Current Status Bill Number:
4811Type of Legislation: General Bill GBIntroducing Body: HouseIntroduced Date: 19980317Primary Sponsor: ScottAll Sponsors: Scott and HarrisonDrafted Document Number: kgh\15509cm.98Residing Body: HouseCurrent Committee: Judiciary Committee 25 HJSubject: Bondsman, bail bonds; professional, surety or runner; Courts, Insurance
Body Date Action Description Com Leg Involved ______ ________ _______________________________________ _______ ____________ House 19980317 Introduced, read first time, 25 HJ referred to CommitteeView additional legislative information at the LPITS web site.
TO AMEND CHAPTER 53 OF TITLE 38, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO BAIL BONDSMEN AND RUNNERS, SO AS TO REVISE THE DEFINITION OF "ACCOMMODATION BONDSMAN", PROVIDE A DEFINITION FOR "COURT" AND "GOOD CAUSE", TO SUBSTITUTE THE PROCEDURE THAT ALLOWS A SURETY TO BE RELIEVED ON A BOND FOR THE PROCEDURE THAT ALLOWS A SURETY TO SURRENDER A DEFENDANT, TO ESTABLISH A PROCEDURE THAT ALLOWS A SURETY TO PAY AN ESTREATMENT IN INSTALLMENTS, TO SUBSTITUTE "PROFESSIONAL BONDSMAN", AND "SURETY BONDSMAN" FOR "BAIL BONDSMAN", TO PROVIDE EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR A PERSON APPLYING FOR A LICENSE TO WORK AS A LICENSED PROFESSIONAL BONDSMAN, SURETY BONDSMAN, OR RUNNER, AND REVISE THE LICENSE EXAMINATION PROCEDURE, TO REDUCE THE FEE THAT A BONDSMAN PAYS TO A COUNTY CLERK OF COURT AND PROVIDE THAT A RUNNER ALSO SHALL PAY THIS FEE, TO REVISE THE LICENSE RENEWAL PROCEDURE FOR PROFESSIONAL AND SURETY BONDSMEN AND RUNNERS, TO PROVIDE THAT A PROFESSIONAL OR SURETY BONDSMAN OR RUNNER WHOSE LICENSE HAS BEEN REVOKED MUST NOT BE ISSUED ANOTHER LICENSE FOR A CERTAIN PERIOD BEFORE BEING RELICENSED, TO DELETE THE CONDITIONS UPON WHICH A BONDSMAN MAY SIGN OR COUNTERSIGN BLANK BAIL BONDS, OR AUTHORIZE ANOTHER TO COUNTERSIGN HIS NAME TO BONDS, TO SUBSTITUTE "COMPANY APPOINTING SURETY BONDSMAN" FOR "INSURER" AND REQUIRE THAT ALL BONDS WRITTEN BY A SURETY BONDSMAN SHALL HAVE ATTACHED THE INDIVIDUAL POWER OF ATTORNEY IN THE AMOUNT OF THE BOND, TO REVISE THE PROCEDURE THAT ALLOWS THE SUBSTITUTION OF BAIL BY SURETIES BY REQUIRING THE FILING OF A NEW UNDERTAKING WITH THE COURT EXECUTED BY THE DEFENDANT AND THE SURETIES WHEN BAIL IS SUBSTITUTED BY SURETIES, TO REVISE THE REQUIREMENT THAT A BONDSMAN SHALL MAINTAIN CERTAIN DEPOSITS WITH A CLERK OF COURT BY REQUIRING A MINIMUM OF TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS IN COLLATERAL BE IN THE FORM OF CASH OR CERTIFICATES OF DEPOSIT WITH THE REMAINING COLLATERAL IN THE FORM OF REAL ESTATE, AND TO REVISE THE PENALTY FOR VIOLATIONS OF PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN THIS CHAPTER.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Chapter 53 of Title 38 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
Section 38-53-10. As used in this chapter:
(1) '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 or personal property to the extent necessary to satisfy reasonably 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 is 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 principal 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 principal's liability to the surety by reason of a breach in the conditions of the bail bond.
