the court refuses bail, the defendant must remain in jail until the trial date.

Property Bond

This form of bond allows someone to pledge collateral to satisfy the bond amount. It’s an option for people who don’t have enough cash to post bond. If they have valuable assets, however, the court will accept the valuables as collateral.

The collateral can be a home, car, or any other property type. With that, defendants must meet two main standards in South Carolina:

  1. The assets must be located in South Carolina
  2. All asset owners must agree to the transaction

Additionally, this option comes with extensive paperwork. If the collateral is real estate, for example, the defendant must complete a “Certificate of Value for Real Estate for Bond.” An attorney can complete the document and conduct a title search to determine the property value.

Then, the defendant will file a “Notice of Pledge of Real Estate” with the court, and additional documentation may be necessary. Finally, they will complete the “Release of Pledge of Real Estate” during the last deposition.

If deemed valuable, the court will accept the collateral instead of cash. The assets must be equal to or greater than the bond amount. If the defendant fails to appear or violates the terms, the court can seize the assets.

What Are the Best Types of Bail Bonds for Defendants?

The best types of bail bonds depend on the defendant’s situation. If someone doesn’t have enough funds, you can step in as a bond agent and post the money for them.

If the court thinks defendants are less of a flight risk, the judge will allow them to post a small percentage of the bond amount. Conversely, they may have to pay the full bond amount if the court considers them a flight risk.

Want to know more about court bonds? Click here to learn about the bond system in South Carolina.