Current Status Bill Number:View additional legislative information at the LPITS web site.
2383Ratification Number: 287Act Number: 189Introducing Body: HouseSubject: Insurance, bail bondsmen and runners
(A189, R287, H2383)
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 38, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO INSURANCE, BY ADDING CHAPTER 63 SO AS TO DEFINE TERMS RELATING TO BAIL BONDSMEN AND RUNNERS; TO PROVIDE THE POWER AND AUTHORITY FOR THE CHIEF INSURANCE COMMISSIONER, CLERKS OF COURT, AND THE STATE LAW ENFORCEMENT DIVISION TO ADMINISTER THE PROVISIONS OF CHAPTER 63; TO PROVIDE FOR THE SITUATIONS UNDER WHICH BAIL BONDS ARE VALID; TO PROVIDE FOR THE QUALIFICATIONS OF EACH SURETY; TO PROVIDE FOR SURRENDER OF THE DEFENDANT; TO PROVIDE FOR A FORFEITURE JUDGMENT AGAINST A PRINCIPAL OR HIS SURETY; TO PROVIDE FOR THE LICENSING OF PROFESSIONAL BONDSMEN OR RUNNERS; TO PROVIDE FOR EXPIRATION AND RENEWAL OF THE LICENSES; TO PROVIDE FOR LICENSE FEES; TO PROVIDE THE SITUATIONS UNDER WHICH THE COMMISSIONER MAY DENY, SUSPEND, REVOKE, REFUSE TO RENEW ANY LICENSE, OR REQUIRE THE LICENSEE TO PAY A CIVIL PENALTY; TO PROVIDE FOR NOTICE, OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD, AND APPEAL WHEN A LICENSE IS REFUSED, SUSPENDED, OR REVOKED, OR A RENEWAL REFUSED; TO PROVIDE FOR LIMITATIONS ON THE ACTIONS OF BAIL BONDSMEN OR RUNNERS; TO PROVIDE FOR ACCEPTANCE OF COLLATERAL BY BAIL BONDSMEN; TO PROVIDE FOR PERSONS NOT ALLOWED TO BECOME A SURETY OR AGENT FOR BONDING COMPANIES OR PROFESSIONAL BONDSMEN OR TO HAVE AN INTEREST IN FIRMS OR CORPORATIONS WHOSE PRINCIPAL BUSINESS IS ACTING AS BONDSMEN; TO PROVIDE FOR THE POWER OF ATTORNEY GIVEN BY BAIL BONDSMEN; TO PROVIDE FOR NOTIFICATION TO THE COMMISSIONER AND CLERK OF COURT OF ANY COUNTY WHERE THE BONDSMAN IS DOING BUSINESS OF SURETY BONDSMEN APPOINTED BY EACH INSURER; TO PROVIDE FOR THE RETURN OF A LICENSE WHEN BONDSMEN DISCONTINUE WRITING BAIL BONDS; TO PROVIDE FOR APPOINTMENT OF RUNNERS BY BAIL BONDSMEN; TO PROVIDE FOR THE DEPOSITING OF BAIL IN ORIGINAL AND NEW UNDERTAKINGS; TO PROVIDE FOR THE REGISTERING OF LICENSES BY PROFESSIONAL BAIL BONDSMEN AND POWERS OF APPOINTMENT BY SURETY BONDSMEN; TO PROVIDE FOR THE DEPOSIT OF SECURITIES BY BONDSMEN ACTING AS SURETIES ON BAIL BONDS WHICH ARE TO BE HELD IN TRUST BY THE CLERK OF COURT OF THE COUNTY IN WHICH THE BONDSMAN HAS HIS PRIMARY PLACE OF BUSINESS; TO PROVIDE FOR THE POWER OF ATTORNEY AUTHORIZING THE CLERK OF COURT TO SELL OR TRANSFER SECURITIES DEPOSITED BY PROFESSIONAL BONDSMEN; TO PROVIDE FOR NOTICE OF DEFICIENCY OF SECURITY DEPOSITS TO THE BONDSMEN BY THE CLERK OF COURT; TO PROVIDE FOR THE REPORTS REGARDING BAIL BONDS TO BE FILED BY THE BONDSMEN; TO PROVIDE FOR VISITS BY THE COMMISSIONER TO BAIL BONDSMEN; TO PROVIDE THAT BONDSMEN MAY NOT ACT AS SURETIES ON ANY BAIL BOND WHOSE SUM IS IN EXCESS OF ONE-HALF OF THE VALUE OF THE DEPOSITED SECURITIES; TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS; AND TO PROVIDE THAT NO BAIL BONDSMAN OR RUNNER IS REQUIRED TO BE LICENSED UNTIL TWO HUNDRED SEVENTY DAYS AFTER THE GOVERNOR'S APPROVAL.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Bail bondsmen and runners
SECTION 1. Title 38 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
BAIL BONDSMEN AND RUNNERS
Section 38-63-10. When used in this chapter:
(a) '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 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 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.
