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TO AMEND SECTION 38-53-170, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO ACTS THAT A BONDSMAN OR RUNNER MAY NOT PERFORM, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT A BONDSMAN OR RUNNER MAY NOT RETRIEVE A BONDS LIST FROM A JAIL OR RETRIEVE ANY NAMES AND FAMILY RECORDS FROM ANY JAIL RECORDS; TO AMEND SECTION 38-53-340, RELATING TO PENALTIES FOR VIOLATING CERTAIN PROVISIONS THAT REGULATE THE ACTIVITIES OF BAIL BONDSMEN AND RUNNERS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT A PERSON WHO VIOLATES THESE PROVISIONS HAS COMMITTED A CRIME OF MORAL TURPITUDE, TO RECLASSIFY A VIOLATION FROM A MISDEMEANOR TO A FELONY, AND TO INCREASE THE PENALTY.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 38-53-170 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
No A bondsman or runner may not:
(a)(1) 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)(2) 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)(3) pay a fee or rebate or give or promise anything of value to the principal or anyone in his behalf;
(d)(4) 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 the principal;
(e)(5) 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. 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 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)(6) 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, retrieve a bonds list from a jail, or retrieve any names and family addresses from any jail records. Law enforcement officers and jailers shall report any violations of this provision to the court. Any 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; or
(g)(7) advise or assist the principal for the purpose of forfeiting bond."
SECTION 2. Section 38-53-340 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 38-53-340. A person violating any of the provisions of this chapter has committed a crime of moral turpitude, is guilty of a
misdemeanor felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars or and imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both one year."
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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