A bail bondsman is a designated agent licensed by the department insurance whom pledges consideration to the state 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 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. These types of bondsman will be listed as follows:
- Accommodation Bondsman – “means a person who has reached the age of eighteen years, is a resident of this State, who, aside from love and affection and release of the person concerned, receives no consideration for action as surety, and who endorses the bail bond after providing satisfactory evidence of ownership, value, and marketability of real property to the extent necessary to reasonably satisfy the official taking bond that the real or personal property will in all respects be sufficient to assure that the full principal sum of the bond will be realized in the event of breach of the conditions of the bond. “Consideration” as used in this item does not include the legal rights of a surety against a defendant by reason of breach of the conditions of a bail bond nor does it include collateral furnished to and securing the surety so long as the value of the surety’s rights in the collateral does not exceed the defendant’s liability to the surety by reason of a breach in the conditions of the bail bond” (1, 38-53-10, SC code of laws).
- Professional Bondsman – “means any person who is approved and licensed under the provisions of this chapter and who pledges cash or approved securities with the clerk of court as security for bail bonds written in connection with a judicial proceeding and receives or is promised money or other things of value for the pledge” (9, 38-53-10, SC code of laws).
- Surety Bondsman – “means any person who is approved by and licensed by the director or his designee as an insurance agent, appointed by an insurer by power of attorney to execute or countersign bail bonds for the insurer in connection with judicial proceedings, and receives or is promised money or other things of value for the execution or countersignature” (12, 38-53-10, SC code of laws).
- Runner – “means a person employed by a bail bondsman for the purpose of assisting the bail bondsman in presenting the defendant in court when required, assisting in the apprehension and surrender of the defendant to the court, keeping the defendant under necessary surveillance, and executing bonds on behalf of the licensed bondsman when the power of attorney has been recorded. “Runner” does not include an attorney or a law enforcement officer assisting a bondsman” (10, 38-53-10, SC code of laws).
The four types of bondsman listed are recognized as qualified agents in the state of South Carolina. A simple explanation of each can be presented. An accommodation bondsman is any person whom pledges bail out of love and affection for those accused. An example of this type of bondsman is a parent who pledges a full cash bail for one of their children. Professional bondsman pledge their own resources (cash, property) to the state in order to conduct business. A surety bondsman, the most common type of bondsman, conducts business in behalf of an insurance company. A runner must be licensed underneath a professional or surety bondsman who will assume all liability for the actions of the runner.