(2) 'Bail bond' means an undertaking by the principal to appear in court as required upon penalty of forfeiting bail to the State in a stated amount and may include an unsecured appearance bond, a premium-secured appearance bond, an appearance bond secured by a cash deposit of the full amount of the bond, an appearance bond secured by a mortgage, and an appearance bond secured by at least one surety.
(3) 'Bail bondsman' means a surety bondsman, professional bondsman, or an accommodation bondsman as defined in this chapter.
(4) 'Clerk of Court', unless otherwise specified, means the clerk of the circuit court of the county in the State state where the bondsman currently is currently writing or obligated on the majority of those bail bonds which he has written or on which he is obligated.
(5) 'Court', unless otherwise specified, means circuit court.
(6) 'Insurer' means any a domestic, foreign, or alien surety company which has qualified generally to transact surety business and specifically to transact bail bond business in this State.
(6)(7) 'Obligor' means a principal or a surety on a bail bond.
(7)(8) 'Principal' means a defendant or witness obligated to appear in court as required upon penalty of forfeiting bail under a bail bond.
(8)(9) 'Professional bondsman' means any a 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)(10) '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, to assist in the apprehension and surrender of the defendant to the court, keeping the defendant under necessary surveillance, or to execute 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)(11) 'Surety' means one a person who, with the principal, is liable for the amount of the bail bond upon forfeiture of bail.
(11)(12) 'Surety bondsman' means any a 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)(13) 'Appropriate judge' means a magistrate, municipal, or circuit court judge who has jurisdiction over the defendant.
(13)(14) 'Good cause' means the violation of a specific term of the bail bond not to include the nonpayment of fees.
Section 38-53-20. The director or his designee, clerks of court, and the State Law Enforcement Division have full power and authority to shall administer those the provisions of this chapter for which they are charged with implementing. The department shall promulgate regulations to enforce the purposes and provisions of this chapter. The director may shall hire employees, examiners, investigators, and other assistants as he considers necessary and shall prescribe their duties.
Section 38-53-30. No An undertaking is not invalid, nor may any shall a person be discharged from his undertaking, a forfeiture be stayed, the judgment on the undertaking be stayed, set aside, or reversed, nor the collection of the judgment be barred or defeated by reason of any a defect, omission, or failure to note or record the default of any a principal or surety, because the undertaking was entered into on a Sunday or other holiday or because of any other another irregularity, if it appears from the tenor of the undertaking that the official before whom it was entered into was legally authorized to take it and if the amount of bail was stated.
The liability of a person on an undertaking is not affected by reason of the lack of any qualifications, sufficiency, or competency provided in any other another law in this State, by reason of any other another agreement whether or not the agreement is expressed in the undertaking, or because the defendant has not joined in the undertaking.
Section 38-53-40. Each A surety for the release of a person on bail must be qualified as:
(a) an insurer and represented by a surety bondsman;
(b) a professional bondsman; or
(c) an accommodation bondsman.
Section 38-53-50. (A) A surety desiring to surrender a defendant be relieved on a bond for 'good cause' or the nonpayment of fees must give three days' notice to the defendant and his attorney of his intention to attempt to revoke the bail bond. shall file with the court a motion to be relieved. A copy of the motion must be served on the defendant, his attorney, and the solicitor's office. The court then shall schedule a hearing to determine if the surety should be relieved on the bond and advise all parties of the hearing date. After the three-day period has expired, the surety shall then take the defendant before the appropriate judge and show good cause why he should be relieved to obtain a commitment order and deliver it together with the defendant to the official in charge of incarcerating defendants. However, if circumstances exist in which incarceration of the defendant is required to prevent imminent violation of the specific terms of the bail bond, the surety may take the defendant before the appropriate judge for a commitment order. If the appropriate judge is not available within a reasonable period of time or if circumstances warrant immediate incarceration of the defendant, the surety may deliver the defendant with an affidavit stating the facts to support the surrender of the defendant for good cause. If the surety surrenders the defendant with an affidavit, the surety must take the defendant before the next available appropriate judge for a commitment order. A surety who surrenders a defendant with an affidavit for less than good cause is subject to penalties imposed for perjury as provided in Article 1, Chapter 9 of Title 16.
