Legal Question in Criminal Law in South Carolina

How to change a trial date, or have a proxy appear for you at a court appearance

This is a request concerning a friend's legal siuation. We are both from NYC, but the incident was in Charleston SC.

Basically, he had a horrible arrest experience for having a open container of alcohol on a beach and 'littering'. Anyway, omitting the arrest story, he WAS drinking on the beach and is not trying to get out of that. However, because he is from out of town they slapped a surety (I think that is the right term) of $900 on him and scheduled his trial for well after he told them he would be leaving town. Basically, they are extorting about $1000 from him, between the surety and the likely actual fines. I am trying to find a way around this. I need advice as to how he might apply to have the trial postponed until next year when he is down there again anyway, or apply to have a proxy appear in court for him since it is such a minor charge, but a punitive surety. Officials of the court there will tell him nothing. I've been crawling the web on my own and turning up nothing. He'll pay the fines, no problem - its the surety and schedule that have me all riled up. Any advice, help appreciated. I hate to see the system at its worst like this, and would like to have my faith restored. Thanks.

Asked on 6/13/04, 1:57 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Robert Johnston Law Offices of Robert J. Johnston

Re: How to change a trial date, or have a proxy appear for you at a court appear

I can understand your frustrations. As a criminal attorney I see your situation all the time. First of all, he probably has posted a "cash" bond, not a surety. A surety is when you post a percentage of your bond with a bonding agency and then you never get that percentage back. A cash bond you do get back when you appear in court. If he is willing to just pay the fines, he can most likey do that without coming back to South Carolina. If he wants an attorney, he can have one and the attorney can have the court date continued. Your welcome to call my office and I can explain it if detail in just a few minutes. Robert Johnston


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Answered on 6/13/04, 10:51 pm

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