Take the state mandated 30hr bail bondsman runner course
Register for the state mandated 19-16 bail bondsman/runner test
Self-study or register for the 19-08 surety insurance producer course
Register for the state mandated 19-08 surety insurance producer test
Register for fingerprinting
Have a passport size photograph taken
Apply for your South Carolina surety insurance producer license
Columbia, SC 29201
Once you receive your Limited Line producer license you may apply for your surety bondsman license.
Columbia, SC 29201
Wait on the SCDOI to process your application, you will receive confirmation of your acceptance or denial to the address you have provided!
*Steps 1 and 3 may be done interchangeably
Bail Bond Class SC: Risk Assessment
Prior to the posting of a bail bond all prospective clients undergo a risk assessment process. The risk assessment process is preformed in two steps. First, a risk assessment is preformed by the courts, or a magistrate judge, in determining bail for a given defendant. Factors in this determination of bail shall be found by following South Carolina state code and law 17-15-30. These factors include but are not limited to:
Why use risk assessment?
Risk assessment is utilized to determine the likelihood a defendant will appear in court as required by the court of competent jurisdiction. All defendants are constitutionally afforded the right to reasonable bail, as all individuals accused of a crime are innocent until proven guilty. Risk assessment allows for an educated decision to be made in the determination of bail.
South Carolina Bail Agents Academy
South Carolina Pretrial Release vs. Post Conviction: Monetary Burden
A hot topic in the criminal justice community revolves around the monetary burden placed on the pretrial housing of accused defendants. The debate on how to handle pretrial defendants occurs at the federal, state, and local levels. The state of South Carolina primarily mandates pretrial release of defendants through the use of personal recognizance bonds (no monetary fee nor is there a guarantor for the successful appearance of the defendant), and commercial bail (charges a premium to guarantee the defendants successful appearance in court). In the case of the majority of defendants in South Carolina they will be released pending trial by one of the aforementioned methods. The problem many scholars fail to acknowledge in the state of South Carolina is the ability of the defendant to remain free post-conviction.
The state of South Carolina is based on a “pay the fine or do the time” mantra throughout the summary court system. Thus meaning that a defendant in the majority of misdemeanor cases is faced with two options for criminal penalty if found guilty of the accused crime. In a state with no misdemeanor probation these low-income defendants are now faced with the daunting task of paying a fine amount, or serving a 30-day jail sentence. If a defendant is fortunate enough to reach a payment agreement with the court of competent jurisdiction they may retain their freedom so long as they make all payments as agreed to. Should a defendant fail to comply with the agreement a bench warrant will be issued and the defendant will be jailed until one of the following requirements is met:
Essentially this system sets up for a debtors prison, or the housing of post-conviction defendants simply because they lack the ability to pay a fine. In a system dominated in thought about the monetary burden of pre-trial housing significant thought should be placed on the post-conviction housing for non-violent misdemeanor/family court offenders whom are being detained for the inability to pay a fine amount. In this line of business it is often seen that the majority of defendants have the ability to be released pre-trial, yet lack the ability to retain their freedom when faced with post-conviction fines.
The state of South Carolina, and more importantly the city of Charleston have begun to look at government funded pre-trial release services based on risk assessment methods. However, the state already has these methods in place through the use of magistrate judges, and the use of personal recognizance bonds (SC code of laws 17-15-10; 17-15-30). Rather than re-inventing the wheel surety agents should be provided court date notification in order to reduce the issuance of frivolous bench warrants pre-trial. This will tremendously reduce the issuance of pre-trial bench warrants while keeping a financially bound surety responsible for the defendant. Secondly the funds used to move towards government funded defendant release may be better served in misdemeanor probation efforts. Government funded programs may be better served by turning focus to the post-conviction housing of defendants simply because they lack the ability to pay a fine. Instituting misdemeanor probation type services can reduce the housing of bench warranted individuals due to monetary restrictions. In doing this these defendants can provide community services to restore the debts to society caused through their crimes, rather than having the taxpayer bear the financial burden of housing the defendant in jail because they lack the ability to pay a fine.
