Frequently Asked Questions

Facts and Questions

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  1. What are the types of bail bondsmen licensed in South Carolina?


There are three (3) types of bail bondsmen licensed in the State of South Carolina:

Professional Bondsman
A Professional Bondsman is any person who is approved and licensed under the provisions of Chapter 53, and who has pledged cash or approved securities with the Clerk of the 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.
[SC Code Section 38-53-9]

Surety Bondsman
A Surety Bondsman is any person who is approved and licensed by the Department of Insurance as a Surety 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. [SC Code Section 38-52-10(12)]

Runner Bondsman
A Runner Bondsman is any person employed by a 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, and keeping the defendant under necessary surveillance. [SC Code Section 38-53-10(10)].

  2. What are the requirements to become licensed as a bail bondsman in the
      State of South Carolina?

An applicant must be eighteen (18) years old or older, a resident of the State of South Carolina, and a person of good moral character who has not been convicted of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude within the last ten years, has knowledge, training, or experience of sufficient duration and extent to satisfy reasonably the Director of Insurance that he or she possesses the competence necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of a licensee. [SC Code 38-53-90]
  3. Are there any educational requirements?

Yes. The total number of pre-licensing educational hours required for a Professional or Surety Bondsman, or Runner is thirty (30) hours. A Professional Bondsman or Runner must pass the Professional Bondsman Runner State Examination Series [19-16], before obtaining a license.

A Surety Bondsman must pass the Professional Bondsman Runner State Examination Series [19-16], as well as the Surety Insurance Examination Series [19-08] before obtaining a license. Surety Bondsmen are licensed as Insurance Agents and are therefore required to take the Surety Insurance Exam.

  4. Are there any fees required of bondsmen?

Yes. Professional Bondsmen and Surety Bondsmen are required to pay the Clerk of the Court of his or home home county, the sum of one hundred fifity dollars ($150) annually for each licensee. There are no fees for Runner Bondsmen in their home county. Each Professional Bondsman, Surety Bondsman, and Runner is required to pay any other county where he or she is doing business the sum of one hundred dollars ($100) to the Clerk of the Court. [SC Code Section 38-53-100]
  5. How much money must a Professional Bondsman pledge to his or her home
      county to write bail bonds?

Each Professional Bondsman must maintain a minimum of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) in the form of a cash deposit or certificates of deposit.[SC Code 38-52-270]
  6. If a Professional Bondsman pledges the minimum deposit of ten thousand
      dollars($10,000), how much can he/she write in bail bonds?

A bondsman can write four (4) times the amount of collateral pledged to his/her home county Clerk of the Court. Example: $10,000 pledged as collateral will allow the bondsman to write up to $40,000 in bail bonds. [SC Code 38-52-270]
  7. Are Surety Bondmen required to pledge collateral?

Yes, Surety Bondsmen pledge a Power of Attorney that is issued by the Surety Insurance Company. [SC Code Section 38-53-260]
  8. Can I become a bondsman without obtaining a license from the Department
      of Insurance?

Yes, you can become surety on a bond and act as an accommodation bondsman without being licensed by the Department of Insurance. However, you must be eighteen (18) years
of age, a resident of the State of South Carolina, provide satisfactory evidence of ownership, value, and marketability of real property by pledging your collateral with the Clerk of the Court. You cannot receive or promise money or other things of value for this pledge. [SC Code 38-53-10(1)]
  9. What is the fee for a bondsman license?

The fee for a Professional Bondsman's license is $400. The Surety Bondsman's license is $40, and a Runner Bondsman's license is $200. [SC Code Section 38-53-100(A)(B)]
10. What fee may a bondsman charge to the public?

The fee that a bondsman can charge to the public may not be less than twenty-five ($25) and may not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the face amount of the bond.
[SC Code 38-53-170(E)]
11. Can a bondsman accept collateral?

Yes, a bondsman is permitted to accept collateral security or other indemnity from the principal, which must be returned to the principal once the case has been disposed of by the court. A written receipt (full description) for the collateral taken must be given.
[SC Code Setion 38-53-170(E)]
12. Is it required that a bondsman furnish a listing of bail bonds written to the
      Clerk of the Court?

Yes, each Professional Bondsman is required to furnish his/her home county Clerk of the Court and any other county where he/she is doing business, a written report of all bonds he/she is liable for as of the first day of each month. This report must be submitted to the County Clerk of the Court by the 15th day of each month. [SC Code Section 38-53-230]
13. Can a person be licensed as both a Professional Bondsman and a Surety
      Bondsman?

Yes.
14. When does a Bondsman/Runner license expire?

All licenses expire on June 30th of each year. [SC Code Section 38-53-140]
15. What happens if a bondsman exceeds his bonding limitation?

A bondsman who exceeds his limitation may 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 the State of South Carolina, untill he has made the additional deposit of securities. [SC Code Section 38-53-300]
16. Who has the power to enforce the laws that govern bail bondsmen?

The Department of Insurance, Clerk of the Court, and the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) have full power and authority to enforce the provisions of Chapter 53.
[SC Code Section 38-53-20]
17. Can a Runner Bondsman work for more than one bail bondsman?

No. A Runner Bondsman can only work for one (1) bail bondsman at a time, which shall supervise the work of the Runner and is responsible for the Runner's conduct in the bail bond business. [SC Code Section 38-53-120]
18. Are bondsmen subject to be audited by the Department of Insurance?

Yes, all bondsmen are subject to the same examination procedures prescribed by law for domestic insurance companies. The Department of Insurance has free access to all books and records of the bondsman, as it related to his bail bond business.
[SC Code Section 38-53-110]
19. What happens if a bondsman stops writing bail bonds?

A bondsman who discontinues writing bail bonds during the period he or she is licensed should notify the Clerk of the Court(s) with whom he/she is registered and return his or her license to the Department of Insurance within thirty (30) days after discontinuance of writing bail bonds. [SC Code Section 38-53-220]
20. What is the total number of educational hours required for a Professional
      Bondsman, Surety Bondsman, and Runner to retain their license?

Eight (8) hours of continuing education are needed every year for a Professional Bondsman, Surety Bondsman, and a Runner to retain their license. [SC Code Section 38-53-85]
21. Can Runners write bonds?

Yes. Runners are given a Power of Attorney from Professional Bondsman to write bonds on their behalf. [SC Code Section 38-53-10]
22. Is bounty hunting legal in the State of South Carolina?

No, bounting hunting is not legal in the State of South Carolina. No one can perform bail bondsman functions without first being licensed. [SC Code Section 38-53-10]

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