(B) The court, at the hearing, may order the surety to refund to the defendant any fees paid toward the bail bond after deducting the surety's actual costs, reasonable expenses, and reasonable fees, as determined by the court. If the circumstances warrant immediate incarceration of the defendant to prevent imminent violation of any of the specific terms of the bail bond, or if the defendant has violated any of the specific terms of the bond, the surety may take the defendant to the appropriate detention facility for holding until the court orders that the surety is relieved. The surety must file immediately with the detention facility and the court an affidavit stating the facts to support the surrender of the defendant for good cause or the nonpayment of fees. When the affidavit is filed with the court, the surety also must file a motion to be relieved on the bond pursuant to subsection (A). A surety who surrenders a defendant and files an affidavit which does not show good cause or the nonpayment of fees is subject to penalties imposed for perjury as provided for in Article 1, Chapter 9 of Title 16.
(C) After the surety has been relieved by order of the court, a new undertaking must be filed with the appropriate court in order to secure the re-release of the defendant. The undertaking must contain the same conditions included in the original bond unless the conditions have been changed by the court.
Section 38-53-60. For the purpose of surrendering the defendant, the surety may shall arrest him before the forfeiture of the undertaking or, by his written authority endorsed on a certified copy of the undertaking, may shall request any a judicial officer to order the arrest of the defendant by the surety.
Section 38-53-70. At any time before Before execution is issued on a judgment of forfeiture against a principal defendant or his surety, the court may direct that the judgment be remitted in whole or in part, upon conditions as the court may impose, if it appears that justice requires the remission of part or all of the judgment. In making a determination as to remission of the judgment, the court shall consider the costs to the State or any a county or municipality resulting from the necessity to continue or terminate the principal's defendant's trial and the efforts of law enforcement officers or agencies to locate the principal. defendant. The court in its discretion may permit the surety to pay the estreatment in installments of up to six months. If the defendant is surrendered to the appropriate detention facility and the surety complies with the recommitment procedures before an installment is due, the surety is relieved of further liability.
Section 38-53-80. No A person may not act in the capacity of a bail professional bondsman, surety bondsman, or runner or perform any of the functions, duties, or powers prescribed for bail professional or surety bondsmen or runners under the provisions of this chapter unless that person is qualified and, except as regards an for an accommodation bondsman, licensed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. No license may be issued to a professional bondsman, surety bondsman, or runner except as provided in this chapter.
The applicant shall apply for a license or renewal of a license on forms prepared and supplied by the director or his designee. The director or his designee may ask the applicant any questions, written or otherwise, relating to his qualifications, residence, prospective place of business, and any other inquiries which, in the opinion of the director or his designee, are necessary in order to protect the public and ascertain the qualifications of the applicant. The director or his designee shall request that the State Law Enforcement Division conduct any a reasonable investigation relative to the determination of the applicant's fitness to be licensed or to continue to be licensed.
The failure of the applicant to secure approval of the director or his designee does shall not preclude him from applying as many times as he desires, but no application may be considered by the director or his designee within one year subsequent to the date upon which the director or his designee denied the last application.
Section 38-53-86. (A) An applicant for a license to work as a professional bondsman, surety bondsman, or runner must complete not less than twenty hours of education in subjects pertinent to the duties and responsibilities of professional and surety bondsmen or runners, including all laws and regulations related to being a professional bondsman, surety bondsman, or runner. A standard written examination must be administered at the conclusion of the course work. Each applicant must pass the examination before he is licensed.
A person licensed as a professional bondsman, surety bondsman, or runner must complete annually not less than six hours of continuing education in subjects related to the duties and responsibilities of professional bondsmen, surety bondsmen, or runners before renewal of his license. The continuing education courses shall not include a written or oral examination.
