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Police and Court Bail

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 2 Dec 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]
Hi my boyfriends probation officer phoned to confirm address with me n sed he was due to be realised was passing it on to his own town probation n hes not erd iv rang n sed she doesn't no owt if he not out can do I think he held till court but not til feb n we on plo with social services should start risk n parenting course together until we both do its under court proceedings advice plz ?
mary - 2-Dec-16 @ 10:01 AM
Askinn - Your Question:
My husband was a taxi driver and girl said that he touched her which they dont have no proove and he didnt coz she was drunk and she wanted to do something with him and he has being bailed for 6 times everytime police said they dont have enough evidence for court so they keep giving another date what can we do about this? Can you give me information isit not illegal for bailing him 6 times

Our Response:
Although it is in motion to place a time limit on how many times an individual can be bailed and the length of bail, this still has not been pushed through parliament, meaning there is still currently no time limit and no need for police to seek approval to get bail extended before charge.
CourtroomAdvice - 1-Dec-16 @ 12:57 PM
My husband was a taxi driver and girl said that he touched her which they dont have no proove and he didnt coz she was drunk and she wanted to do something with him and he has being bailed for 6 times everytime police said they dont have enough evidence for court so they keep giving another date what can we do about this? Can you give me information isit not illegal for bailing him 6 times
Askinn - 30-Nov-16 @ 7:13 PM
My partner was rebailed by the police for further inquires at the end of October and has of yet not been given a new bail date. All the solicitor keeps saying is that he's heard nothing and contacted them several times. How long can it go on for without a rebail date?
Ali - 28-Nov-16 @ 6:48 AM
Is there any way to get the bail revoked off my boyfriend so he can get home and get in contact with me
Mary - 23-Nov-16 @ 11:09 AM
Wondering if you can help my boyfriend is on bail condition that he is not aloud contact me or come home until the trial is over but am wondering if you can help me get his bail dropped so he can come home and be in contact with me
Mary - 22-Nov-16 @ 7:25 PM
My friend was charged with possesion of weed and possibly intent to supply.her partner had just died and the police attended .and while there stumbled on his work bag with the items in it.there was a concious attempt for it to be hidden from her.because she is the tennant she was charged.this was over a year ago .is this not time barred or any advice on what is going to come of it thanks.
Chief - 20-Nov-16 @ 12:10 PM
Hi my boyfriend failed to appear go to court,he also breach bail condition being to me,and assault me,he was charged already for assault by beating before,i would like to know what happen with him
kikinka - 17-Nov-16 @ 9:58 PM
What does it mean when you have too go bk to police station before you have too go bk to see if you get re bailed or released? Anyone know?
TJ - 16-Nov-16 @ 4:39 PM
Can a person be convicted on hearsay evidence in crown court?
Tame - 15-Nov-16 @ 7:21 AM
My partner was arrested for assult on myself, he was drunk and has admitted his wrong doing, he is bailed until January until the court date! Bail states no contact with myself but i am safe and we need to have contact for the children. Can i get the bail against him dropped???
Rooo88 - 14-Nov-16 @ 9:02 AM
My partner been released on bail on driving with proportion of specified drug above specified limit. They done drug test. Hemust go back to police station in 2 months time. Will he be able to travel abroad in the meantime? Christmas etc. In the paperwork it doesnt say anything except attending in two months time.
Sami - 13-Nov-16 @ 11:27 AM
Katrina/Iain - Your Question:
Hi my partner has been remanded into custody last week for two armed robbery which he did not commit. The evidence is very low he has been to prison once before and he did go on the run but he came back and did his time he even got out early on tag which was never breeched and the same with probation. His mum is putting £20.00.00 for bail and he has asked to live with her. What are the chances he will get bail please.

Our Response:
We cannot predict whether he will get bail. Your partner's legal representative will be able to advise more fully regarding your question.
CourtroomAdvice - 8-Nov-16 @ 1:37 PM
Hi my partner has been remanded into custody last week for two armed robbery which he did not commit. The evidence is very low he has been to prison once before and he did go on the run but he came back and did his time he even got out early on tag which was never breeched and the same with probation. His mum is putting £20.00.00 for bail and he has asked to live with her. What are the chances he will get bail please.
Katrina/Iain - 8-Nov-16 @ 5:14 AM
BP - Your Question:
My brother is on unconditional bail pending investigation, he should be cleared as the incident happened in a place he was never in. He has lent his ID to an underage friend who got caught with it, what will happen given that he is on bail?

