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Police and Court Bail

Author: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 26 February 2015 |
 
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]
My partner has bail conditions to stay away from me and my address and also the neighbours I dropped my statement against him and I recieved a letter from his solicitor stating, I can confirm that I have submitted an application to crown court to vary your bail to allow us to have contact does this mean he can come home? Or does vary the bail mean something different?? Helpppp
KG15 - 26-Feb-15 @ 9:55 PM
My boyfriend has bail conditions from magistrates court to stay away from me and my address and also my neighbours I dropped the statement against him and I recieved a letter from the solicitor which says I can confirm that I have submitted an application to crown court to vary your bail to allow us to have contact what does this mean? I also had a phone call saying the courts have agreed can he come back home?
KG15 - 26-Feb-15 @ 9:53 PM
I have worked overseas for the past ten years. The last time in the UK I was arrested and bailed in relation to an allegation of harassment and have my phone seized. I was interviewed and did not desire legal representation. I explained to the police I would be leaving the country to return to work. They told me I would be unable to do this but that it was probable the CPS would not take it further. Anyway I essentially left the country while bailed and have heard from the police they wish to speak to me when I return. I am unlikely to return to the UK for anything other than short breaks although I don't wish to do that if it is likely I will be arrested and detained. Do you have any advice at all? Would I be denied bail and deemed a flight risk if I return? What is the likely outcome in your view? Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
DylanPiers - 26-Feb-15 @ 9:32 PM
@kourts - I'm sorry to hear of your worry. As we are a UK-based website , this is not something we can really advise on. I hope you hear something soon.
CourtroomAdvice - 26-Feb-15 @ 10:16 AM
@niki - I'm afraid it is down to your friends or family to help out when it comes down to finding his bail money.
Rob - 24-Feb-15 @ 1:59 PM
My boyfriends being arrested and i called the police station wondering what they have done too him and the said they cant give out any information. so i called in rimutaka prison asking if he,s in there and they said the same thing . no ones herd from him . im getting worried :(
kourts - 24-Feb-15 @ 8:16 AM
My partner was arrested on friday morning, he has a European arrest warrant on him. They also said he failed to attend court in 2013 for unpaid fines. He was in court yesterday morning and wasn't granted bail, he going in front if court next friday to reapply for bail, and his solicitor asking for if I can get money for his bail. We are just a normal family with wages that just cover the bills, I can't get any extra money?? What can I do. I
niki - 22-Feb-15 @ 8:42 AM
@Jim - you'd have an international warrant out for your arrest if you skipped bail. Not a good idea.
Mick - 19-Feb-15 @ 3:10 PM
Passport not surrendered.What would happen if I chose to visit and stay in another country?Deportation?
Jim - 18-Feb-15 @ 1:06 PM
@Jim - Your bail conditions should allow you to go home until your court hearing and will be generally subject to certain conditions that include living at a particular address, and giving your passport to the police so you can’t leave the UK, also reporting to a police station at agreed times.If you don’t stick to these conditions you can be arrested and taken to prison prior to your hearing.
CourtroomAdvice - 16-Feb-15 @ 11:16 AM
What happens if I move to another country while on police bail?
Jim - 13-Feb-15 @ 11:28 AM
My sister accidentally spilled a drink in a pub the other night, and it went on the DJ's karaoke machine. Bizarrely, she was then arrested (!) on suspicion of criminal damage. She has been released on bail and not charged with anything. The police said that the guy was happy to accept reimbursement for the machine, but he has since not contacted my sister. This all seems rather ridiculous over a cheap karaoke machine. My sister is still on bail and is frightened to do anything in case it makes the situation worse (for example, call the police and ask why this DJ hasn't contacted her). I think she's in a bit of denial. I was wondering what the best course of action would be?
