Fugitive Recovery Network

South Carolina Laws Regarding Bail Bonds & Bounty Hunters

Below is basic information on bail bond laws for South Carolina concerning Bail Enforcement, Bounty Hunters, Fugitive Apprehension and Bail Bondsman. This is not legal advice. Laws change frequently, please check the links provided for possible updates and current information.

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  1. Bail bond law state statutes:
      Code Of Laws Of South Carolina 1976 Annotated Title 38.  Insurance Chapter 53. Bail Bondsmen And Runners.

      Code Of Laws Of South Carolina 1976 Annotated Title 17.  Criminal Procedures Chapter 15. Bail And Recognizances

  2. Licensing requirements for Bail agents:
      Code Of Laws Of South Carolina 1976 Annotated Title 38.  Insurance Chapter 53. Bail Bondsmen And Runners § 38-53-10. Definitions:

        (3) “Bail bondsman” means a surety bondsman, professional bondsman, or an accommodation bondsman as defined in this chapter.

        (9) “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 things of value for the pledge.

        (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, assisting in the apprehension and surrender of the defendant to the court, keeping the defendant under necessary surveillance, and executing 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.

        (11) “Surety” means one who, with the defendant, is liable for the amount of the bail bond upon forfeiture of bail.

      § 38-53-80. License required of bail bondsman and runners.

      • No person may act in the capacity of a professional bondsman, surety bondsman, or runner or perform any of the functions, duties, or powers prescribed for professional or surety bondsmen or runners under the provisions of this chapter unless that person is qualified, except 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 failure of the applicant to secure approval of the [Insurance] director or his designee does 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 applicant’s last application.

      South Carolina 2000 Session Laws Regular Session Act 358 S.B. No. 1166 Insurance -  Licensed professional bondsman, surety bondsman, and runner SECTION 1. Section 38-53-85 of the 1976 Code, as added by Act 425 of 1998, is amended to read:

        (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 a professional and surety bondsman or runner, including all laws and regulations related to being a professional or surety bondsman or runner. A written examination must be administered at the conclusion of the course work. Each applicant must pass the examination before he can be licensed. Each 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 a professional and surety bondsman or runner before his license shall be renewed. The continuing education courses shall not include a written or oral examination. The six-hour annual requirement is in addition to the twenty-four hour continuing education requirement for surety insurance agents as required by Section 38-43-106.

        (B) A person licensed as a professional bondsman, surety bondsman, or runner before the effective date of this section is not required to complete the requisite twenty hours of education but must complete six hours of continuing education courses in order to have his license renewed.

        (C) The South Carolina Bail Agent’s Association or any other group or association approved by the Department of Insurance to provide educational courses to bondsmen must establish an educational curriculum for bondsman licensure. The Department of Insurance must approve the courses offered and ensure that the courses meet the standards for education established by this section and the department. The requirement of course work for licensure is not satisfied by a mail order course. The department must also approve a written examination to be administered by all groups who provide educational courses 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 an opportunity for a due process hearing by the Administrative Law Judge Division, to the penalty provided for in Section 38-53-340.

        (E) A professional bondsman, surety bondsman, or runner who is more than sixty years of age and who has at least twenty years of licensure is exempt from the continuing education requirements contained in this section.

        (F) The director shall establish rules and regulations for the effective administration of this section. Time effective

      • Approved the 6th day of June, 2000.

      Code Of Laws Of South Carolina 1976 Annotated Title 38.  Insurance Chapter 53. Bail Bondsmen And Runners § 38-53-90. Qualifications for licensure of professional bondsman, surety bondsman or runner.

        Before a license is issued to an applicant permitting him to act as a professional 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. 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 certify to the director 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 satisfy reasonably the director or his designee that he possesses the competence necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of a licensee.

      § 38-53-120. Additional requirements of runners.

        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 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.

      § 38-53-140. Expiration of license; renewal license.

        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 director or his designee or upon notice served upon the director or his designee that the employer of any 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 met the continuing education requirements in Section 38-53-85(A) upon the payment of a renewal fee of two hundred dollars for runners and four hundred dollars for 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.

      § 38-53-100. Fees.

        (A) A license fee of four hundred dollars must be paid to the director or his designee with each application for a license as a professional bondsman.
        (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.

      See also:

        § 38-53-110. Financial statement required.
        § 38-53-150. Denial, suspension, revocation, or refusal to renew license; monetary penalty.
        § 38-53-160. Notice and hearing required; right to appeal.
        § 38-53-170. Unlawful acts.
  3. Bail agent’s arrest authority.
      Code Of Laws Of South Carolina 1976 Annotated Title 38.  Insurance Chapter 53. Bail Bondsmen And Runners  § 38-53-60. Arrest of defendant.

        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.
  4. Bounty hunter (fugitive apprehension) provisions:
      At this time, there appear to be no specific regulations for “Bounty Hunters” in the South Carolina statutes.

        Carson v. Vance – 326 S.C. 543, 485 S.E.2d 126; S.C.App.- Apr 14, 1997

      • Bystander who had been shot while agent for North Carolina bail bond company attempted to apprehend bail jumper in South Carolina obtained default judgment in North Carolina against owner of company, who was North Carolina resident, and sought to enforce default judgment in South Carolina. The Circuit Court, Greenville County, Henry F. Floyd, J., granted plaintiff’s motion for enforcement, and defendant appealed. The Court of Appeals, Howard, J., held that:
          (1) actions of bond company’s agent which occurred in North Carolina were attributable to owner for purposes of determining whether owner was subject to personal jurisdiction in North Carolina, and
          (2) owner had sufficient contacts with North Carolina to allow exercise of jurisdiction.  Affirmed.
  5. Links to State and Local Authorities:

Please check with the South Carolina’s Department of Insurance, Licensing Board and/or Local Law Enforcement for the most recent updates. If you know of any updates to South Carolina’s bail bond laws, please provide as much detail as possible and send to us using our contact form.