Bonds & Preliminary Hearings

The Bond Hearing

A Criminal Arrest is unnerving.  It is usually a surprise and is always poorly timed.  In the midst of that panic and confusion, the Defendant’s family is often forced to make several quick decisions- decisions that could unnecessarily cost them several thousands of dollars.

Having an attorney familiar with the Judges and the processes at that initial Bond Setting can often save thousands of dollars for the Defendant’s family! Peter has been representing Defendants at Bond Hearings for over thirty (30) years. Let his experience and reputation with the Bond Court work for you. Peter will always request and present justification for a Personal Recognizance (PR) Bond, which will not require a Bondsman or financial security to obtain your loved one’s release.  Often times, without the proper evidence being presented, a Judge will give a Surety Bond to secure the Defendant’s appearance at all further Court proceedings.

If a surety bond is given, often times a bondsman will charge from 5%-10% to bond your loved one out. This can get expensive; for example, if the bond is a Seventy Five Thousand ($75,000.00) Dollar Surety Bond- a Bondsman might require a fee between $3,750-$7,500.00.   You can now see the need for Peter to represent your loved one at that Initial Bond Setting.

After your loved one is out of the Detention Center, it is time to seek the best legal counsel you can reasonably afford.

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Make an intelligent and informed choice of an criminal defense attorney to start preparing for your hearing.

Next Steps

Gathering Evidence:

The next step in the process is your attorney’s request of any and all evidence against your loved one.  This step requires the filing of a Formal Legal Motion referred to as an Edwards/Rule Five (5) or “Discovery Motion.”  The State must acknowledge the filing of this Motion and respond Formally-providing every piece of evidence they possess that either implicates your loved one and even evidence they possess that serves to exonerate him or her. (Potentially prove them innocent!).

Peter and his Team will thoroughly review every aspect of the State’s Evidence in order to find Fatal Flaws in their case, which might lead to a dismissal or reduction of the Criminal charges.

The Preliminary Hearing:

The next Formal Hearing will the Preliminary Hearing, often referred to as the Probable Cause Hearing.   This is Peter’s first opportunity to formally question the Primary Case Agent in your loved one’s case, under sworn oath, on the witness stand, in front of a Judge, while being officially recorded.  This is an incredibly important Hearing and should not be waived, except under the most extraordinary circumstances.  The State has a skilled Assistant Solicitor assigned to elicit the key facts for the State in order for the case to be bound over for consideration for Indictment.  A strong defense and aggressive challenge of the State’s allegations can often lead to a reduction of the charges or even a Dismissal!

The Roll Call Dates, which appear on the initial Bond Forms from the Court, will have been set at the initial Bond Setting.  Please make sure these dates are noted on your calendar. Peter will get your loved one excused from these Roll Calls  -so no one misses work unnecessarily.

Meetings with Assistant Solicitor

There will be a series of meetings between Peter and the assigned Assistant Solicitor handling the Prosecution of your loved one.  At these meetings, there will be meaningful exchanges of evidence as well as in depth discussions regarding any and all legal defenses applicable.

It takes a talented attorney, with years of experience as a Criminal Defense Attorney, who possesses the reputation of being a skillful Courtroom Advocate, to read a Solicitor’s case and get the very best offers or results. If the case has been bound over at the Preliminary Hearing and the Prosecutor feels an a Formal Indictment for either the original or a reduced Criminal charge is still warranted- he will send the matter to the Grand Jury for Indictment.

Once the Defendant is Indicted,  his or her charge is Formalized and will require an appearance and Formal Proceedings to conclude the Criminal Matter- unless Peter can convince the Assistant Solicitor otherwise.

Formal offers are generally extended after the Discovery Phase has concluded and the meetings with the Assistant Solicitor have concluded.