South Carolina Bail Agents Academy
Donald F. Mescia III
Commercial Surety Bail
Commercial surety bail is utilized to hold the surety financially accountable to the state to ensure the defendant appears at all court dates required by the court of competent jurisdiction. In this post I will discuss the most utilized form of pretrial release in South Carolina. This form of release is known as a personal recognizance. This term will often be referred to as a PR bond (Personal Recognizance), OR bond (Own Recognizance), ROR (Released Own Recognizance). As a society that was raised playing the game of monopoly this form of release can easily be equated to the “get out of jail free card”. To move further, a discussion on the meaning of personal recognizance, the purpose for personal recognizance bonds, and the shortcomings of personal recognizance bonds will be discussed.
Personal Recognizance Bond
A personal recognizance bond is an unsecured form of pretrial release mandated by a magistrate judge that allows a defendant to be released from custody on their own promise to appear at future court dates as required by the court of competent jurisdiction. This release is considered unsecure because a surety is not financially bound to the state should the defendant fail to uphold the conditions of bail. Rather should the defendant abscond there are no third party guarantors associated with the case, and the state must maintain all financial responsibility in locating, apprehending, and transporting the absconded defendant. This form of release provides the defendant with absolutely no accountability throughout the judicial process. Due to the nature of a PR bond, having zero financial responsibility, it can be equated to a “get out of jail free card”.
Certainly there is a large purpose for PR bonds in the criminal justice community. These bonds were created as a form of release for low risk, first time, non-violent offenders to be released pretrial. A majority of crimes committed in urban areas result from traffic violations and low level victimless crimes. These individuals were meant to be granted PR bonds in order to alleviate jail population. When used correctly PR bonds can be a vital tool in combatting the issues of jail overcrowding. It is when this form of release is abused that issues occur from a public safety standpoint.
Public safety is one of the largest concerns when considering bail. It would be assumed by the public that all criminal actions with a victim involved would be required to meet bail with secured sufficient surety. However, this is not the case. I can personally attest that personal recognizance bonds are granted to individuals charged with high-level felony crimes on a daily basis. A large number of these crimes include domestic violence, burglary, manufacturing of drugs, weapon possessions, felony dui, etc… This is not only a safety concern for the victim, but also the public as a whole. The public safety issue arises through a lack of accountability. The defendant is released with no supervision or financial responsibility when granted a personal recognizance bond. When required to post secured surety bail a defendant is monitored, must check-in, must appear in court, must be of good behavior, have no contact with the victim, notify with change of address, and not to leave the state of South Carolina. If the defendant violates one of the conditions the surety may apprehend the defendant to prevent any imminent violations of the conditions for bail. On a personal recognizance bond there is zero accountability.
Financial gains lost?
As a last point personal recognizance bonds take a significant portion of financial gain from the state of South Carolina. A surety is financially bound to the successful completion of a defendants’ case until disposition. If the defendant fails to uphold their responsibility the surety is bound to produce the defendant or financially reimburse the state of South Carolina for the loss incurred. Leaving a large pool of funds available to the state to collect upon. These funds can then be utilized to further progress the state of South Carolina. This pool of funds does not include the money saved through a private company monitoring, skip-tracing, providing court reminders, and apprehending absconded defendants. All these actions require taxpayer money when a secured surety is not involved.
In closing it is important for the public to be involved in the criminal justice process, and understand completely the actions taken. An unsecured personal recognizance bond will often be presented to the public as a secured surety bond. When viewing bond information be sure to look for the difference, and understand if the defendant has been released on an unsecured personal recognizance bond or a secured surety bond. When doing this you will be surprised to see how many violent offenders are released on unsecured bail. As citizens it is important to view the statistics of these forms of release as to appearance rates, recidivism rates, victim safety, and financial responsibility. Victims right to know bills are a form of protection for the public to demonstrate how their tax dollars are truly being utilized for public safety. All funds are produced by the public through taxation for criminal justice actions. Therefore, the public should maintain the right to know how their tax dollars are being allocated. Private surety is the only means where the public is obsolete from the payment of criminal activity.