(b) '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.
(c) 'Bail bondsman' means a surety bondsman, professional bondsman, or an accommodation bondsman as defined in this chapter.
(d) 'Clerk of Court' unless otherwise specified, means the clerk of the circuit court of the county in the state where the bondsman is currently writing or obligated on the majority of those bail bonds which he has written or on which he is obligated.
(e) 'Commissioner' means the Chief Insurance Commissioner.
(f) 'Insurer' means any domestic, foreign, or alien surety company which has qualified generally to transact surety business and specifically to transact bail bond business in this State.
(g) 'Obligor' means a principal or a surety on a bail bond.
(h) 'Principal' means a defendant or witness obligated to appear in court as required upon penalty of forfeiting bail under a bail bond.
(i) '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 thing of value for the pledge.
(j) '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.
(k) 'Surety' means one who, with the principal, is liable for the amount of the bail bond upon forfeiture of bail.
(l) 'Surety bondsman' means any person who is approved by and licensed under the provisions of this chapter 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.
Section 38-63-20. The commissioner, clerks of court, and the State Law Enforcement Division shall have full power and authority to administer those provisions of this chapter for which they are charged with implementing. The commissioner shall promulgate regulations to enforce the purposes and provisions of this chapter. The commissioner may hire employees, examiners, investigators, and other assistants as they consider necessary, and shall prescribe their duties.
Section 38-63-30. No undertaking is invalid, nor may any 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 defect, omission, failure to note or record the default
of any principal or surety, because the undertaking was entered into on a Sunday or other holiday or because of any other 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 law in this State, by reason of any other agreement whether or not the agreement is expressed in the undertaking, or because the defendant has not joined in the undertaking.
Section 38-63-40. Each 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 38-63-50. The person desiring to make a surrender of the defendant shall obtain a copy of the undertaking and deliver it together with the defendant to the official in whose custody the defendant was at the time bail was taken or to the official into whose custody he would have been given had he been committed. The official shall detain the defendant in his custody and by a certificate in writing acknowledge the surrender.
Upon the presentation of the copy of the undertakings and the certificate of the official, the court before which the defendant has been held to answer or the court in which the preliminary examination, warrant, indictment, information, or appeal is pending, upon notice of three days given by the person making the surrender to the prosecuting officer of the court having jurisdiction of the offense, together with a copy of the undertakings and certificate, shall order that the obligors be exonerated from liability of their undertakings. If money or bonds have been deposited as bail, the money or bonds must be refunded.
Section 38-63-60. For the purpose of surrendering the defendant, the surety may arrest him before the forfeiture of the undertaking, or by his written authority endorsed on a certified copy of the undertaking, may request any judicial officer to order the arrest of the defendant by the surety.
Section 38-63-70. At any time before execution is issued on a judgment of forfeiture against a principal 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 county or municipality resulting from the necessity to continue or terminate the principal's trial and the efforts of law enforcement officers or agencies to locate the principal.
Section 38-63-80. No person may act in the capacity of a bail bondsman or runner or perform any of the functions, duties, or powers prescribed for bail bondsmen or runners under the provisions of this chapter unless that person is qualified and, except as regards an accommodation bondsman, licensed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. No license may be issued to a professional 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 commissioner, and the commissioner may ask the applicant for a license under this chapter or on any renewal of a license any questions, written or otherwise, relating to his qualifications, residence, prospective place of business, and any other inquiries which, in the opinion of the commissioner, are considered necessary in order to protect the public and ascertain the qualifications of the applicant. The commissioner must request that the State Law Enforcement Division conduct any 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 commissioner does not preclude him from applying as many times as he desires, but no applications may be considered by the commissioner within one year subsequent to the date upon which the commissioner denied the last application.