Anxious - 5-Feb-15 @ 11:39 AM
My partner has been remanded for breaking his restraining order he's already on probation he's in court next week via video link will he get sent to prison and if so how long is he likely to get
Lewie - 5-Feb-15 @ 11:21 AM
Is it possible for some someone to be released from prison on bail to my address without me being asked? I have had tagging people turn up tonight searching for the person. However on a previous 3 occasions I have refused bail and also told solictors I would not consider it
akyb - 4-Feb-15 @ 10:34 PM
@Flight - hopefully the CCTV will pick up all the evidence the courts need in order to prosecute the right person/people. Unfortunately, it is an impossible situation to predict and who may be charged. I have included a link to the CPS on common assault here which should give you some more information. I hope this helps.
CourtroomAdvice - 26-Jan-15 @ 2:51 PM
I was out in a pub when I was punched in the back of head twice, I turned round and instinctively punched back unfortunately I still had a glass in my hand I DID NOT INTENTIONLY mean to use it in so upset , it resulted in 4 stitches needed, then her two sons attacked me punching kicking and stamping on my head (I'm a woman) I was arrested and am on police bail section 18 with intent there is cctv to prove this , what do you think the outcome could be? Please help
Flight - 24-Jan-15 @ 9:49 PM
On November the 23rd, I was in hospital after a row with my ex, where he violently and repeatedly hit me after coming back home late at night and leaving me alone at home. Several times he would wait for me to fall asleep and would go back out to carry on drinking, getting into fights in the street and coming back home very violent and demanding sex when I was still asleep. When I saw myself in hospital I decided to report to the police this time, explaining that due to the shock I could barely remember anything and also explained what happened the previous times and he got arrested for 'rape' and released on bail with protective measures so he couldn't contact me or being anywhere near me. He was asked to answer bail December the 5th. I had clear signs of violence all over my body when I left hospital. The police contacted me today to say they will not proceed further with the case and that the bail conditions have been lifted as the forensic evidence for raped came negative. When I asked what they would do regarding the violence they said they would proceed no further as he hit me because 'I was hysteric'. I was asleep. I feel betrayed as they spoke to his family and friends, but never mine. They didn't allow me to talk to a counsellor during the open case and I was never offered a solicitor and I haven't heard any updates on my case until a week after he answered bail. I tried to contact the police several times. As I'm on holiday in Spain ns they have only suggested to me 'if I don't feel safe in the Uk I should stay in Spain, why would I put myself in risk' and the only way of protective measures being put into place again would be for him 'to attempt to do something again'. I am furious, I feel I have been treated like the offender rather than the victim and that they have never bother to provide me with information, but my ex has been treated with lots of sympathy and help. Is there any way my case could be reviewed and I could get a restraining order? This person is violent and well known in the city for using drugs such as cocaine send steroids and getting into fights, somehow he's always escaped the police. Many thanks
anigroeg90 - 12-Jan-15 @ 5:18 PM
On November the 23rd, I was in hospital after a row with my ex, where he violently and repeatedly hit me after coming back home late at night and leaving me alone at home. Several times he would wait for me to fall asleep and would go back out to carry on drinking, getting into fights in the street and coming back home very violent and demanding sex when I was still asleep. When I saw myself in hospital I decided to report to the police this time, explaining that due to the shock I could barely remember anything and also explained what happened the previous times and he got arrested for 'rape' and released on bail with protective measures so he couldn't contact me or being anywhere near me. He was asked to answer bail December the 5th. I had clear signs of violence all over my body when I left hospital. The police contacted me today to say they will not proceed further with the case and that the bail conditions have been lifted as the forensic evidence for raped came negative. When I asked what they would do regarding the violence they said they would proceed no further as he hit me because 'I was hysteric'. I was asleep. I feel betrayed as they spoke to his family and friends, but never mine. They didn't allow me to talk to a counsellor during the open case and I was never offered a solicitor and I haven't heard any updates on my case until a week after he answered bail. I tried to contact the police several times. As I'm on holiday in Spain ns they have only suggested to me 'if I don't feel safe in the Uk I should stay in Spain, why would I put myself in risk' and the only way of protective measures being put into place again would be for him 'to attempt to do something again'. I am furious, I feel I have been treated like the offender rather than the victim and that they have never bother to provide me with information, but my ex has been treated with lots of sympathy and help. Is there any way my case could be reviewed and I could get a restraining order? This person is violent and well known in the city for using drugs such as cocaine send steroids and getting into fights, somehow he's always escaped the police. Many thanks