(B) A person licensed as a professional bondsman, surety bondsman, or runner before the effective date of this section is not required to complete twenty hours of education before being licensed, but must complete six hours of continuing education courses in order to have his license renewed.
(C) The Department of Insurance shall establish an education curriculum for bondsman licensure. The department may contract with a third party to perform this function. The department must approve the courses offered by a third party contractor and ensure that the courses meet the standards for education established by this section and the department. The department also must approve a standard written examination to be administered by any third party contractor to be administered at the conclusion of the twenty-hour course work.
(D) A person who falsely represents that he has met the educational requirements of this section is subject, after being afforded notice and a due process hearing by the department, to the penalty provided in Section 38-53-340.
(E) The director shall promulgate regulations for the effective administration of this section.
Section 38-53-90. Before a license is issued to an applicant permitting him to act as a professional bondsman, surety bondsman, or runner, the applicant shall furnish to the director or his designee a complete set of his fingerprints and a recent passport size full-face photograph of himself. The applicant's fingerprints must be certified by an authorized law enforcement officer.
Before being issued the license, every applicant for a license as a professional bondsman, surety bondsman, or runner shall satisfy certify to the director or his designee that he:
(a) is eighteen years of age or older;
(b) is a resident of this State;
(c) is a person of good moral character and has not been convicted of a felony or any a crime involving moral turpitude within the last ten years;
(d) has knowledge, training, or experience of sufficient duration and extent to satisfy reasonably the director or his designee that he possesses the competence necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of a licensee.
Section 38-53-100. (a)(A) A license fee of four hundred dollars must be paid to the director or his designee with each application for license as a professional or surety bondsman. The first year after enactment the director or his designee shall forward four hundred dollars to the State Treasurer to be placed in the general fund;. however However, of the four hundred dollars, the amount of two hundred dollars must be paid over to the director or his designee to offset those the costs he incurs under the provisions of this chapter, and two hundred dollars must be paid over to the State Law Enforcement Division to offset those the costs it may incur under the provisions of this chapter. Any applicant paying the initial license fee required by this section prior to July 1, 1987, is not required to pay any license renewal fee prior to July 1, 1987.
(b)(B) A license fee of two hundred dollars must be paid to the director or his designee with each application for a license as a runner. The first year after enactment, the director or his designee shall forward two hundred dollars to the State Treasurer to be placed in the general fund; however, of the two hundred dollars, the amount of one hundred dollars must be paid over to the director or his designee to offset those costs he incurs under the provisions of this chapter, and one hundred dollars must be paid over to the State Law Enforcement Division to offset those costs it incurs under the provisions of this chapter. Any applicant paying the initial license fee required by this section prior to July 1, 1987, is not required to pay any license renewal fee prior to July 1, 1987.
(c)(C) Beginning the second year after enactment, the The director or his designee shall forward forty percent of all fees collected under subsections (a) (A) and (b) (B) of this section to the clerk of court of the county where the principal place of business of the bondsman or runner is located. The remaining sixty percent of collected fees must be forwarded to the State Treasurer to be placed in the general fund of which one-third must be paid to the State Law Enforcement Division and two-thirds paid to the director or his designee to offset expenses incurred under the provisions of this chapter.
(d)(D) In addition to the fees herein provided, a professional or surety bondsman shall pay to the clerk of court of any his home county where he is doing business other than the county of his principal place of business the sum of one hundred dollars annually to be paid directly to and retained by the clerk. In addition, each bondman and runner shall pay to any other county where he is doing business fifty dollars to the clerk of court. The fee must be paid annually to the clerk of court and deposited in an account maintained by the clerk of court. Any applicant paying the initial license fee required by this section prior to July 1, 1987, is not required to pay any license renewal fee prior to July 1, 1987.
Section 38-53-105. In addition to the other requirements of this chapter, a surety bondsman shall pay to the clerk of court of each county where he does business other than the county of his principal place of business the sum of one hundred dollars. The fee must be paid annually and directly to the clerk of court who shall deposit it in an account maintained by him for the collection of fees. Reserved.
