In South Carolina, laws governing bounty hunters can be found in Chapter 53, Title 38 of the South Carolina Code. South Carolina bounty hunters are known as runners.
Pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 38-53-10 (10), a 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,
- 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.
However, a runner does not include an attorney or a law enforcement officer assisting a bondsman[i].
Pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 38-53-80, no person may act in the capacity of a runner or perform any of the functions, duties, or powers prescribed for runners unless that person is qualified.
The applicant should apply for a license or renewal of a license on forms prepared and supplied by the director or his/her designee[ii]. The director or his/her designee also requests the State Law Enforcement Division to conduct any reasonable investigation relative to the determination of the applicant’s fitness to be licensed or to continue to be licensed.
An applicant for a license to work as a runner should complete not less than twenty hours of education in subjects pertinent to the duties and responsibilities of a runner, including all laws and regulations related to being a runner[iii].
Further, each person licensed as a runner must complete annually not less than six hours of continuing education in subjects related to the duties and responsibilities of a runner before his/her license is renewed.
S.C. Code Ann. § 38-53-90 provides that before a license is issued to an applicant permitting him/her to act as a runner, the applicant should furnish to the director a complete set of his/her fingerprints and a recent passport size full-face photograph.
Before being issued the license, every applicant for a license as a runner should certify to the director that s/he[iv]:
- is eighteen years of age or older;
- is a resident of South Carolina;
- 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;
- has knowledge, training, or experience of sufficient duration and extent to satisfy reasonably the director that s/he possesses the competence necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of a licensee.
S.C. Code Ann. § 38-53-120 provides that in addition to the other requirements, an applicant for a license to be a runner should show affirmatively that[v]:
- the applicant will be employed by only one bail bondsman who should supervise the work of the applicant and is responsible for the runner’s conduct in the bail bond business;
- the application is endorsed by the appointing bail bondsman who should obligate himself in the application to supervise the runner’s activities.
S.C. Code Ann. § 38-53-340 provides that a person violating any of the provisions is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, will be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both.
[i] S.C. Code Ann. § 38-53-10 (10).
[ii] S.C. Code Ann. § 38-53-80.
[iii] S.C. Code Ann. § 38-53-85.
[iv] S.C. Code Ann. § 38-53-90.
[v] S.C. Code Ann. § 38-53-120.