You and your loved one will then be brought in to review the accumulated evidence, which might include but are not limited to: Videos, Police Reports, Written and/or oral Witness Statements, Physical Evidence Consideration, Circumstantial Evidence Consideration, Officer Sworn Testimony from Preliminary Hearings, Chemical Test Results and Chain of Custody Issues.It  is at this point in time Peter conveys the State’s Position on in regard to prosecuting the case.

There will be meaningful discussions of viable Defenses for your loved one.  These could range from Necessity to Defense of Others, to Stand Your Ground Hearings (Self Defense).  No possible Defense will be discarded until it has been considered in light of the Evidence in the State’s Possession. There has to be an immense degree of Trust and Confidence in your attorney- as his experience, skill and legal knowledge is the guiding force in recommending the appropriate path to minimize the impact of this arrest on your loved one and for the rest of the Family. Ultimately, if there is to be a Plea to a reduced charge- there will be the preparation of the presentation to the Court requesting a Probationary Sentence.

Possible Trial:

If there is a Trial- then there will be an immense amount of additional preparation necessary for every aspect- The Defendant’s testimony at Trial, the coaching and practice, the Legal challenges to every piece of the State’s Evidence with the supporting current case law.

Expert Witnesses need to be secured to challenge any questionable prosecution theories that might hurt the Defendant.

Suffice it to say, your choice in whom guides your case from start to finish, makes all the difference. This brief overview of the Criminal Justice Process is not complete, but it is a basic outline of the process one can expect as they or a loved one go through the legal system.

Go with Experience:

Please! If you don’t hire Peter, please hire an experienced Career Criminal Defense Attorney who has actually tried several cases to verdict, as a Criminal Defense Attorney.  You have the right to ask any lawyer you hire- if they have tried cases to verdict as a Defense Lawyer.

Your pending Criminal Charges should be the most important thing in your life.  Treat it that way.

Types of Bonds

Personal Recognizance

A Personal Recognizance (PR) bond allows for the release of a defendant before a trial without posting any actual money. It is a bond in which the defendant acknowledges to the court that he is indebted to the State in a particular amount to be paid if he does not appear for court when required.

Cash Bond

A Cash Bond means a defendant (his family) posts a sum of cash when the bond is set. These types of bonds are normally for municipal and magistrate level offenses unless specifically requested by an experienced defense attorney.

Surety Bond

A Surety Bond is a monetary amount posted by a surety (bondsperson) which allows for the accused’s release while awaiting a trial or plea. The surety acknowledges to the court/state, that they will be responsible for paying the full amount of the bond if the accused fails to appear for court as required by the terms and conditions.

Ten Percent (10%) Bond

This bond is similar to the Surety Bond, except that a friend or family member, rather than a bondsperson may post the amount required with the Clerk of Court. Once the case is closed, the amount used to satisfy the ten percent (10%) will be returned to the friend or family member who posted the bond with the Clerk of Court. This is the second most-desirable bond, since the client and his family do not lose the ten (10%) percent to a bondsman – but will get it returned to them.

Consent Bond

Often times, the long wait for a Bond Reconsideration Hearing can be eliminated if the Solicitor and the defense attorney can agree upon the amount and the terms and conditions of release. A Consent Bond is normally the product of very specific negotiations between the attorney for the State and the criminal defense attorney. Once retained, we can inquire with the prosecution whether this type of bond is an option or if a full Bond Reconsideration Hearing will be required to have the defendant released.

Types of Hearings

Bond Reconsideration Hearings

If the accused cannot meet the financial requirements of the initial bond set by the Magistrate, he may file a motion to have the court reconsider the terms. Our Charleston Criminal Defense law firm normally files this motion at the same time we request the Preliminary Hearing which challenges the facts surrounding the arrest. The Magistrate who presides over Preliminary Hearing Court is normally a different Judge than the one who set the initial bond immediately following the arrest. The hearing to request a modification of bond is scheduled and held in conjunction with the Preliminary Hearing for the purpose of judicial efficiency.