Section 38-53-110. In addition to the other requirements of this chapter, an applicant for a professional or surety bondsman's license shall furnish annually a detailed financial statement under oath and in a form as the director or his designee may require. The statement is subject to the same examination as is prescribed by law for domestic insurance companies.
Section 38-53-120. In addition to the other requirements of this chapter, an applicant for a license to be a runner shall show affirmatively that:
(a) the applicant he will be employed by only one bail bondsman who shall supervise the work of the applicant and is responsible for the runner's conduct in the bail bond business;
(b) the application is endorsed by the appointing bail bondsman who shall obligate himself in the application to supervise the runner's activities.
Section 38-53-130. Except as provided in this chapter, an applicant for a license to be a professional bondsman or runner is required to take a written examination testing his ability and qualifications. The examination may be prepared and administered by the director or his designee, or the director or his designee may, in his discretion, enter into an arrangement with a competent outside testing authority for the administration of the examinations. In the event that the director or his designee enters into an arrangement with an outside testing authority to administer examinations, the scope, content, and subject matter of the examination administered, as well as all registration, fee, and test procedure requirements of the outside testing authority, at all times, are subject to the approval of and modification by the director or his designee. The failure of an applicant to pass an examination does not preclude him from taking subsequent examinations; however, at least six months must elapse between such examinations. Reserved.
Section 38-53-140. All licenses issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter expire annually on June thirtieth unless revoked or suspended prior to before that time by the director or his designee or upon notice served upon the director or his designee that the employer of any a runner has canceled the licensee's authority to act for the employer.
A renewal license must be issued by the director or his designee to a licensee who has continually maintained his license in effect without further examination met the continuing education requirements contained in Section 38-53-86 upon the payment of a renewal fee of two hundred dollars in the case of for runners and four hundred dollars in the case of for professional and surety bondsmen, but the licensees are required in all other respects to comply with the provisions of this chapter. After the receipt of the licensee's application for renewal, the current license continues in effect until the renewal license is issued or denied for cause.
Section 38-53-150. (a)(A) The director or his designee may deny, suspend, revoke, or refuse to renew any license issued under this chapter for any of the following causes:
(1) for any cause sufficient to deny issuance of the original license;
(2) violation of any laws of this State relating to bail in the course of dealings under the license issued him to a bondsman or runner by the director or his designee;
(3) material misstatement, misrepresentation, or fraud in obtaining the license;
(4) misappropriation, conversion, or unlawful withholding of monies belonging to insurers or others and received in the conduct of business under the license;
(5) fraudulent or dishonest practices in the conduct of business under the license while conducting business as a licensee;
(6) conviction of a felony within the last ten years regardless of whether the conviction resulted from conduct in or related to the bail bond business;
(7) failure to comply with or violation of the provisions of this chapter or of any order of the director or his designee or regulation of the department;
(8) when in the judgment of the director or his designee the licensee has in the conduct of his affairs under the license demonstrated incompetency or untrustworthiness, that he is no longer in good faith carrying on the bail bond business, or that he is guilty of rebating, offering to rebate, or offering to divide the premiums received for the bond;
(9) for failing failure to pay any judgment or decree rendered on any forfeited undertaking in any court of competent jurisdiction;
(10) for charging or receiving as premium or compensation for the making of any deposit or bail bond any sum in excess of that permitted by this chapter;
(11) for requiring as a condition of his executing a bail bond that the principal agree to engage the services of a specified attorney.
(b)(B) The director or his designee, in lieu of revoking or suspending a license in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, in any one proceeding, by order, may require the licensee to pay to the director or his designee to be deposited in the general fund of the state State a monetary penalty as provided in Section 38-2-10(2) for each offense. Upon failure of the licensee to pay the penalty within twenty days after the mailing of the order, postage prepaid, registered, and addressed to the last known place of business of the licensee, unless the order is stayed by an order of a court of competent jurisdiction, the director or his designee may revoke the license of the licensee or may suspend the license for a period as he determines.
(C) A professional or surety bondsman or runner whose license has been revoked must not be issued another license of a period of one year and shall meet all requirements under this chapter before the department may relicense him.