anigroeg90 - 12-Jan-15 @ 4:56 PM
On the way home from a New Years Eve party, my son was accused by a local resident of Common Assault (thumping one of his 5 children who was said to be on the floor, in his stomach). His bail conditions naturally say he cannot have direct or indirect contact with anyone involved (his children, wife, accuser and road). The police checked the children at midnight and returned at 2.30 in the morning, woke them up and re-checked them and found nothing. He was released on bail New Years day afternoon. As one who has taken the Safeguarding Exam (a retired school governor) I and we, as a family have involved the school, CPS, Social services and taken the children to their doctor for full check up. None of these agencies have any problems with the children and cannot find any evidence of past or current problems i.e. the allegations are either malicious or mistaken. The police however, say they are waiting for external agencies to return reports and refuse to change or preferably cancel the bail conditions, standing by the timescale of reporting back on the 1st February (this is a long time for 5 children without their loving father and they are crying themselves to sleep). We have 2 solicitors involved who have tried talking to the officer who charged my son, but even they are "hitting a brick wall". I have sent an email to the officers superior and still await a reply (will escalate my complaints up the police and legal system ladder). I have asked why the police, who rightly acted speedily in the first instance, are dragging their feet when innocence has been proved for them. The costs to us as a family are mounting and my son, having recently starting a new job (doesn't want to miss work, although he has let his boss know - who provided the solicitors phone number). What else can we do? and what Ombudsman (or whatever name) can I seek help and complain to?
Stuart - 7-Jan-15 @ 10:50 AM
Hi, I attended a voluntary appointment for a statement to be given in defence of an adult were I was told that the accuser had no marks of injury and he has a witness and that witness statement doent fully agree with the accusers statement, I therefor had to produce witnesses and 1 witness I didn't receive there permission before an officer questioned them, because of this she refuses to give a statement but stated I did push the accuser, He assaulted my partner earlier that day and she is pregnant the copper bypassed that major fact as this would be the grounds for the foundation of the whole matter upon hearing it could go to court I reminded him about her wishing to press charges, he then said she would have to report it in usual way, Upon ringing to report crime they have stated the officer should of taken her statement from beginning, My partner is my carer and she wasn't allowed to be an appropriate person nor give a statement at all stating he wants to keep it impartial, Due to statements not working out and no marks. What's the chances of court and has this officer breached any law / misconduct
Wizard - 3-Jan-15 @ 2:45 AM
My partner was arrested for breaching hes bail conditions because he was in my flat. If someone rang 101 and lied to tell them he was refusimg to leave and threatening me..which he wasnt! Is there a chance he could get back out on bail?
stressed.com - 2-Jan-15 @ 2:13 PM
Hi. My husband was arrested for assault against me (I had called 101 to seek advice) and he was charged at the police station.He attended court beginning of December to which they kept his bail conditions of (1) not to contact me and (2) not to enter our street.This is the most ridiculous thing ever as I do not agree with how we are being treated.I withdrew my statement and also wrote to the magistrates explaining how my husband is the main caregiver to our 4 children, and without him, I cannot work or support the children.They completely disregarded this and kept the bail conditions the same.Is there any way of getting these bail conditions overturned as his trial date isn't until March and I will lose my job if I take that amount of time off?(I work shift work and cannot arrange childcare for early hours of the mornings or late nights) Also, I have had a notice to attend court, to which I called them and told them that I would not co operate with them and that I would not be attending.If I am summons, is it correct that I actually don't have to say anything in court? Any help would be really appreciated.
