As a criminal defense attorney in North Charleston, I’ve helped many persons go through the process of posting bond to be released from jail. Being involved in a criminal case, whether as the convicted individual or a family member, is a stressful experience. Adding to the stress is the bond requirement in some cases, which may be impossible to pay with cash on hand. A viable alternative in many cases is a real estate bond, or property bond.

Property Bond in South Carolina

A property bond is a claim the courts hold against properties owned by the surety, or person responsible for the defendant until their court date. If the defendant breaks the conditions and terms of the bond, the surety will lose their property. For this reason, it’s important to make sure you trust the person you are posting a property bond for.

Posting Bond Using Real Estate in South Carolina

The following steps are required to post a property bond:

  1. Visit the clerk of the court and apply. You will need to fill out the “Application for Pledge of Real Estate for Surety Bond” and turn it in to the clerk.
  2. Visit your South Carolina Bar member attorney and have them complete a “Certificate of Value for Real Estate for Bond”. Your criminal defense lawyer will perform a 62 year title search in order to determine the value of your property. The value of the property will be based on the appraised value as per the County Tax Assessor.
  3. File the “Notice of Pledge of Real Estate” with the clerk of the court. They may require additional documentation depending on the property, county, and court. A $10 filing fee will be required at the time of filing.
  4. The court will determine which documentation is required and inform the surety. Turn in all documentation.
  5. At final disposition, the surety must file a “Release of Pledge of Real Estate” and pay a $5 filing fee to the court.
  6. Additional options available to South Carolina residents include bond modification, which can be applied for and approved or denied by a municipal judge. However, be aware that the judge can choose to increase the bond amount if bond modification is applied for. This is at the discretion of the judge.

Your property bond will be held by the clerk of the court until the case reaches its final disposition of a guilty plea, trial, or dismissal of charges. The clerk of the court will release the bond to the defendant or the surety at that point. In the case of a property bond, this will mean the court no longer has the ability to seize your property because of the actions of the defendant.

Keep in mind that only property located in the same county as the court demanding the bond is eligible for property bond use. Properties located outside of the county or state will not be accepted as bond. Additionally, the property must have enough equity built up to cover the bond, so properties with a high outstanding mortgage balance may not be eligible for property bonds. Mobile homes are not considered sufficient property for bond posting. The property owner or owners must appear in person to sign all documents, and must show a valid, unexpired picture I.D. As with any legal document, ensure you read and understand all documents requiring a signature, and fill in all fields completely.