Section 38-53-160. No A license may not be refused, suspended, or revoked, or renewal refused, except on reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard afforded the person licensed or seeking renewal of the license. Any An applicant for a license as a bail professional or surety bondsman or runner whose application has been denied or whose license has been suspended or revoked, or renewal of the license denied, has the right of appeal from the final order of the director or his designee to the Administrative Law Judge Division as provided by law.
Section 38-53-170. No bail A bondsman or runner may not:
(a) pay a fee or rebate or give or promise anything of value, directly or indirectly, to a jailer, law enforcement officer, committing magistrate, or any other another person who has power to arrest or hold in custody, or to any a public official or public employee in order to secure a settlement, compromise, remission, or reduction of the amount of any bail bond or the forfeiture of the bail bond, including the payment to the law enforcement officers, directly or indirectly, for the arrest or apprehension of a principal or principals who have caused a forfeiture;
(b) pay a fee or rebate or give anything of value to an attorney in bail bond matters, except in defense of any action on a bond;
(c) pay a fee or rebate or give or promise anything of value to the principal or anyone in his behalf;
(d) participate in the capacity of an attorney at a trial or hearing of one on whose bond he is surety, nor suggest or advise the employment of or name for employment any particular attorney to represent his principal;
(e) accept anything of value from a principal except the premium, which may shall not exceed fifteen percent of the face amount of the bond, with a minimum fee of twenty-five dollars. However, the bondsman is permitted to accept collateral security or other indemnity from the principal which must be returned upon final termination of liability on the bond. The bondsman shall identify who is paying the premium and shall represent that the collateral security or other indemnity has not been obtained from any a person who has a greater interest in the principal's disappearance than appearance for trial. The collateral security or other indemnity required by the bondsman must be reasonable in relation to the amount of the bond;
(f) solicit business in any of the courts a court or on the premises of any of the courts a court of this State, in the office of any a magistrate, or in or about any a place where prisoners are confined. Law enforcement officers and jailers shall report any violations a violation of this provision to the court. Any An action taken pursuant to this provision resulting in a conviction, guilty plea, or plea of nolo contendere pursuant to Section 38-53-340 must be reported to the director or his designee by the court within thirty days;
(g) advise or assist the principal for the purpose of forfeiting bond.
Section 38-53-180. When a bail professional or surety bondsman accepts collateral, he shall give a written receipt for the collateral. This receipt shall give in detail a full description of the collateral received.
Section 38-53-190. No A sheriff, deputy sheriff, other law enforcement officer, judicial official, attorney, parole officer, probation officer, jailer, assistant jailer, employee of any court of this State, or other public employee assigned to duties relating to the administration of the court may shall not become a surety on a bail bond for any a person. No A person covered by this section may shall not act as agent for any a bonding company or professional bondsman, nor may shall he have an interest, directly or indirectly, in the financial affairs of any a firm or corporation whose principal business is acting as bondsmen. Nothing in this section prohibits any a person designated above from being a surety upon the bond of his spouse, parent, brother, sister, child, or descendant.
Section 38-53-200. A bail professional bondsman may not sign or countersign blank bail bonds, nor may he give a power of attorney to, or otherwise authorize, anyone to countersign his name to bonds unless the person so authorized is a licensed bondsman or runner directly employed by the bondsman giving power of attorney. Copies of all the powers of attorney and revocations of the powers of attorney issued by a company appointing surety bondsmen must be filed immediately with the department and the clerk of the circuit court of the county in the state where the bondsman giving the power of attorney is currently writing or is obligated on bail bonds.
Section 38-53-210. Every insurer A company appointing surety bondsmen shall annually, prior to before July first, furnish the clerk of court a list of all surety bondsmen appointed by it to write bail bonds on its behalf. Every insurer Each company who subsequently appoints a surety bondsman in the state State shall give notice of the appointment to the director or his designee and clerk of court of any county where the bondsman is doing business. All appointments are subject to the issuance of the proper insurance agent's license to the appointee.
