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Police and Court Bail

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 24 May 2016 |
 
Bail Court Police Charge Criminal

If a police investigation is ongoing into alleged criminal activity, you may be bailed to return to the police station on a future date. Once you have been charged with a criminal offence, the police are required to release you on bail unless one of the following applies:

  • the police have doubts about your identity or address, or
  • you need to be detained for your own, or someone else’s, protection
  • there are concerns that you will fail to attend court, or interfere with the administration of justice (e.g. by contacting witnesses)

Bail Offences

If you are released on police bail and do not return on the date and at the time required, you may be charged with a separate criminal offence. This is called ‘failure to surrender’ and whilst you may not think that the actual penalty given for this offence is particularly serious, it does count as a ‘breach of trust’. Breaches of trust on a person’s criminal record may affect your ability to get bail if you are ever charged with an offence in the future.

Bail Conditions

Your bail from the police station may be conditional or unconditional. If there are conditions attached to your bail, you may for example be told that you have to reside at a specific address, report to a local police station, stay inside your house at certain hours of the day, not contact certain people or go to certain places, or provide a surety (a sum of money that you may lose if you fail to attend court.) You may also be told to surrender your passport.

If you breach any of these conditions, you may be arrested and brought before the magistrates court. You may be charged under the Bail Act 1976 and could also be remanded in custody until your trial.

While on police bail you can apply at the magistrates court to vary the conditions of the bail, although there is no guarantee that the court will allow such variations.

Court Bail

Once you appear before the magistrates court, you can apply to vary your conditions. If you have been remanded in police custody, you can apply for bail at your hearing before the magistrates court. The court may grant you bail, may allow you bail with conditions, or refuse bail and remand you in custody.

If you have not been convicted of any offence, you have a right to be granted bail unless certain exceptions apply. If the court thinks that you are likely to fail to attend court, interfere with witnesses or may commit further offences you will not be given bail. In determining whether any of these factors apply to you, the court will consider the nature and seriousness of the offence that you have been charged with, the strength of the evidence against you, your personal circumstances and community ties, any previous convictions and in particular any breaches of trust (such as failure to answer bail), as well as whether you have any other outstanding charges or are currently serving any other sentence.

Sureties

If the court decides that it is appropriate it can attach certain conditions to your bail so as to ensure, as far as possible that you return when you are supposed to. If you are asked to provide a surety, this is a sum of money – which you or someone else puts up on your behalf – that may have to be forfeit if you fail to surrender to bail. There is no need to pay this money to the court when you get bail, but you have to show that it is available if needed.

Re-Applying For Bail

You have two chances to apply for bail at the magistrates court, or if there is a change in your circumstances. If this fails, you can apply for bail again at the crown court, known as ‘judge in chambers.’ You can also go to the High Court but this is rare.

If you do not get bail, there are limits on the amount of time you can spend in custody without the prosecution having to apply for an extension. These are:

  • Magistrates court trials -56 days
  • Crown court committals – 70 days
  • Crown court committal to trial – 112 days

Any extension must be fully justified by the prosecution in order to be granted by the court. You can find out more about what happens the first time you appear in court here.

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[Add a Comment]
Hey, I have a bail back date but need it to be changed to another day because I can't get time of work on that day. would it be possible to do this? I have not yet been charged with anything. Thanks
Josh - 24-May-16 @ 4:24 PM
I was arrested and charge with harresment but bailed away from my home address to live with my 85 father who is not in the best of health and has to drive me to accompany at my home while I feed my dogs im having to sleep on sofa as its only a 1 bed property and im disabled the court wouldn't vary my bail what can I do
doggy - 21-May-16 @ 12:09 PM
Peggy - Your Question:
My son was arrested for attempted rape two months ago. Which we all know the lady consented to. He has to sign bail at a police station in a few days. What will happen next.

Our Response:
Much depends on whether the CPS can gather enough evidence to prosecute, please see link here.
CourtroomAdvice - 20-May-16 @ 2:36 PM
My son was arrested for attempted rape two months ago. Which we all know the lady consented to. He has to sign bail at a police station in a few days. What will happen next.
Peggy - 20-May-16 @ 6:13 AM
Nickienackynoo - Your Question:
Hey my mate bf has just been arrested and remanded till court, can she pay a fee or show she can pay out if my mates boyfriend doesn't turn up for court answer back asap if paying for bail can be done in the UK but mainly in wales. She can proof she has this money available to her. Please message me back wiv an answer please thanks x

Our Response:
It depends on the seriousness of the crime, please see gov.uk link here which will tell you offences that bail is not given regardless of surety. Your friend's legal representative will be able to advice further on the possiblity of him being given bail.
CourtroomAdvice - 18-May-16 @ 10:22 AM
Snapgragon - Your Question:
Granddaughter currently in my care. Her mother was arrested and is now on bail for child neglect and class a drug. Will she do prison Time?

