When someone is arrested in South Carolina, they will have a bond hearing with 24 hours of their arrest. During this hearing, the judge decides if the person should remain in custody or if he or she can be released on bond. Before rendering a decision, the judge will consider if the defendant is a danger to the community, or if he or she is a “flight risk.”
Suppose the defendant committed a non-violent offense. Until now, he’s been an outstanding member of the community. He has a good job and he has a family depending on him for financial support. In this type of situation, the judge may decide to release him on bond because he isn’t a threat to the community.
In contrast, another defendant is a Canadian citizen who sexually abused a young child. Because he is a perceived flight risk and due to the seriousness of the offense, the judge decides not to set bond, or if the judge does, she sets an unusually high bond meant to keep the defendant in custody and off the streets.
What if I Can’t Afford Bond?
Sometimes a judge will post bond, but it’s far more than the defendant or their close relatives can afford. After all, a lot of people don’t exactly have thousands of dollars laying around. What can you do if this happens to you? Do you have to languish in jail until your trial proceeds through the courts? At the risk of what? Your job, your family, and your financial security?
In South Carolina, it is possible to seek what’s called a “bond reduction.” According to the South Carolina Courts, “A General Sessions judge can modify a bond set by a Magistrate or Municipal Court judge.” Keep in mind that a modification can go either way. A judge has the discretion to increase or decrease a bond amount. The outcome is fact specific.
If you’re interested in requesting a bond reduction, a defense attorney will need to file a Motion to Reconsider Bond with the court. To learn more about bond reductions, contact our firm to meet with a Columbia criminal defense lawyer.