Section 38-63-90. All licenses issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter expire annually on June thirtieth unless revoked or suspended prior to that time by the commissioner or upon notice served upon the commissioner that the employee of any runner has canceled the licensee's authority to chapter for the employer.
Section 38-63-100. Before a license is issued to an applicant permitting him to act as a professional bondsman or runner, the applicant shall furnish the commissioner 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 or runner shall satisfy the commissioner 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 crime involving moral turpitude within the last ten years;
(d) has knowledge, training, or experience of sufficient duration and extent to reasonably satisfy the commissioner that he possesses the competence necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of a licensee.
Section 38-63-110. (a) A license fee of four hundred dollars must be paid to the commissioner with each application for license as a professional bondsman. The first year after enactment the commissioner shall forward four hundred dollars to the State Treasurer to be placed in the general fund; provided that of the four hundred dollars, the amount of two hundred dollars shall be paid over to the commissioner to offset those costs he incurs under the provisions of this chapter, and two hundred dollars shall be paid over to the State Law Enforcement Division to offset those costs it may incur under the provisions of this chapter.
(b) A license fee of two hundred dollars must be paid to the commissioner with each application for a license as a runner. The first year after enactment, the commissioner shall forward two hundred dollars to the State Treasurer to be placed in the general fund; provided that of the two hundred dollars, the amount of one hundred shall be paid over to the commissioner to offset those costs he incurs under the provisions of this chapter, and one hundred dollars shall be paid over to the State Law Enforcement Division to offset those costs it incurs under the provisions of this chapter.
(c) Beginning the second year after enactment, the commissioner shall forward forty percent of all fees collected under the provisions of Section 38-63-110 (a) and (b) 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 shall be forwarded to the State Treasurer to be placed in the general fund of which one-third shall be paid to the State Law Enforcement Division and two-thirds paid to the commissioner to offset expenses incurred under the provisions of this chapter.
(d) In addition to the fees herein provided, a bondsman shall pay to the clerk of court of any 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 of court of said county.
Section 38-63-120. In addition to the other requirements of this chapter, an applicant for a professional bondsman's license shall furnish annually a detailed financial statement under oath and in a form as the commissioner may require. Any statement is subject to the same examination as is prescribed by law for domestic insurance companies.
Section 38-63-130. In addition to the other requirements of this chapter, an applicant for a license to be a runner shall affirmatively show that:
(a) the applicant 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 38-63-140. 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 commissioner, or the commissioner 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 commissioner 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 commissioner. The failure of an applicant to pass an examination does not preclude him from taking subsequent examinations; provided that at least six months shall elapse between such examinations.
Section 38-63-150. A renewal license must be issued by the commissioner to a licensee who has continually maintained his license in effect without further examination upon the payment of a renewal fee of two hundred dollars in case of runners and four hundred dollars in case of professional 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 38-63-160. (A) The commissioner 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, suspend, or revoke the license under any other provisions of this chapter;
(2) violation of any laws of this State relating to bail in the course of dealings under the license issued him by the commissioner;
(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;
(6) conviction of a felony within the last ten years and 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 or regulation of the commissioner;
(8) when in the judgment of the commissioner 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 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) The commissioner, in lieu of revoking or suspending a license in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, may, in any one proceeding, by order, require the licensee to pay to the commissioner to be deposited in the general fund of the State a civil penalty in the sum of five hundred dollars 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 commissioner may revoke the license of the licensee or may suspend the license for a period as he may determine.
Section 38-63-170. No license may be refused, suspended, or revoked, or renewal refused except on reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard afforded the person licensed or on renewal of the license. Any applicant for a license as a bail 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 commissioner to the circuit court of the county where the bail bondsman or runner resides.