Often the positive facts that we bring out at the Preliminary Hearing allow the Magistrate to reduce the amount of the bond. The same two factors used in setting the bond are reviewed at the Bond Reconsideration Hearing: 1) risk of flight and 2) danger to the community, in conjunction with any changes in facts or circumstances surrounding the alleged crime that might have been discovered during the Preliminary Hearing. We routinely handle Bond Reduction Hearings and Preliminary Hearings. Peter David Brown has handled over one thousand (1,000+) Preliminary Hearings and Bond Reduction Hearings during his thirty (30) years of practicing law. This is an opportunity to present employers, family members and references to the Court in order to obtain a reasonable bond and get the defendant released the from jail.

General Sessions Bond Hearings and Reconsideration Hearings

A Cash Bond means a defendant (his family) posts a sum of cash when the bond is set. These types of bonds are normally for municipal and magistrate level offenses unless specifically requested by an experienced defense attorney.

Preliminary Hearing (Probable Cause Hearing)

A defendant has a statutory right to a Preliminary Hearing. This hearing must be requested within a certain period of time or it is forfeited. We routinely request and represent defendants at Preliminary Hearings. Peter Brown has handled well over a thousand Preliminary Hearings during his thirty (30) years of practicing law.

The Charleston criminal defense team at The Law Office of Peter David Brown, P.A. suggests that the defendant hire an attorney to represent his interests at this very important hearing. The prosecution is not required to produce all of their evidence, but only enough to establish the probable cause of the alleged criminal act. This hearing is the first opportunity for our office to require the arresting officer to testify under oath in regard to the actual facts and sequence of the events surrounding the alleged criminal conduct. We then have the opportunity to cross examine the police officer in regard to his testimony, any inconsistencies, and any relevant facts which the officer failed to address during his direct testimony for the State.

The State must provide the elements of the offense to the court in order to have the charge bound over. We consider this hearing an invaluable discovery tool in that it forces the State to reveal the basis of the criminal charges on the official record. Often times, the prosecutor will realize by the end of the Preliminary Hearing that the State’s case is not as strong as it appeared in the warrant and police report. This is obviously important, in that it can lead to a reduction in charges or a dismissal. There are occasions that the original charge is reduced, remanded or dismissed at the Preliminary Hearing, although this is not a very frequent occurrence. The standard of proof necessary to bind the charge over is merely “probable cause” as opposed to the standard requiring proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” that is required to convict the accused at a trial.

Fortunately and fortuitously the Preliminary Hearing also offers the experienced defense attorney a chance to speak informally with the arresting officer and the prosecutor about the ultimate outcome of the matter after these weaknesses in the State’s case have been exposed through cross examination and placed on the record. We rarely waive the Preliminary Hearing, except in extraordinary circumstances that must be favorable to the accused, such as negotiating a bond that is favorable to the defendant.

Please contact our experienced Charleston criminal defense law firm immediately to retain our services and have us begin investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding an arrest. The preparation before the Preliminary Hearing allows us to understand the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident. Armed with this knowledge, we can often begin to establish a defense to the allegations as early as the Preliminary Hearing. Contact us at (843) 737-6884.

