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Police and Court Bail

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 1 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]
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
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.
Chell - 11-Apr-16 @ 9:54 PM
My friend and I have the same bail return but different times. What does that mean
Bob - 27-Mar-16 @ 8:11 PM
Me and my husband had argue because i had taken my neighbour to the garage for cigarettes as no shops are open he text me saying he is leaving house and left his phone he was not in when i got back only few minutes after text he then came outside and i would not give him his passport he has adhd and we have had situation like this beforehe intimidated meand i pushed him and he pushed me back and i fell i called police but hang up they arrived at my house and my husband got detained for questioning i called local police were he was to see what oa happening and he hasbeen arrested for domestic but i dont understand why only he got trouble we have 3 kids i dont want for him to go to court and his bail to be not to approach me as i dont want our kids to suffer he also has drug problems and in january was let out court for fine iwish i didnt call police and have crying since because i dont want to not be able to see him can you advise me what will happen i miss him
allanah - 26-Mar-16 @ 1:48 PM
Was arrested for fraud charges using someones creditard details.Had a duty solicitor at initial interview.Will that same duty solicitor follow the case through.I have to attend a local police station as per bail conditions.What happens on that day can they keep me arrested ?Do i need to have a solicitor there?Please advise me.Thanxs
melanyyy - 18-Mar-16 @ 10:49 AM
Ive been sexual assualt claim agaist me by a once a friend to me from a drinking evening and i havent been the same and i am scaried whats going to happen when i go back and i dont want loose a job what i like doing and i dont want to lose my girlfriend and i have got legal aid people who are helping me threw this but i dont want lose anything at all cause i have got loads opp's out there for me than speading time behide bars
Polo - 16-Mar-16 @ 3:52 PM
wondering - Your Question:
My boyfriend got bail at court today, but if I bail him out, the LA jail said they will still hold him because he has a "no bail hold" in another county. How do we get that lifted while he's in jail, so I can bail him out of this current county (LA)?There must be a way to lift the no bail hold from 1 county, while hes locked up in another county that will giv him bail if it wasn't for that stupid hold.

Our Response:
Unfortunately, we cannot answer your question as we are a UK-based site with no knowledge of US bail law.
CourtroomAdvice - 16-Mar-16 @ 12:13 PM
Hi have jumped bail on 2002 both police bail on fraud and cour bail on harrassent of my ex girlfriend and I left the uk if I come back again to visit my son would I be arrested the offenceswhere in 2002 14 years ago . Can you please advise me Regard Ibrahim
ibi - 16-Mar-16 @ 8:36 AM
My boyfriend got bail at court today, but if I bail him out, the LA jail said they will still hold him because he has a "no bail hold" in another county. How do we get that lifted while he's in jail,so I can bail him out of this current county (LA)? There must be a way to lift the no bail hold from 1 county,while hes locked up in another county that will giv him bail if it wasn't for that stupid hold.
wondering - 15-Mar-16 @ 5:03 PM
My sisters new boyfriend keeps on braking his bail so that he can spend nights at hers. And when her daughters dad looks after the baby, she goes over to his to smoke weed, along with doing other drugs. I'm so angry with her because she's not talking her daughters safety into consideration by being with him. I love her to bits but donno what to do, he's a really bad role model for both of them.
Kieran - 13-Mar-16 @ 3:25 PM
Jane - Your Question:
My brother is on bail and not allowed to speak to his girlfriend involved with the case. However she is constantly emailing and messaging him and nagging him to see her knowingly it would breach his bail and also blackmailing him by saying she's going to tell the police he's been seeing her if he doesn't reply to her messages. He hasn't replied and she sends 2 or 3 a day. Can he have her for pestering him? Keeps telling him she still loves him even though at the trial she's to testify against him?

Our Response:
Your brother needs to keep all her texts for evidence, especially if she is blackmailing him. Please see Ask Police here regarding regarding the definition of harassment. Your brother needs to be very careful in this situation not to break his bail.
CourtroomAdvice - 11-Mar-16 @ 10:51 AM
My brother is on bail and not allowed to speak to his girlfriend involved with the case. However she is constantly emailing and messaging him and nagging him to see her knowingly it would breach his bail and also blackmailing him by saying she's going to tell the police he's been seeing her if he doesn't reply to her messages. He hasn't replied and she sends 2 or 3 a day. Can he have her for pestering him?Keeps telling him she still loves him even though at the trial she's to testify against him?
Jane - 10-Mar-16 @ 12:29 PM
I don't know what to do my brother is breaching bail and I'm really angry with him and I will do anything to get him out of my house
Charlotte - 3-Mar-16 @ 7:17 PM
My friend fraudulently transferred some money from a customers account to his and then left the country. The police asked his mother at the time for any information but then didn't ask again. This was 12 years ago. Recently he has returned to the UK and started a family, would this be recorded anywhere? He's definitely changed his ways since.
Dee - 2-Mar-16 @ 4:39 PM
Hello, I am on bail at present and have to sign on at police station in the middle of the afternoon. I have today been offered a job and wondered how I go about changing my bail conditions.My solicitor is dragging their feet until legal aid is granted but I am due to start work in a week. Any help or advice would be much appreciated.
Benny - 29-Feb-16 @ 8:09 PM
I was released on bail on Jan 4th, after my partner made a sexual assault claim against me. My bail date is due next week and I was wondering if the police can bail me again or not. My solicitor has told me I've committed no crime and I've found out through a contact that the police told my partner 2 weeks ago that the case was going nowhere. Obviously I'm worried what may happen next. I've heard I could be re-bailed, but after 2 months served already is that even allowed? The solicitor and a friend of mine who's a policeman thinks I'll just get an NFA, and no charges will take place. However my mind is going mad and I'm a little scared of what might happen next. I've never been in trouble with the law before so this is all really scary stuff.
Worried dad 5 - 29-Feb-16 @ 10:53 AM
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