Our Response:
We cannot predict what a court may decide, much depends upon the extent of the neglect and the extent of the class A drug she had in her possession, plus previous other offences she may have committed.
CourtroomAdvice - 17-May-16 @ 12:59 PM
Hey my mate bf has just been arrested and remanded till court, can she pay a fee or show she can pay out if my mates boyfriend doesn't turn up for court answer back asap if paying for bail can be done in the UK but mainly in wales. She can proof she has this money available to her. Please message me back wiv an answer please thanks x
Nickienackynoo - 17-May-16 @ 9:07 AM
Granddaughter currently in my care. Her mother was arrested and is now on bail for child neglect and class a drug. Will she do prison Time?
Snapgragon - 16-May-16 @ 8:40 PM
Hi, one of my family members was arrested and subsequently allowed conditional bail (not allowed to leave the country, passport confiscated) and was due to return to the police station a few days ago. I realise that he might have committed an offence under section 6 of the bail act, but would the police/courts be in a position to issue a 'first-instance' warrant under section 1 of the Magistrates' Court Act, for his Bail Act offence, if he has already been arrested for his 'original' offence? Thanks.
Charlie - 14-May-16 @ 6:43 AM
I was arrested inFebruaryand put in custody for 6 hours. I was then interview but I refused a solicitor unfortunately I told them everything that had happened the absolute truth then I was released on bail which I attended.I was again interviewd and now am on a 28 days bail and not sure what the outcomes might be. Andoh did I mention that prior to my first arrested my house wassearched and some properties where taken. But after returning back to bail some of the things taken was given back to me which I heard is a good sign that I may not be charged with anything. Please I need advice and help
Gawgousb - 12-May-16 @ 12:19 AM
Hi, I'd like to know if a person on pre-charge police bail fails to turn up to the police station, could he be either charged or convicted in absence for his Bail Act offence, or would he only be charged if he is physically present? Thanks.
joe - 11-May-16 @ 2:38 PM
If charged and released after a stabbing offence over 20years ago and failing to return is there a stature of limitation
!superfly - 10-May-16 @ 2:39 AM
clanger - Your Question:
Hello my son is 17 and has bail conditions issued by a court.Yesterday he breached his bail and has been arrested and is currently in the custody suite awaiting a court hearing in the morning.The offence he is being charged with but doesnt appear in court till june is burglary of a dwelling.He is pleading not guilty.What are his chances of going into custody untill his court date?im worrying.x

Our Response:
His solicitor or legal representative will be able to advise more, but the court may well refuse further bail applications. Please see Offenders' Families helpline here.
CourtroomAdvice - 9-May-16 @ 12:35 PM
hello my son is 17 and has bail conditions issued by a court.Yesterday he breached his bail and has been arrested and is currently in the custody suite awaiting a court hearing in the morning .The offence he is being charged with but doesnt appear in court till june is burglary of a dwelling.He is pleading not guilty.What are his chances of going into custody untill his court date?im worrying .x
clanger - 8-May-16 @ 7:45 PM
Hi there,I am a Criminal Barrister and I sometimes provide my services pro bono (for no feels). If you want to discuss your case feel free to look me up at criminal-appeal-expert. I'll be happy to help. GHS
Criminal Barrister - 6-May-16 @ 7:49 PM
I have to report for bail on Wednesday can the police extend this and if so in what circumstances and for how long the police have not been in contact since then this was 6 weeks ago
D w - 1-May-16 @ 5:45 PM
My partner got arrested for something he didn't do, considering the "battery" was agents me. He's been placed on court bail where he can't enter my house can't talk to me directly or indirectly untill the 28th of June. Is there not anyway that these can changed seeing as we pay rent together live together and are in a relationship? This was a mistake from the police.. They said there saw something when they didn't.. And the matter is taken completely out my hands? What do I do?
Lyd - 1-May-16 @ 9:54 AM
Hi there my husband has bail conditions where he isn't allowed to enter our property. The police haslve came 3 times I to my house for a random search for him and have advised they will come another 3 times. Do I need to give them access to my house?
Shellz - 30-Apr-16 @ 3:02 PM
My boyfriend has been charged for GBH and has a magistrate court date on the 2June. Then crown court. We have a holiday booked on the 15th June is there no chance we will be able to go on holiday then?
Hanlou - 29-Apr-16 @ 1:26 PM
Please can you advise me? My ex partner is on police bail and is taking me to a small claims court. He has not informed the small claims judge that he is on police bail. I have informed the police but they said it's a civil matter and they are not getting involved. I have informed that small claims judge that I will not be attending the hearing due to his bail conditions and not to mention I do not want to be anywhere near him. I am very happy to attend on an alternative date, without my ex being there. The judge has replied to say there is no reason for him to believe that my ex is on bail. Can my ex apply for a small claims hearing whilst on police bail? And if I attend surely that would be a breach of his bail conditions and I would be in trouble for this? Your advice will be greatly received, thank you.
L - 28-Apr-16 @ 10:27 PM
Brain- Your Question:
If someone gets arrested & bailed without charge! Told to come back on a certain date! Why would the police keep moving the date it's happen 3 times now! & it's been moved to July,but they were arrested in November! Any advice?

