Good Behavior Bonds

Issuance of a good behavior bond requires sworn testimony against a person in the county whose conduct justifies the belief that the safety, peace or property of another person in the county is in danger of being injured or disturbed. This language is equated with probable cause that a crime has been committed or is imminently threatened, and that a degree of violence or threatened violence is required.

The bond is preferably a mutual consent agreement and its duration is for a term of 6 months, but is extendable in increments of 60 days following another court hearing.

Jurisdiction


Both parties of a Good Behavior Bond must live in Effingham County.


Filing Fee


The filing fee is $40 per respondent. Checks should be made payable to Magistrate Court.

Filing Procedures


For an applicant filing a Good Behavior Bond (PDF), you will need to personally come into the Magistrate Court office to fill out an application. The applicant must have the respondent's (defendant's) physical address and a police report is required at the time of the filing.


Hearing


After the applicant has applied for the Good Behavior/Peace Warrant, a hearing notice will be mailed to you and the respondent will be served personally. The day of the hearing the applicant (plaintiff) will have to prove themselves to the judge the respondent (defendant) has endangered their well being. The respondent (defendant) will have a chance to defend themselves from the allegations that have been brought against them.

Common Uses


Some of the typical situations where Good Behavior Bonds are used, include:
  • Where a crime has or may have occurred, but the victim is reluctant to pursue criminal prosecution
  • Where probable cause exists for cross-warrants against both parties
  • Where probable cause exists for the crime of terrorist threats but there is no corroboration required for conviction
  • Where the seriousness of the criminal conduct does not yet warrant prosecution, but some action is needed to prevent further escalation
  • Harassment or harassing phone calls
  • Where physical or verbal contact is an insulting nature has take place

Possible Conditions to Bond


  • No physical or verbal contact between parties
  • Cannot approach within 300 feet of the residence of the other party
  • Cannot enter or remain in the place of employment of the other party
  • No initiation of any telephonic or electronic transmission directed to the residence, cell phone or place of employment (texting, emails, Facebook, etc.)
  • Shall not intentionally follow the other party or commit any act which would constitute stalking
  • Neither party shall cause any of the above conditions to be violated through a third party
The conditions of a Good Behavior Bond are assessed not only against the respondent, but also the applicant. Good Behavior Bonds duration is for a term of 6 months, but is extendable in increments of 60 days following another court hearing.

Violation of Good Behavior Bonds


The party filing a violation must come into the office and fill out a complaint. The result of a violation of a Good Behavior Bond is criminal contempt, and must be initiated by oral or written complaint by the injured party. A hearing will be scheduled for a Judge to determine, if needed, any condition of the Good Behavior Bond was violated. Sentencing is limited to up to 10 days in jail, and/or a $200 fine. A contempt action does not terminate the bond.