An insurer terminating the appointment of a surety bondsman shall file written notice of the termination with the department, together with a statement that it has given or mailed notice to the surety bondsman and to the clerks of the Circuit Courts circuit courts of the counties in the state where the insurer has been obligated on bail bonds through the agent within the past three years. Notice filed with the department shall state the reasons, if any, for termination. Information so furnished the director or his designee is privileged and may not be used as evidence in, or as the basis for, any action against the insurer or any of its representatives. All bonds written by the surety bondsman shall have attached to them the individual power of attorney in the amount of the bond.
Section 38-53-220. Any bail A professional or surety bondsman who discontinues writing bail bonds during the period for which he is licensed shall notify the clerks of the Circuit Courts circuit courts with whom he is registered and return his license to the director or his designee for cancellation within thirty days after discontinuance.
Section 38-53-230. Every A person licensed as a bail professional or surety bondsman may appoint as runner any person who has been issued a runner's license. Each bail bondsman shall before July second of each year furnish to the clerk of court of each county where he is doing business and the director or his designee a list of all runners appointed by him. Each bail bondsman who, subsequent to the filing of this list, appoints additional persons as runners shall file written notice with the clerk of court of each county where he is doing business and the director or his designee of the appointment.
A bail bondsman terminating the appointment of a runner shall file written notice of the termination with the clerk of court and the director or his designee together with a statement that he has given or mailed notice to the runner. Notice filed with the clerk of court and the director or his designee shall state the reasons, if any, for termination. Information so furnished the director or his designee is privileged and may not be used as evidence in any action against the bail bondsman.
Section 38-53-240. If money or bonds have been deposited, bail by sureties may be substituted for deposit at any time before a breach of the undertaking by filing a new undertaking with the court, executed by the defendant and the sureties. The official taking the new bail shall make an order that the money or bonds be refunded to the person depositing them. They must be refunded accordingly, and the original undertakings must be canceled.
Section 38-53-250. When the defendant has been admitted to bail, he, or another person in his behalf, may deposit with an official authorized to take bail a sum of money or nonregistered bonds of the United States, of the State, or of any county, city, or town within the State, equal in market value to the amount of the bail, together with his personal undertaking, and an undertaking of any other person, if the money or bonds are deposited by that person. Upon delivery to the official, in whose custody the defendant is, of a certificate of deposit, he must be discharged from custody.
When bail other than a deposit of money or bonds has been given, the defendant or the surety may, at any time before a breach of the undertaking, may deposit the sum mentioned in the undertaking, and, upon deposit being made, accompanied by a new undertaking, the original undertaking is canceled.
Section 38-53-260. No A professional bail or security bondsman may not become a surety on an undertaking unless he has registered his current license in the office of the clerk of the circuit court in the county in which he resides and registered a certified copy of the license with the clerk of the circuit court in any other county in which he writes bail bonds.
A surety bondsman shall also annually register a certified copy of his current power of appointment with the clerk of the circuit court where he resides and in any other county where he writes bail bonds on behalf of an insurer.
Section 38-53-270. Each professional or surety bondsman acting as surety on bail bonds in this State shall maintain security deposits with the clerk of court of the county in which the bondsman has his primary place of business equal to at least one-fourth of the amount of all bonds or undertakings written in this State on which he is absolutely or conditionally liable as of the first day of the current month. The deposits must be in the form of either passbook savings accounts or certificates of deposit of building and loan associations chartered by this State or federal savings and loan associations located within this State in which deposits are guaranteed by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, not to exceed the amount covered by insurance, or of national banks located within this State or banks chartered by this State in which deposits are guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, not to exceed the amount covered by insurance, or by the pledge of the appraised value of real estate in South Carolina over any recorded mortgages and contracts of sale. The value shall be determined by the county tax assessor for the county where the subject property is located. The interest paid on the deposits may be collected by the bondsman. The amount of the deposits must be reconciled with the bondsman's liabilities as of the first day of the month before the sixteenth of the month. The value of the deposits may not be less than five thousand dollars. The first ten thousand dollars of these deposits must be secured by passbook savings or certificates of deposits only. Any amounts above ten thousand dollars may be secured with pledges of other types of collateral approved by the clerk of court. A minimum of ten thousand dollars of collateral must be cash deposited with the clerk of court or certificates of deposit pledged to the clerk of court. Any remaining collateral must be pledges of real estate whose value must be based upon the appraised value by the county tax assessor. The real estate must be free and clear of any encumbrances based upon a title opinion furnished to the clerk of court by the bondsman.
