In some unspecified time in the future throughout your profession, likelihood is you’re going to get a cellphone name from a buddy or friend-of-a-friend who wants assist with a bond listening to. “However I don’t follow legal regulation!” you assume. Relying on the severity of the cost, you could need to go forward and refer the particular person to somebody who does. However, if the cost is a Justice of the Peace or municipal degree offense, it’s best to be capable to deal with a fundamental bond listening to, particularly whether it is too late to search out another person to refer your buddy to for assist. Solely agree to assist for the bond listening to, nevertheless. Something past that, ship the particular person to a legal lawyer. Bond hearings have to be held inside 24 hours of arrest. Additionally, remind the particular person you will communicate on their behalf, that the hearings are recorded and can be utilized in opposition to them, so they need to not say something expressing regret, apology, or in any other case, incriminating themselves. A trial is for an additional day, so don’t go right into a recitation of info, guilt, or innocence – that is simply to find out the necessities and situations for being launched on bond. When you do resolve to signify the defendant, bear in mind to restrict your look to the bond listening to, and ensure they’re conscious they’ve 10 days to request a preliminary listening to if relevant, so they should discover legal counsel as quickly as doable.
When showing earlier than the Justice of the Peace who units bond, keep in mind the 2 primary points the choose is contemplating are flight danger and hazard to the neighborhood. Current fundamental info to the choose regarding these two points. (See South Carolina Structure, Article 1, § 15 and S.C. Code Ann. § 17-15-10 et seq.)
On flight danger, the choose desires to know: How lengthy has the particular person lived within the space? Do they personal or hire their house? How lengthy have they lived of their house? What household lives within the space? Have they got minor kids or different members of the family they assist take care of? Have they got a job? How lengthy have they’d that job? What’s their degree of schooling? Are there psychological well being or different points? Is the particular person an alien or a U.S. citizen? Give attention to their ties to the neighborhood, and another info you can provide that exhibits the particular person is just not a flight danger. Of significance is to ask the particular person if they’ve any failures to look for courtroom prior to now – whether or not that’s in site visitors courtroom (together with failure to pay tickets), household courtroom, or legal courtroom. Have they got any trials held in absentia? You could not have entry to a Nationwide Crime Data Heart (NCIC) report, in any other case referred to as a rap sheet, however it’s a good suggestion to have the dialogue with the particular person in order that if regulation enforcement or the solicitor affords a historical past of flight or failure to look, you may handle it. Additionally, bear in mind from regulation faculty, some prices present flight danger, like failure to cease for blue lights. Attempt to give the choose as deep a dive as doable and as succinctly as doable as to why the particular person’s native ties offset any flight danger. Some judges like to listen to of neighborhood involvement and non secular affiliation, and a few judges might have extra questions they’ll ask. Be prepared by asking as many pertinent issues you may of your consumer.
On hazard to the neighborhood, it’s particularly vital in case you are requested to assist somebody whom you already know has a historical past of Basic Periods prices, that you just refer this particular person to a legal lawyer. Pending prices are thought-about, in addition to any convictions, by the choose when taking a look at hazard to the neighborhood. What’s the particular person charged with now? If, for instance, the particular person is charged with Driving Underneath the Affect (DUI) – have they got any prior DUIs or Driving With an Illegal Alcohol Focus (DUACs)? Was there an accident, and have been there accidents? What’s the standing of these accidents now? Not all arrest warrants are served instantly; how a lot time has handed, and has the particular person been in bother within the interim? Is the particular person on probation or parole? Are there different steps that may be taken which you could placed on the report that will offset hazard to the neighborhood, for instance: getting the particular person admitted to rehab, searching for drug or alcohol evaluations or psychological well being evaluations and help, or turning over weapons which can be within the house to different members of the family or counsel. If it’s a crime with a sufferer, go forward and supply to conform to a no-contact order, the place the defendant might not contact the sufferer, or have anybody else contact the sufferer, except the contact is made by the defendant’s lawyer, a police officer, or a choose. Restitution, if a difficulty might be dealt with by a lawyer later. It’s also possible to stipulate to a “don’t return” order by the courtroom – the place the defendant doesn’t return to the placement of the alleged incident.
In Charleston County, we’ve a Pretrial Companies Report ready by the Legal Justice Coordinating Council, which evaluates defendants on a scale of 1 to 4, with one being the bottom danger of failure to look or re-arrest sooner or later and 4 being the very best. Check out this report, which must be out there to you by asking the Bond Courtroom Clerks for it, because it has vital info on previous legal historical past and failures to look. It isn’t a rap sheet, however it can provide help to ask the choose for an inexpensive bond.
So what’s an inexpensive bond? Hearken to what regulation enforcement and/or the Solicitor’s Workplace say of their displays – have they requested for a surety, a excessive surety, or did they are saying a private recognizance (PR) bond is appropriate? If you’re not a legal lawyer, you truthfully must be representing of us who ought to get a PR bond. The South Carolina Structure requires all bonds to start out as PR bonds; they change into surety bonds based mostly on flight danger and hazard to the neighborhood. There’s a likelihood you could have a consumer who shall be required to pay for a surety bond to be launched. Perhaps you didn’t know the extent of your particular person’s historical past, and you find yourself dealing with a request for a surety. Keep in mind that the purpose is to get the defendant to look at their subsequent courtroom listening to and to maintain the neighborhood secure. Maybe a excessive PR is an effective sufficient carrot and stick with get them to take action – you may ask for that. Or perhaps monetary assets solely allow your consumer to afford a low surety. Both one might be requested by you on the listening to, if circumstances should not as lower and dry as you thought they have been whenever you agreed to the bond listening to illustration. Presently, in South Carolina, bondsmen require someplace between one and 10 % down to face on a defendant’s behalf. If the defendant has 10 % of the bond quantity out there in money, you can even ask the courtroom to permit this 10 % money bond to be posted with the Clerk of Courtroom’s workplace. The Bond Courtroom Clerks can stroll you thru this course of. Another choice is house detention, the place the defendant might solely depart house for work, medical and authorized appointments, faculty, and non secular companies (or no matter else the choose permits.) Ankle displays, that are a further expense, have to be tied to a surety bond and bonding firm that has the flexibility to observe the ankle monitor, so don’t essentially ask for or conform to this if will probably be a burden in your consumer. Judges can difficulty house detention situations with out an ankle monitor.
Additionally remember there’s a checklist of “no-bond” offenses, the place the Justice of the Peace both doesn’t have jurisdiction to set bond, or the Justice of the Peace has the discretion to not set bond, and thus refers the case on to a Circuit Courtroom Decide to set bond inside 30 days. These are very critical offenses, and even with no legal previous, defendants are thought-about a hazard to the neighborhood. In case your buddy or friend-of-a-friend is charged with certainly one of these offenses, get them a legal lawyer; don’t take them on as a consumer. (See https://www.sccourts.org/summaryCourtBenchBook/MemosHTML/2015-12.htm for an entire checklist.)
It is a place to begin for what to current at a bond listening to on behalf of a defendant, not an all-inclusive checklist of issues. Each Justice of the Peace setting bond is barely totally different, after all, and has a barely totally different tackle how they weigh info and what’s vital to them of their willpower. And, each particular person charged with against the law has a barely totally different story. This can provide help to resolve whether or not you may signify that buddy who calls at 2:00 a.m., or in the event you ought to ship them on to the skilled legal lawyer who may help them into the longer term.