How To Get Bail

‘Bail’ can be defined as the release of a person who has been arrested, granted either by the police or the Court, on the condition that they attend court or return to the police station on a specified date.

What is the difference between police bail and Court bail?

Police bail may be granted by the police if their investigation is ongoing and they require you to return to the police station at a certain date.  Court bail may be granted by the Court if you have been charged with an offence as long as you promise to return to court on the date specified for your hearing.

Will I automatically be granted bail?

Not necessarily.  Under the Bail Act 1976, the Court must start with the presumption that bail should be granted without condition, except if the charges relate to the following offences:

  • murder
  • manslaughter
  • serious sexual offences
  • class A drug use (in certain circumstances)

The prosecution may oppose bail being granted if:

  • you have a history of absconding or interfering with witnesses while on bail
  • you have previously breached bail conditions
  • there is evidence of you threatening violence towards victims and/or witnesses
  • the offence is serious

What are bail conditions?

Yes.  Conditions of bail can include:

  • you must report to the police station on certain days of the week
  • you must surrender your passport
  • you must not change you address
  • you must wear an electronic tag
  • you must abide by a curfew

What happens if you breach bail conditions?

Breaching bail conditions is not a criminal offence so a separate charge cannot be laid.  However, if you do breach one or more of your bail conditions, you can be arrested.  The police must then bring you before a Magistrate as soon as possible and the Magistrate may then remand you in custody until your case is heard in Court.

What if I fail to turn up to Court?

Failing to turn up to Court is a criminal offence under section 6 of the Bail Act.  You can be sentenced for up to 12 months for this offence.

If you have been charged with a criminal offence or are being questioned by the police, then seek legal advice immediately.

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