Section 38-63-180. No bail bondsman or runner may:
(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 person who has power to arrest or hold in custody, or to any 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 not exceed fifteen percent of the face amount of the bond, with a minimum fee of twenty-five dollars, provided that 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 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 or on the premises of any of the courts of this State, in the office of any magistrate or in or about any place where prisoners are confined. Loitering in or about a magistrate's office or any place where prisoners are confined is prima facie evidence of soliciting;
(g) advise or assist the principal for the purpose of forfeiting bond.
Section 38-63-190. When a bail 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 38-63-200. No 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 become a surety on a bail bond for any person. No person covered by this section may act as agent for any bonding company or professional bondsman, nor may have an interest, directly or indirectly, in the financial affairs of any firm or corporation whose principal business is acting as bondsmen. Nothing in this section prohibits any person designated above from being a surety upon the bond of his spouse, parent, brother, sister, child, or descendant.
Section 38-63-210. A bail bondsman may not sign nor 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 must be filed immediately with the commissioner 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 38-63-220. Every insurer shall annually prior to 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 who subsequently appoints a surety bondsman in the State shall give notice of the appointment to the commissioner 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 commissioner, together with a statement that it has given or mailed notice to the surety bondsman and to the clerks of the 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 commissioner shall state the reasons, if any, for termination. Information so furnished the commissioner is privileged and must not be used as evidence in or basis for any action against the insurer or any of its representatives.
Section 38-63-230. Any bail bondsman who discontinues writing bail bonds during the period for which he is licensed shall notify the clerks of the circuit court with whom he is registered and return his license to the commissioner for cancellation within thirty days after discontinuance.
Section 38-63-240. Every person licensed as a bail 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 and the commissioner where he is doing business 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 and the commissioner where he is doing business 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 commissioner together with a statement that he has given or mailed notice to the runner. Notice filed with the clerk of court and the commissioner shall state the reasons, if any, for termination. Information so furnished the commissioner is privileged and must not be used as evidence in any action against the bail bondsman.
Section 38-63-250. If money or bonds have been deposited, bail by sureties may be substituted for deposit at any time before a breach of the undertaking. 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 38-63-260. When the defendant has been admitted to bail, he, or another 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, deposit the sum mentioned in the undertaking, and upon deposit being made, accompanied by a new undertaking, the original undertaking is cancelled.
Section 38-63-270. No professional bail bondsman may 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 38-63-280. Each professional bondsman acting as surety on bail bonds in this State shall maintain 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 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 by the pledge of the assessed value of real estate in South Carolina over any recorded mortgages and contracts of sale 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. 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 must not be less than five thousand dollars. The first ten thousand dollars of such deposits must be secured by passbook savings or certificates of deposits only. Any amounts above $10,000 may be secured with pledges of other types of collateral approved by the clerk of court.
Section 38-63-290. The securities deposited by a professional 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 38-63-300. With the securities deposited with the clerk of court, the professional bondsman shall at the same time 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 shall read as follows:
'Power of Attorney
Authorizing the Clerk of Court
to Sell or
Transfer Securities Deposited
by Professional Bondsmen
in South Carolina
Know all men by these presents, that_______ , a professional bondsman, located in the County of_________________ ,
in the State of________________ , has authorized and appointed for himself, his successors, heirs, and assigns, the clerk of court of this county, in the name and in behalf of the professional bondsman, his attorney to sell or transfer any securities deposited or that may be deposited by the 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 the bondsman pursuant to a judgment on the bond, and the judgment had 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 38-63-310. Any 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 deficiency from the clerk of court, deposit additional securities as are necessary to comply with the law. No professional bondsman may 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 as he has made the additional deposit of securities as required by the notice of deficiency.
Section 38-63-320. 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 commissioner regarding all bail bonds on which he is liable as of 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 38-63-330. Whenever the commissioner considers it necessary he shall visit and examine or cause to be visited and examined by some competent person appointed by him for that purpose any professional bail bondsman subject to the provisions of this chapter. For this purpose the commissioner 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 38-63-340. No professional bondsman may act as a surety on any 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 38-63-350. Any person, firm, association, or corporation violating any of the provisions of this chapter, upon conviction for each offense, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both."
SECTION 2. This chapter shall take effect upon approval by the Governor, except no bail bondsman or runner is required to be licensed under the provisions of this chapter until two hundred seventy days after approval by the Governor.