South Carolina Bail Agents Academy
Donald F. Mescia III
South Carolina 19-08 Surety Insurance Producer; Limited Lines
All Surety Bonds in the state of South Carolina are formed through three-party contracts. A three-party contract in terms of insurance includes the following parties: principal, surety, and obligee. These parties all serve significant purpose as a means for surety bond performance. There are four significant subgroups to surety bonds in South Carolina. These four types of commercial surety bonds include: construction bonds, public official bonds, judicial bonds, and fiduciary bonds. Under the scope of commercial surety bonds these four subcategories all serve the same purpose. The purpose of commercial surety bond is to guarantee the future action or compliance by a given party. In the case of surety bonds the party for which is bound to complete a future action or maintain future compliance may be considered the principal. The principal must seek out a commercial institution licensed in the state of South Carolina to provide commercial surety bonds. This licensed institution is known as the surety. The surety places financial security, surety bond, in order to guarantee that the principal will faithfully carry out their future action, and comply with the regulations set forth in obtaining the surety bond. The final party to a commercial surety bond is the obligee. The obligee is the party in a surety bond whom is protected from loss and is guaranteed future action or compliance. In simple terms the principal is obligated to faithfully comply and follow through with all future actions designated by the obligee, and guaranteed by the surety.
South Carolina Surety Bail Bondsman
In the scope of bail bonds commercial surety bonds may be further broken down, and explained as pertaining to the judicial community. Bail bonds are utilized to guarantee the future action of court appearance by guaranteeing defendant appearance through a monetary obligation to the court of competent jurisdiction. A defendant is a person accused of committing a crime pending the outcome of a trial. In terms of commercial surety bonds the defendant may be considered the principal, or the party to the contract whom wishes to assume a surety bond. A defendant may wish to assume a surety bond in order to gain their release from custody pending trial. A defendant may seek a bail bondsman in an effort to gain release pending trial. In terms of a commercial surety bond the bail bondsman may be considered the surety. The surety guarantees a monetary sum to the court of competent jurisdiction in order to ensure the future court appearance of the principal (defendant). Due to the court receiving the guarantee of court appearance they may be considered the obligee, or the party to the contract whom is guaranteed action and protected monetarily from future loss.
Three parties to a surety bail bond contract:
Surety= Bail Bondsman
Obligee= Court of competent jurisdiction
South Carolina Bail Agents Academy
Donald F. Mescia III
A major key to success can be found in the process of education and experience. It takes both components to be successful in life’s pursuits, and as a result we must continue to learn from one another in order to strengthen as a whole. I have grown up in the bail bond industry, and have been a practicing bail bondsman since 2011. Through my time as a bail bondsman I have also had the opportunity to graduate Cum Laude from the University of South Carolina Beaufort (B.A. Sociology) and graduate High Distinction from Liberty University (M.S. Criminal Justice/Public Administration). The education and experience I have gained led me in the pursuit of forming South Carolina Bail Agents Academy. This academy has been formed to provide the South Carolina required 30hr pre-licensing bail bond education. The goal of South Carolina Bail Agents Academy is to provide prospective bail bondsman in South Carolina the educational, and practical experience necessary to advance the bail bond industry for the future to come.
The bail bond industry has recently become a major topic of concern throughout the judicial community on a national scale. These concerns have had little impact on our industry in the state of South Carolina until recent when the MacArthur foundation awarded Charleston County significant funds for criminal justice reform. This criminal justice reform is significantly aimed at jail population by implementing government run pretrial release services. These changes are due to take place in early 2017. This is a program that will have a detrimental effect on the bail bond industry we all rely on to provide for our families. It is essential for all bondsman in the state of South Carolina to unite in the fight to maintain our industry for the future to come.
