Being arrested, detained, and processed is an overwhelming experience for anyone – especially if it is their first time going through it. One of the biggest questions that many first-time offenders and their loved ones have is, “How does the bail process work?”
Here is an overview of the initial goal of your criminal defense attorney in Clemson, SC along with a breakdown of the bond hearing and other important factors to consider. If you’re facing charges, don’t hesitate to contact Boatwright Legal for help.
The Initial Goal of Your Criminal Defense Attorney
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case and your overall criminal history, your criminal defense attorney will likely try to remove bail from the equation if the judge allows it. For instance, according to the South Carolina legal code, any person who is charged with a non-capital crime may be released from custody pending trial on their own recognizance.
This means that you are released on an unsecured bond after bail is paid. The bail amount is determined by the magistrate. A defendant is not required to pay the full bond unless he or she fails to comply with all the required conditions of release.
What Happens at a Bond Hearing?
A bond hearing is the first step of the bail process in South Carolina. During this hearing, the judge examines the facts on file regarding the case and calculates the amount of bail money required to release the defendant from custody.
It is also up to the judge’s discretion if he or she wants to mandate additional conditions and requirements – such as electronic monitoring, house arrest, or specific instructional courses related to the charge.
Is the Judge Required to Offer a Bail?
The judge is not required to offer a bail. Several key factors influence the judge’s decision to approve or deny the request for bail, including the:
- Criminal history of the defendant
- The severity of the alleged offense
- Community ties of the defendant
- Probability of the defendant fleeing
- Risk of danger involved to the community
The prosecution will likely focus on these factors and any applicable background information about the defendant to influence either the denial of bail or a substantial increase of the proposed bail amount. If bail is denied, then the defendant must remain in custody until the trial date. This does not mean that they are stuck there without any other options, though.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, a criminal defense attorney in Clemson, SC may be able to request a reconsideration hearing. The purpose of this hearing is to present additional evidence for the judge to consider that may support or justify their release from custody as they await their trial date.
What If I Cannot Afford the Bail Amount?
Once the family or loved ones of the defendant are notified about the bail amount, they can pay the full amount either at the jail or the court – depending on where the defendant is held at the time. If the bail amount is unaffordable, however, then reaching out to a bail bondsman is an effective alternative.
The bail bondsman posts the bail amount required to release the defendant from custody in exchange for a percentage of the total bail amount as a fee. In most cases, the typical fee is 10%-15% of the bail amount. For example, if the full bail amount is $100,000, then the bail bondsman may require you to pay $10,000-$15,000 upfront.
The Post-Release Responsibility of the Bail Bondsman
A defendant’s business relationship with a bail bondsman does not end after their initial release from custody. By posting bail, the bondsman assumes the responsibility of making sure that the defendant appears in court when required.
If the defendant flees or fails to show up, then it is the bail bondsman who would become responsible for paying the full bail amount – not just a percentage. Any bail payment made by the defendant’s family or loved ones would be forfeited, and the defendant could be sent back to jail.
On the other hand, if the defendant appears in court as scheduled but is found guilty of the charges filed against them, the bail payment would be used to pay associated fines, restitution, and applicable court costs.
Contact a Clemson Criminal Defense Lawyer Today!
If you have any other questions or need further assistance, it would be best to contact an experienced Clemson criminal defense attorney to assist you. Call Boatwright Legal today at 864-745-9758 to schedule a free consultation. This will allow you to get your questions answered, have the details of your case analyzed, and explore the options that you have from here.