Bond & Bond Hearings

 

South Carolina law provides that a person charged with a noncapital offense may be released pending trial on his or her own recognizance (PR bond) without surety in an amount specified by the court unless the court determines that such release will not reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required or he or she presents an unreasonable danger to the community. PR bond is not often granted except for minor or less serious offenses.

 

In determining bond and conditions of release, the court may consider the nature and circumstances of the offense, the person's family ties to the community, employment, financial resources, character and mental condition, length of residence in the community, prior criminal record and other factors.

 

The court may impose any number of conditions of release, including require the execution of a surety appearance bond (Surety bond) in a specified amount, place restrictions on travel or association, and any other conditions deemed reasonably necessary to assure appearance as required.

 

A person’s first bond hearing is normally before a magistrate or municipal judge. These judges are given authority to grant bond if appropriate except for offenses which carry the possibility of the death penalty or a life sentence. However, if the person is charged with a “violent offense”, a magistrate may deny bail. "Violent offenses" are those offenses contained in Section 16-1-60, SC Code of Laws.

 

A person charged with a bailable offense must have a bond hearing within twenty-four (24) hours of his or her arrest.

Violent Crimes, as defined by South Carolina law:

 

Section 16-1-60, SC Code of Laws, lists those crimes defined as “violent crimes”. Under South Carolina law, a “violent crime” are those specific crimes listed in this statute that includes offenses such as murder (Section 16-3-10); attempted murder (Section 16-3-29); voluntary manslaughter (Section 16-3-50); armed robbery (Section 16-11-330(A)); attempted armed robbery (Section 16-11-330(B)); drug trafficking as defined in Section 44-53-370(e) and many others.

Two Strikes-Three Strikes Law

 

South Carolina law provides for a life sentence for a person convicted for certain crimes. This is known as the two strikes-three strikes law.

 

Except in cases in which the death penalty is imposed, upon a conviction for a “most serious offense”, a person must be sentenced to a term of imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole if that person has either:

(1) one or more prior convictions for:

(a) a “most serious offense”; or

(b) a federal or out-of-state conviction for an offense that would be classified as a “most serious offense”; or

(2) two or more prior convictions for:

(a) a “serious offense”; or

(b) a federal or out-of-state conviction for an offense that would be classified as a “serious offense”.

 

Except in cases in which the death penalty is imposed, upon a conviction for a “serious offense”, a person must be sentenced to a term of imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole if that person has two or more prior convictions for:

(1) a “serious offense”;

(2) a “most serious offense”;

(3) a federal or out-of-state offense that would be classified as a serious offense or “most serious offense”; or

(4) any combination of the offenses listed in items (1), (2), and (3) above.

 

"Most serious offense" means:

16-1-40 Accessory, for any offense enumerated in this item 16-1-80 Attempt, for any offense enumerated in this item 16-3-10 Murder 16-3-29 Attempted Murder 16-3-50 Voluntary manslaughter 16-3-85(A)(1) Homicide by child abuse 16-3-85(A)(2) Aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse 16-3-210 Lynching, First degree 16-3-210(B) Assault and battery by mob, First degree 16-3-620 Assault and battery with intent to kill 16-3-652 Criminal sexual conduct, First degree 16-3-653 Criminal sexual conduct, Second degree 16-3-655 Criminal sexual conduct with minors, except where evidence presented at the criminal proceeding and the court, after the conviction, makes a specific finding on the record that the conviction obtained for this offense resulted from consensual sexual conduct where the victim was younger than the actor, as contained in Section 16-3-655(3) 16-3-656 Assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct, First and Second degree 16-3-910 Kidnapping 16-3-920 Conspiracy to commit kidnapping 16-3-1075 Carjacking 16-3-2020 Trafficking in persons 16-11-110(A) Arson, First degree 16-11-311 Burglary, First degree 16-11-330(A) Armed robbery 16-11-330(B) Attempted armed robbery 16-11-540 Damaging or destroying building, vehicle, or other property by means of explosive incendiary, death results 24-13-450 Taking of a hostage by an inmate 25-7-30 Giving information respecting national or state defense to foreign contacts during war 25-7-40 Gathering information for an enemy 43-35-85(F) Abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in death 55-1-30(3) Unlawful removing or damaging of airport facility or equipment when death results 56-5-1030(B)(3) Interference with traffic-control devices or railroad signs or signals prohibited when death results from violation 58-17-4090 Obstruction of railroad, death results.

 

"Serious offense" means:

(a) any offense which is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment for thirty years or more which is not referenced above;

(b) those felonies enumerated as follows:

16-3-220 Lynching, Second degree 16-3-210(C) Assault and battery by mob, Second degree 16-3-600(B) Assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature 16-3-810 Engaging child for sexual performance 16-9-220 Acceptance of bribes by officers 16-9-290 Accepting bribes for purpose of procuring public office 16-11-110(B) Arson, Second degree 16-11-312(B) Burglary, Second degree 16-11-380(B) Theft of a person using an automated teller machine 16-13-210(1) Embezzlement of public funds 16-13-230(B)(3) Breach of trust with fraudulent intent 16-13-240(1) Obtaining signature or property by false pretenses 16-25-20(B) Domestic violence, First degree 16-25-65 Domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature 38-55-540(3) Insurance fraud 44-53-370(e) Trafficking in controlled substances 44-53-375(C) Trafficking in ice, crank, or crack cocaine 44-53-445(B)(1)&(2) Distribute, sell, manufacture, or possess with intent to distribute controlled substances within proximity of school 56-5-2945 Causing death by operating vehicle while under influence of drugs or alcohol; and

(c) the offenses enumerated below:

16-1-40 Accessory before the fact for any of the offenses listed in subitems (a) and (b) 16-1-80 Attempt to commit any of the offenses listed in subitems (a) and (b) 43-35-85(E) Abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in great bodily injury.

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