South Carolina Bail Agents Academy was formed to ensure a successful future for our industry! In response to the criminal justice trends in our industry it has never been more important for all South Carolina Bail Agents to stick together for the betterment and future success of our industry. South Carolina Bail Agents Academy looks to have a strong relationship with the South Carolina Bail Agents Association and all members. In working to promote the continued success of this association in the battle to maintain and progress the bail bond industry for our future; South Carolina Bail Agents Academy will donate 10% of each class registration fee to the South Carolina Bail Agents Association if mentioned at the time of registration. The unification and support of all bail agents will ensure that the South Carolina bail bond industry will be successful for generations to come!
South Carolina Bail Agents Academy
Donald F. Mescia III, President.
“Turning bail bond theory into practice across the state of South Carolina”
7 Steps to become a South Carolina Bail Bondsman/runner
In order to become a licensed South Carolina bail bondsman/runner an individual must meet the SC state mandated requirements.
If a prospective South Carolina bail bondsman/runner meets the preceding requirements they may enroll in one of the state mandated 30hr pre-licensing bail bondsman/runner class. Upon the completion of the course the instructor will provide the student a certificate of completion.
Enroll in the South Carolina required series 19-16 pre-licensing examination offered by PSI. The test will cost $45. This examination will consist of 60 questions, and must be completed in 65 minutes.
Complete the bail bondsman/runner application provided by the South Carolina Department of Insurance.
Congratulations, wait for your application to be processed by the South Carolina Department of Insurance! The SCDOI will mail the application approval or denial to the mailing address provided via application.
Upon receiving an approved license from the SCDOI an individual is deemed a licensed bail bondsman. The certified license must now be clocked in each county the bail bondsman wishes to conduct business. A $150 filing fee will be assessed in the home county to clock a certified license, and any other county the bondsman wishes to conduct business will assess a $100 filing fee to clock a certified license. A professional bondsman must place cash security with the home county clerk of court not to be less than $10,000. This cash deposit will allow a professional bondsman to post any one bond up to $5,000, and a total of all bonds (total liability allowable) of $40,000. A surety bondsman will present the clerk of court a power of attorney provided by the license holders insurance company. This power of attorney allows a surety bondsman to conduct business in behalf of the insurer up to the amount specified.
Now that you are a licensed bail bondsman in South Carolina you must keep your license in good standing. South Carolina has required 6 hours of continuing education to be completed annually in the past; however, this has been changed to 8 hours annually through recent legislation. All bail bondsman licenses expire June 30 of the given year. Therefore, 8 hours of continuing education must be completed prior to June 30 annually, and proof of completion submitted to the SCDOI. The South Carolina Bail Agents Association hosts multiple continuing education classes throughout the year. In addition to continuing education all bail bondsman must provide fingerprints annually by registering at.
*Note these steps are necessary only to become a bondsman/runner in South Carolina, These steps are to be used for reference only, SC legislation is ever-changing, and it is best to verify proper state procedure through the states governing body.
4 Types of Bail Bondsman in South Carolina
A South Carolina bail bondsman is a designated agent licensed by the South Carolina Department of Insurance whom pledges consideration to the state of South Carolina in order to ensure the successful completion of a criminal defendants appearance to all court dates required by the court of competent jurisdiction pending the resolution of a criminal accusation. The state of South Carolina designates four types of bail bondsman as outlined in Chapter 38 Subsection 53 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. These types of bondsman will be listed as follows:
In response to a recent and continuing topic of “no money bail” and the Department of Justices new social justice system to limit pre-trial bail, I ask WHY? The DOJ wants to put an end to pre-trial bail. The current White House administration has been embracing the get soft on crime hug a thug mentality. The amendment referenced to accomplish this travesty is the 14th amendment.
The 14th amendment is for equal protection! Does equal protection only apply to a person accused of violating a law and committing a crime? What about the victim? The person who endures a violent or real or personal property crime. The 14th amendment requires states guarantee the same rights, privileges and protections to all citizens.