Our Response:
The police can change the bail date if it is still collecting evidence or following up certain leads etc.
CourtroomAdvice - 26-Apr-16 @ 12:08 PM
If someone gets arrested & bailed without charge! Told to come back on a certain date! Why would the police keep moving the date it's happen 3 times now! & it's been moved to July,but they were arrested in November! Any advice?
Brain - 25-Apr-16 @ 7:00 PM
Hi, my friends house got raided for drugs (class A), they found a phone with texts (that they took) and 100 empty baggies, he was questioned and basically said no comment to everything, he's bail is unconditional and as been pushed back three times. We're not too sure if he's in the dark or not.
RHINO - 25-Apr-16 @ 5:36 PM
Vicky - Your Question:
Hello, an incident occurred with me and my partner on the 12th April. I was 30 weeks pregnant. Basically an argument got out of hand and turned physical. Before anyone says anyone I'm no saint either. I went hospital and they called the police it wasn't me! We have been together for 7 years and this is the first incident. He was charged then released on bail on the terms he cannot contact me or come to our family home. He has to return to the police station for whether he's been charged on the 2nd May. I repeat this is his first offence and the police told me it's assault and I did NOT want to press charges but nothing I could do. What's the likely hood of his charges? He admitted what he did and was remorseful. Can he return home on or after 2nd May? What will happen?

Our Response:
I'm afraid it depends on whether the police have enough evidence to charge him and whether the CPS wish to prosecute. Regardless of whether you wish to give evidence or not, the prosecutor's primary concern will be the safety of the complainant (you) and any children or other dependants (including your pregnancy). Therefore, we cannot possibly predict whether he will be charged or not.
CourtroomAdvice - 25-Apr-16 @ 12:05 PM
Hello, an incident occurred with me and my partner on the 12th April. I was 30 weeks pregnant. Basically an argument got out of hand and turned physical. Before anyone says anyone I'm no saint either. I went hospital and they called the police it wasn't me! We have been together for 7 years and this is the first incident. He was charged then released on bail on the terms he cannot contact me or come to our family home. He has to return to the police station for whether he's been charged on the 2nd May. I repeat this is his first offence and the police told me it's assault and I did NOT want to press charges but nothing I could do. What's the likely hood of his charges? He admitted what he did and was remorseful. Can he return home on or after 2nd May? What will happen?
Vicky - 24-Apr-16 @ 5:00 PM
@DQUINN - It's a case of waiting. I'd rather be on bail with restrictions than on remand as that's the alternative!
Rory - 22-Apr-16 @ 3:00 PM
Hi wonder if I could get some advice. I am currently on bail but with a curfew. I Can't leave the house between 7-7. I have been on this now for 17 weeks with still no word of a court date to even go up and plead. The police have came to my door and even they have mentioned that I have been on this for a very long time especially with no court date in sight. Is there any time restrictions for curfews or is it a case of I need to wait until court even if it takes another 6 months? Can I also ask why a court gives bail but puts a curfew in place. What are the circumstances why they would do this. Thanks in advance
DQUINN - 22-Apr-16 @ 8:50 AM
Want to know a case is going on and the person is on bail for assault and was told not contact the person at all but heven as ignored that 3 times and I want to know why he hasn't been arrested for it sending text messages and also sending flowers to her and we know it is him as he knows her favourite ones what do we do
Robbie - 19-Apr-16 @ 10:51 PM
Hello, me and my boyfriend had a fight and he got arrested for that as the cctv recorded it all. After two days that he has spent at the police station he got released under bail conditions to not contact me and stay at different address. But we actually live together and I don't mind him coming back home, as the police did not contact me after that night. What can I do for him to be able to come back home?? Can I cancel the bail because I think they count me as a victim in this case ??? Please help me.
Jorune - 12-Apr-16 @ 9:05 PM
Chell - Your Question:
My brother is on bail with conditions to reside at his address. We have a holiday booked from last year which is 15th April. He is not due to go back to the police station till July. Can he still come on the holiday with us. It is for a week. The police didn't retain his passport. Any advice greatly appreciated.

Our Response:
It depends on what the conditions attached to his bail are. Most defendants are granted unconditional bail and conditions are only attached if there is reason to believe that he will abscond or commit further offences. However, it is always worth checking with his offending officer as conditions to bail can change.
CourtroomAdvice - 12-Apr-16 @ 2:23 PM
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