Your Questions Answered About Bond Hearings in South Carolina
1. What is the purpose of a bond hearing?
A bond judge will hear some facts of the case and then decide whether he/she will let the charged person out of jail.
2. How long does it take after someone is arrested to get a bond hearing?
A person charged as an adult (not a juvenile) is entitled to a bond hearing within 48 hours of their arrest. Some exceptions do apply for particular criminal charges. There are some crimes that can only be set by a Circuit Court Judge.
3. Can I talk to my loved one that is incarcerated before the bond hearing?
Likely not, unless they are allowed to contact you over the phone. Even then the phone messages are likely recorded. However, an attorney may be able to visit the incarcerated person in jail prior to the bond hearing.
If appropriate, the judge will set a bond amount that will allow the Defendant to pay a certain amount of money to insure he/she will show up for future court appearances. If the Judge orders a Personal Recognance Bond, you will not have to put up any money.
4. Can Bond be denied?
Yes. The Judge can deny bond on certain crimes.
5. How can I find out when, where and what time the bond hearing will be?
To find out when the bond hearing will be held, contact the Clerk of Court in the County where the arrest warrant is pending.
Depending on the Court, they may tell you over the phone. However, often this information is not available to the public over the phone for various reasons, including the safety of the incarcerated person.
An attorney can fax a letter to the court indicating the attorney has been retained to represent the incarcerated person. The Court will likely give the attorney the information on when, where and what time the bond hearing will be held.
6. Are family members allowed to attend a bond hearing?
7. Are family members allowed to speak to the Judge at a bond hearing?
This depends on the individual judge and/or court rules.
8. Will there be a trial at the bond hearing?
No. The judge will mainly be concerned with 2 things:
Is the Defendant a flight risk?
Is the Defendant a danger to the community
9. Will the Defendant be physically present in the courtroom at the bond hearing?
It depends on the court but most courts conduct bond hearings via computer/video monitoring. The Defendant will sign a document that says he/she consents to video monitoring
10. Are victims allowed to attend bond hearings?
Yes. And they are allowed to talk to the Judge during the bond hearing if they want to. The Judge may ask the victim questions like "do you feel threatened by the Defendant?"
11. What kinds of bond conditions can a Judge order?
Generally, this is in the Judge's discretion. Some common examples are
"Do not leave the state" or "Do not have contact with the victim"
12. What if I cannot afford to pay the bond amount?
The incarcerated person must stay in jail until the court date. An attorney can request a bond modification hearing to request the bond be lowered or ask the Judge to allow the defendant to get out of jail and on electronic monitoring or house arrest.
13. Do I need a bondsman?
Yes if the Judge orders a Surety Bond. A person must pay a bondsman money or pledge collateral (in some cases) to get out of jail. The money you give to a bondsman is nonrefundable.
14. What are some types of bonds?
Personal Reconnaissance (PR) Bond – you do not have to pay money to get the person out of jail. You do not need a bondsman for a PR bond.
Surety Bond- you pay a bondsman a certain amount of money or pledge collateral (in some cases) to get the person charged with a crime out of jail
15. How long does it take for a Defendant to be released from jail?
After the bond hearing it can take up to 4 hours for the Defendant to be released, depending on how busy the detention facility is.