sleepingbeauty1001 - 31-Dec-14 @ 2:56 PM
My partner was out in bail and cinditions were not to contact me or come to my home. Well a few days ago he was here and we had a disagreement. In the heat of the moment i wanted to really hurt him so i called 101 and told them he was here. They came straight away and arrested him. I then made a statement claimed he had stayed the previous night and was now refusing to leave and that he had stayed one other night before this week. He was taken to court the next day where the judge decided to keep him on remand and he was sent straight to a prison until hes court date in february. I did not expect them to remand him and i feel really bad that i made such a stupid decision to call them whilst i was angry and upset and now would like to do whatever i can to help the situation. Am i likely to get in trouble if i go to the station and admit to what i have done? If i do this what are the chances he would get released
feelingbad - 28-Dec-14 @ 12:15 AM
@Confused.com - I think in this case you could do with talking to someone confidentially who can advise your best course of action. Women's Aid is a National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline on 808 2000 247. The Helpline is staffed 24 hours a day by fully trained female helpline support workers and volunteers. All calls are completely confidential. I hope this helps.
CourtroomAdvice - 23-Dec-14 @ 12:18 PM
My partner was arrested for domestic violence after we had a row that ended with him hurting me. He has been on bail since september 2nd and it has been extended 3 times now. He has been charged with common assault however he has pleaded not guilty so is currently on bail again awaiting trial in february 2015. I have been summoned as a witness for this trial and am also the victim in the case. Now i wasnt aware of hes bail conditio s as police have beeb ridiculois at updating me with whata going on so i have(stupidly i no) been allowimg h to come over and spend time with our 2 children. However sometimes when he is here he refuses to stuck to the time limits i have set and has also refused to leavr at all some days. I have plans for me and my children to go away in 2 days for xmas and he has a friend in the area i am going to and hes threatening to follow us there. I have just recently come across some paperwork of his from the court which must have fallen out of hes jacket pocket and they clearly state a whole list of bail conditions..all of which he has broken nearly every day since being arrested. Im terrifroed of what will happen if i stand my ground and argue with him to leave so of i was to call the police Or have someone do it for me and tell them he is at my house when hes clearly not meant to would they come straight away? And would he ever be told who it was that made that call? What is likely to happen to him if they do come arrest him?
Confused.com - 22-Dec-14 @ 8:18 PM
My bondsman is a patient AT my in-laws business. Two times he has announced that he is my bondsman and I need to check in w him. I did check in w his co worker. We dont even have a relationship with my in-laws.. It imbarassed them and he did it in front of other patients. Is there a confidentiality rule concerning that?
dixie - 17-Dec-14 @ 10:21 PM
I have been married for approx 3 years, and have recently been falsely accused of common assault by my partner. Court trail is not for another 5 months, therefore i am on bail and not allowed to return the matrimonial home. Saying that, the matrimonial home is under my name as is the mortgage for the last 17 years. Considering the property & mortgage is solely under my name should these bail conditions still be applied..? Should my partner seek alternative accommadation.?
Singh - 14-Dec-14 @ 5:41 PM
@Jane28 - I think the best thing would be for you to talk to someone directly to explain your worries and fears. Refuge is a 24-hour National Domestic Violence confidential freephone helpline which is staffed by fully trained female helpline support workers and volunteers that will help guide you in the right direction. Link here.
CourtroomAdvice - 10-Dec-14 @ 2:48 PM
Hi thanks for writing bak. I was just wondering as hes been to prison Before for fighting and other offences Are they more than likly to bail him.or keep Him in custody as if he gets out on bail He will either hurt me again or get someone Else to do it. I have photos of my face and neck I dont no if thats enough evidence . And iv got some messages from him saying hes sorry For doin it . I dont know what to do this guy is a phsyco im scared To go out incase hes got anyone else to hurt me too .
jane28 - 10-Dec-14 @ 10:24 AM
@Jane28 - You can press charges after an assault by filing the charge with your local police station. Police officers will need to fill out a report and you will have to give them your name, the assailant’s name, both addresses and where the assault occurred, plus date and time it occurred, how it occurred and other supplementary information. If there is enough evidence to bring about charges, then an arrest warrant will be issued. This CPS document should help you and show you where you can get help here. First and foremost you need to keep yourself safe, and prevent this from happening to you again.
CourtroomAdvice - 9-Dec-14 @ 12:20 PM
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