Whether people are taken into custody for a misdemeanor or felony, the threat of jail or prison usually constitutes their most pressing concern. These fears can be alleviated to some extent through the bail process, which can secure your freedom pending the resolution of your criminal case. At the De Bruin Law Firm, our Greenville bail bonds attorneys work diligently to promptly secure the release of our clients from custody. We persuasively advocate for individuals seeking a bail reduction or a release from custody with or without bail. If you are arrested for an alleged criminal offense, our law firm offers the advantage of $1,000 flat fee representation at bail hearings and makes attorneys available 24/7 to begin working on securing your release.
Pursuant to South Carolina law, bond hearings usually must be held within 24 hours of an arrest though exceptions exist. Given the expedited nature of the bail hearing process, arrestees who want legal representation at their hearing should promptly speak to a criminal defense lawyer. The bond court judge can grant a release of the accused based on a personal reconnaissance bond (PR bond) or a surety bond. If the judge grants release based on a PR bond, the defendant will not need to work with a bail bondsman because the release is based solely on a promise to appear. By contrast, a surety bond involves the accused pledging collateral or paying cash to get out of jail. The amount of the bail can be posted with the jail or a fee can be paid to the bondsman to post the bond. While the money or collateral posted as bail will be refunded if the accused is acquitted or the charges are dismissed, the bail bondsman’s fee for services in posting the bond is non-refundable.
The judge will consider two primary factors during the bond hearing: (1) whether the accused poses a threat to society and (2) whether the accused poses a flight risk. Since the judge will weigh evidence of local ties that includes but is not limited to the following:
While these factors often furnish insight into the court’s decision regarding bail, representation by a skilled criminal defense lawyer is important because the judge has a lot of discretion in evaluating flight risk. The judge will consider the victim’s perception of the threat posed by the accused if the case allegedly involves a crime of violence.
Whether you are arrested for the first time or you have experienced multiple prior convictions, you will have questions about bail given your specific charges and circumstances. Since we know that incarceration is the most disturbing prospect for people facing criminal charges, we have answered frequently asked questions about the bail process.
The Greenville criminal defense lawyers of our law firm can make a difference at bail hearings for multiple reasons.
Judge Discretion in Bailing Hearings: Since the judge has broad discretion regarding bail decisions, an accused can benefit greatly from having a skilled advocate who understands the evidence and factors the court will consider. Because our attorneys have handled many bail hearings, we recognize the subtle distinctions in fact patterns that can result in lower bail or a PR bond release.
Avoiding Delays: Although a bail hearing usually occurs within 24 hours, there are exceptions. For example, the court might not schedule a bail hearing for weeks or even months in cases that involve a life sentence or the death penalty because the case is heard by a circuit judge. Bail hearings for burglary 1st charges also are often heard before a circuit judge, but we can sometimes get the matter heard before a normal bail judge and avoid unnecessary delay in the bail hearing.
Preventing Incriminating Statements: The judge frequently makes certain inquiries of the accused at a bail hearing though the right against self-incrimination (right not to testify against oneself) applies in a bail hearing. If our attorneys appear with you, we can intervene to protect you from responding to inquiries by the judge about the charge that might compromise your defense.
Other Matters at Bail Hearings: While determining the existence and amount of bail will be the most important part of the hearing, the judge may impose a range of other conditions. If you are accused of domestic violence, for example, the judge might issue a no-contact order. The judge could order a mental health evaluation if you are accused of stalking. An accused benefits from having someone to represent his or her interests at the hearing and to make sure the defendant understands all conditions, so he or she does not commit an unintentional violation of the terms of bail.
Because the attorneys at our law firm have handled hundreds of bail hearings, we can anticipate the arguments of the prosecutor and prepare to make the most compelling argument for your release or a bail reduction.
The accused in a criminal case will be asked by the judge to enter a plea at a hearing called an arraignment. However, an arraignment and a bail hearing might happen on the same day.
While an individual is not required to hire a bail bondsman, many people ordered to pay a surety bond do so. The family or friends of an accused pay a fee to the bondsman who pays the bond to the court. The fee paid for the bail bondsman for his or her services is non-refundable.
Our law firm charges a flat fee of $1,000 to represent a defendant at a bail hearing.
There are four types of bond: (1) personal recognizance bond (PR bonds), (2) cash bonds, (3) surety bonds, and (4) cash percentage bonds. PR bonds are the only form of bond that does not require any financial commitment to get out of jail. The judge grants release based exclusively on the accused’s promise to appear. This form of bond is most common in cases of first-offenders, less serious crimes, minimal flight risk, and defendants with significant ties to the community. When the court requires the accused to pay the entire bond amount, this is referred to as cash bond. A surety bond requires the defendant to pledge collateral (e.g. real estate) or pay money. Cash percentage bond involves paying ten percent of the bond amount to the court. If the defendant fails to appear, the court will collect the rest of the bond from the assets or money of the accused in the event of a bail violation.