Section 38-53-280. The securities deposited by a professional or surety bondsman with the clerk of court must be held in trust for the sole protection and benefit of the holder of bail bonds executed by or on behalf of the undersigned bondsman in this State. A pro rata portion of the securities must be returned to the bondsman when the clerk of court is satisfied that the deposit of securities is in excess of the amount required to be maintained with him by the bondsman. All the securities must be returned if the clerk of court is satisfied that the bondsman has satisfied, or satisfactory arrangements have been made to satisfy, the obligations of the bondsman on all of his bail bonds written in the State. The clerk of court may sell or transfer any of the securities or utilize the proceeds of the securities for the purpose of satisfying the liabilities of the professional bondsman on bail bonds given in this State on which he is liable.
Section 38-53-290. With the securities deposited with the clerk of court, the professional bondsman shall at the same time shall deliver to the clerk of court a power of attorney on a form supplied by the clerk of court, executed and acknowledged by the professional bondsman, authorizing the sale or transfer of the securities or any part of the securities. The power of attorney must shall read as follows:
Know all men by these presents that I, __________, a professional bondsman, located in the County of __________, in the State of __________, do authorize and appoint for myself and my successors, heirs, and assigns the clerk of court of this county, in the name and in behalf of myself as professional bondsman, my attorney to sell or transfer any securities deposited or that may be deposited by me as professional bondsman with the clerk of court, under the laws and regulations requiring a deposit of securities to be made by professional bondsmen doing business in the State of South Carolina if the sale or transfer is considered necessary by the clerk of court to pay any liability arising under a bond which purports to be given by the undersigned bondsman in any county in this State, and execution has been issued against me as bondsman pursuant to a judgment on the bond, and the judgment has not been satisfied. The securities so deposited are to be held in trust by the clerk of court for the sole protection and benefit of the holder of bail bonds executed by or on behalf of the undersigned bondsman.
In witness whereof, I have set my hand and affixed my seal this ___ day of __________, 19___.
My commission expires:
Section 38-53-300. Any A professional bondsman whose security deposits with the clerk of court are reduced in value below the requirements of this chapter shall, immediately upon receipt of a notice of additional securities as are necessary to comply with the law. No A professional bondsman may shall not sign, endorse, execute, or become a surety on any additional bail bonds or pledge or deposit any cash, check, or other security of any nature in lieu of a bail bond in any county in this State until the time he has made the additional deposit of securities as required by the notice of deficiency.
Section 38-53-310. Each professional bail bondsman shall file with the clerk of court of the county of his principal place of business and any other county where he is doing business a written report in a form prescribed by the director or his designee regarding all bail bonds on which he is liable as of on the first day of each month showing:
(a) each individual bonded;
(b) the date the bond was given;
(c) the principal sum of the bond;
(d) the state or local official to whom given;
(e) the fee charged for the bonding service in each instance. The report must be filed before the sixteenth day of each month.
Section 38-53-320. Whenever the director or his designee considers it necessary, he shall visit and examine or cause to be visited and examined by some a competent person appointed by him for that purpose any a professional bail bondsman subject to the provisions of this chapter. For this purpose the director or his designee or person making the examination has free access to all books and papers of the bondsman that relate to his business and to the books and papers kept by any of his agents or runners.
Section 38-53-330. No A professional bondsman may not act as a surety on any a bail bond whose principal sum is in excess of one-half of the value of the securities deposited with the clerk of court at that time.
Section 38-53-340. Any A person violating any of the provisions of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.