Equal protection of the law is the right of all persons to have the same access to the law and courts and to be treated equally by the law and courts. Do we really believe that law enforcement officers make arrests based on income? I would hope not, the same way I would hope that law enforcement in the future would not have to.
The US census states that the current population is 324,443,202, which BJS states that 0.91% of the adult population is incarcerated. This is the percentage of people that the DOJ under the equal protection clause is focusing on as the court refused to extend to welfare, housing or education to all citizens. The current administration is more focused on incarcerated defendants who have violated the law. The other 99.09 % of law-abiding citizens are being excluded under equal protection.
BJS has admitted that the jail incarceration levels have been declining each year since 2007. The no money bail is the latest step by the Obama administration in encouraging the state courts to move away from bail.
We have a system of bail for a reason. It is part of the 8th amendment of the US constitution, which requires that bail shall not be “excessive “ (higher than is reasonable to assure the defendants appearance). Bail is not meant, as a form of release alone the main objective of bail is to guarantee the state that the defendant will be present for all future court appearances and the court of jurisdiction will be able to try the defendant bringing fourth a disposition and allowing the victim of the crime closure. Without requiring a defendant to post bail there is less incentive to show up for a court date. Then we have overwhelming amounts of bench warrants which law enforcement will never have the time to clear up.
The current bail system allows for cash bail, accommodation bail, percentage bail, property bail, personal promise to appear or commercial surety. The latest commercial surety also known as bail bondsman or bail agents have consistently out performed all other forms of release, this form of release has no tax consequence to the taxpayer and puts all financial responsibility on them.
The new idea to sell on the 99.09% of law-abiding citizens is a taxpayer program called pretrial services. This program is to do a scientific evaluation on each defendant that is incarcerated. The system scores each defendant and then recommends to the court (judge) already paid a super visional advisement and conditions to be imposed to reach a disposition of a court case. The taxpayer funds this program with no financial burden falling back on the PTR representative. The victim pays for the release of the defendant who broke the law against them.
The constitution? What about 1987 when the Supreme Court held that the only limitation imposed in the bail clause is that “ the government’s proposed condition of release not be excessive.” This is a constitutional argument (ADDITIONAL LAW SUITS)
By the public defenders office for defendants being released through these programs with ankle monitoring, drug tests or other programs. The referenced requirements of GPS, drug/alcohol testing, and various programs required pre conviction for accused defendants (a possible violation of constitutional rights) prior to sentencing. This is the plan to benefit these defendants at taxpayer expense? In addition to pre conviction requirements possibly being unconstitutional for the punishment of defendants prior to conviction, these supervision methods often place a greater financial burden on both the public and low income defendant than posting bail.
The 6th amendment states in all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy:
Speedy trial, information on nature and cause of accusation, be confronted with the witness against them, process for obtaining witness in favor of them and has assistance of council for defense. Earnings and assets by each state limit the applying for and defense by the public defenders office. Why is this? Barry J. Pollack, president of the National Association of Defense lawyers applauds the efforts of the DOJ and current administration for no cash bail requirement. I wonder if he would applaud the same for the no cash lawyers required for the financially secure defendant.
The 9th amendment was set up to keep government from expanding power. The fact that the expansion of power is for such a low percent of US citizens leaves the question of WHY? The role of government is better served to look into rehabilitative treatment based programs for those post-conviction defendants whom are found guilty of the accused offense. Post-conviction programs uphold an individual’s constitutional right as not being punished prior to conviction, while alleviating the monetary burden from the taxpayer for pretrial service programs.
The bail process may not be perfect but it is not to blame. The courts must take a more active role in moving cases and prosecuting defendants in a timely manner. The court after conviction may require a program to benefit the defendant if the defendant truly embraces it. The addict may then get help for the addiction opposed to incarceration. Health professionals in secured facilities should treat the mentally ill. The violent offender should be locked away in a correctional facility. Monetary bail is not the problem merely the tool that assists in guaranteeing this result the most effective way.