What Our Clients are Saying

14:57 01 Nov 19
Exceptional experience with Peter David Brown Law office. I was always kept in the loop and was never once worried or concerned about the outcome of my case. They really did handle everything for me, and I will be forever greatful! Thanks again!
Chuck Jarman
Chuck Jarman
12:34 15 Sep 19
I have known Peter for a number of years. He has provide several of my family member and myself legal advise. He is very knowledgeable and has an outstanding understanding of the law. I would highly recommend him to anyone desiring legal counsel.
Cheryl Hair
Cheryl Hair
23:41 13 Sep 19
We have had extremely great service from Peter Brown's Law Office. Peter's entire staff gives you the personal service, that you do not get from any other firm. Peter personally has paid attention to every problem that we have hired his firm for. Peter Brown's Law Office has never overcharged us for any of the things that we have retained him to handle. We have had other Law firms look over our cases, but wanted an astronomical fee. This firm will fight for you, get things done for you in a timely manner and not over charge you for their services. There is no flashy commercials, telling you to dial 9999999, 7777777, or 8888888. This firm is straight forward, no silly gimmicks, jumping over cars, or dropping numbers from the sky!! I would not want to do business with silly gimmicky law firms.We would highly recommend that you trust the Law Office of Peter Brown, for all of your legal matters. You will be pleased with the fees, easy payment plan and the results of your case. This why we recommend Peter Brown's Law Firm to all of our family and friends.
joann jarman
joann jarman
22:54 13 Sep 19
Peter Brown handled two situations for my family honestly and fairly. I don't want to go into much detail regarding our interactions, but I will say one of the situations was life changing for my family. When you are faced with tough decisions, you need someone you can depend on. Peter Brown is that person. He helped us navigate the complex legal system and earned my complete trust. I hope I never need to call on his services again, but if I had to, I would not hesitate day or night.
Shannon Hutto
Shannon Hutto
17:27 08 Aug 19
Pete and Denise are two of the most GENUINE, HONEST, & AMAZING people you could ask for! They are straight forward and they both genuinly care about your situation. I knew the moment I met both I would be in good hands! Thank you both for all of your hard work and dedication! It really has been great to have y'all navigate the case for myself and family!
Rose Cummings
Rose Cummings
12:43 16 May 19
I have used The Law Office of Peter Brown for all of my legal needs throughout the years for a number of reasons. I appreciate their always- friendly staff, the time they take to hear my case, look into it thoroughly, and I have always received the best outcome. The peace of mind is irreplaceable. There is always someone there to receive a message or call, and that means a lot to me. I have referred family and friends here alike, and the reputation of excellence continues. I would recommend this law office to anyone looking for a no-nonsense, thorough, friendly team that will cover your needs from A-Z.
C Williams
C Williams
19:49 01 May 19
Peter Brown is an established and well-respected attorney in Charleston County. He has an extensive working relationship with law enforcement, colleagues in the legal field and the judicial community. Pete and his paralegals are always ready and willing to help in any way possible. He truly listens to his client’s needs and fights hard in their defense. I highly recommend Pete to anyone in need of legal services.
TNT Liberty
TNT Liberty
13:12 01 May 19
My family and I have had the pleasure and fortune to be witness to the breadth of knowledge and legal expertise of Peter David Brown since our arrival to the greater Charleston, South Carolina area roughy a decade ago. Peter is an extremely active, community-minded attorney who happens to be one of the most brilliant legal minds of his generation. Time and again, his reputation as a mentor, advocate, and counselor would reveal themselves both in his work and philanthropy. With over 30 years of experience Peter David Brown has a remarkable ability to explain the legal process in a manner that can be understood by a layperson. His legal training and expertise are so readily evident in his interactions with other lawyers, paralegals, courtroom staff and clients. Peter and his legal team have proved invaluable to me whether it was as an advisor when I was starting my own business, handling the affairs of my will, or simply adjudicating a traffic infraction for one of my family members. As I would become more familiar with his legal prowess, it became readily apparent that this man was heavily sought after for both his keen ability in the courtroom, as well as his wisdom and insight as a trusted advisor and forward thinker. This should come as no surprise since he completed his undergraduate at the Citadel and earned his Law degree from Emory University. He treats his clients’ cases with the utmost respect and dignity, whether he is handling a worker’s compensation case, a D.W.I., or a complex homicide. For potential clients seeking legal representation, I highly recommend The Law Office of Peter David Brown. In my estimation, they are the only law firm to call when legal counsel is needed.
Luke Ballam
Luke Ballam
21:38 08 Apr 19
Peter Brown law firm was one of the best. They were always on time, answered all questions and I always felt that I had not a thing to worry about. He was here when we needed him. I would recommend him to anyone. I have used a few different lawyers over the years and he was by far the best of the best not a question in my mind. Thank you Peter for all of your great help
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