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PERSONAL RECOGNIZANCE (PR) OR SURETY BOND: DOES IT MATTER?

Under South Carolina law, when someone is charged with a crime, that person will appear in front of a bond judge who will determine whether to set a bond and, if so, what conditions will be set.  The bond hearing is typically held within 24 hours of being arrested. The two most common types of bonds are personal recognizance (PR) or surety bonds-the difference between the two can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars.

What Is A Personal Recognizance or PR Bond?

A personal recognizance or PR bond means that the defendant is released from jail without being required to post any money for his or her bond. The defendant is essentially released on the basis of his or her promise to appear at their next court date. Pursuant to South Carolina Code of Laws 17-15-10, generally, a person charged with a noncapital offense in either the magistrates, county or general sessions court must be released on a PR bond unless the court determines in its discretion that individual is a risk of flight or danger to the community. The bond judge looks at a variety of factors in making this determination.

What is a Surety Bond?

A surety bond requires the individual to post a percentage of the bond amount in order to get out of jail. Most of the time this means that you will have to pay a bondsman to post bail on your behalf before you can be released from jail. In deciding whether to issue a PR bond or surety bond, the bond judge will consider risk of flight and danger to the community and use the factors enumerated in Section 17-15-30 of the South Carolina Code of Laws to make that determination. For example, the bond judge will look at the person's criminal record, the current charges he or she may be facing, the incident reports, whether that person is a gang member, family ties, length of time in the community, and several other factors when setting bond for an individual.

You Need An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer For Your Bond Hearing

The bond judge will ask a person arrested a series of questions in order to determine whether that person is a flight risk or danger to the community. The entire proceeding is recorded and anything you say can and will be used against you by a prosecutor. Thus, if you find yourself arrested for a crime, you could potentially say something incriminating at a bond hearing accidentally. That is why it is essential to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you at the bond hearing.

Additionally, although the law provides bond judges with certain factors to look at, it does not give the judge parameters for how much a surety bond should be set at. In other words, the bond judge is given a lot of discretion to determine the actual surety bond amount. And, in cases where someone is charged with a violent crime, a bond judge has the discretion to deny bond altogether. Thus, if you are not represented by an experienced criminal defense lawyer or you have a lawyer that does not know how to adequately represent you at a bond hearing, then this could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars and be the difference between you or your loved being able to make bond and get out of jail.

Contact Young & Young, Attorneys At Law To Speak To A Former Bond Judge & Former Criminal Prosecutors Today

If you or a loved one is facing a bond hearing in South Carolina, rest assured that our firm, which is made up of a former bond judge and former criminal prosecutors, has the experience you need to ensure you are strongly represented at a bond hearing. Call Young & Young, Attorneys at Law today to schedule a free consultation.

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