Our Response:
We cannot make predictions regarding what will happen in a court case.
CourtroomAdvice - 7-Nov-16 @ 10:35 AM
My brother is on unconditional bail pending investigation, he should be cleared as the incident happened in a place he was never in. He has lent his ID to an underage friend who got caught with it, what will happen given that he is on bail?
BP - 6-Nov-16 @ 9:04 AM
The police would arrive at my house sometimes eight at a time after my neighbours made allegations that I was harassing them. Greater Manchester Police officers would arrive at my house knowing full well that my neighbours had 24 hour CCTV cameras covertly filming me. In 2012 my neighbours handed over CCTV footage from their cameras, showing beyond any doubt that they had positioned their CCTV cameras to covertly film me. This is the only CCTV footage my neighbours ever handed over to the police in five years of allegations that I've been harassing them. The police have destroyed this CCTV footage. My neighbours installed CCTV cameras in early 2010. So again in March 2014 my neighbours made a written statement to the police saying that, “We have CCTV footage running 24 hours a day” yet they cannot show any evidence. In August 2014 the police arrived at my house to inform me that my neighbours had unplugged their 24 hour CCTV because it was making too much noise. So my neighbours told the police that they were being harassed yet they unplug their CCTV cameras.? In 2014 my neighbours told the police that their CCTV will prove that their dogs definitely do not bark continuously, yet they cannot prove any of the allegations of harassment. If there is no conspiracy involving the police and my neighbour, then why can't they show at least two minutes of all this daily harassment I have alleged to have been doing? Conclusion: So from 2010 to August 2014 my neighbours had 24 hour CCTV covertly filming me, they accuse me of waging a daily campaign of harassment against them.Yet they cannot show one single incident on those CCTV cameras. SO WHO IS THE ONE TELLING LIES?
tame - 5-Nov-16 @ 11:48 AM
Lucinda- Your Question:
My ex partner was arrested due to a sexual encounter with me gone wrong. I had cisioned it as rape, though the consequences (in my opinion) say it was simply a misunderstanding. I really think he did nothing wrong. He has been out on bail and is not allowed to speak with me, or my family. Same with me to him and his family. But I kept hearing the fate November 4th for his bail, and I assume that's when he's off bail. When he is, I'm allowed to speak with him. Right? I've missed him sorely, and wish to speak with him. I feel terrible about what happened, as people in our social circle have pinned him as a rapist, which he isn't. Will I be able to see him?

Our Response:
If he has been charged, he is out on bail and his conditions are he is not to contact you then his bail will usually continue up to and including any court hearing, please see link here.
CourtroomAdvice - 1-Nov-16 @ 2:53 PM
do my bail conditions i got in Scotland apply in England or Wales
jay - 30-Oct-16 @ 5:41 PM
My ex partner was arrested due to a sexual encounter with me gone wrong. I had cisioned it as rape, though the consequences (in my opinion) say it was simply a misunderstanding. I really think he did nothing wrong. He has been out on bail and is not allowed to speak with me, or my family. Same with me to him and his family. But I kept hearing the fate November 4th for his bail, and I assume that's when he's off bail. When he is, I'm allowed to speak with him. Right? I've missed him sorely, and wish to speak with him. I feel terrible about what happened, as people in our social circle have pinned him as a rapist, which he isn't. Will I be able to see him?
Lucinda - 29-Oct-16 @ 9:05 PM
hello and thank you for considering this question. A freelance contractor has been accused of theft and fraud; he has been on bail for 6 months while policeinvestigate; during this period, he was charged with, and appeared in court and convicted of damaging a mobile phone; he was ordered to pay £20 damage and £85 costs. Surely this is a breach of bail, however, it appears the police did not realise he was on bail as he changed addresses! Was he lucky to get away with it or what is the usual situation for when one is on bail? Many thanks
RED1 - 27-Oct-16 @ 6:39 PM
My partner was arrested and bailed after an argument and threats while he was drunk (he was living with me) andbailed at another address (I have heard that the person he is staying with is physically attacking him)- can he change his bail address on basis of this? I have made a retraction statement and hope further down the line that we will reconcile. It was an argument that got out of hand. Please explain bail address conditions/rules. can he rent another residence while on bail?
Fifi - 26-Oct-16 @ 1:16 PM
stell - Your Question:
Partner on police bail and went back today at the time they said but police officer was not there and no other bail conditions where handed to him.does this mean his on or off bail.

Our Response:
You would need to contact the station again directly to find this out, as we cannot advise.
CourtroomAdvice - 25-Oct-16 @ 1:49 PM
I had to dismiss my solicitor and barrister, not that I wanted to do this of coursebut I just could not believe what my solicitor was saying to me, and I quote here what my solicitor said to me, "If you go in there and start going off on one about CCTV cameras, we can't represent you because we would be professionally embarrassed because we represented you in court in 2012"
Tame - 25-Oct-16 @ 1:11 PM
Partner on police bail and went back today at the time they said but police officer was not there and no other bail conditions where handed to him.does this mean his on or off bail.
stell - 24-Oct-16 @ 3:22 PM
Hi my brother in law is on remand at the moment and id like to act as a surety for his bail. How do i go about this and how much money are we talking about or can i put my car up. Also its for an assault charge.
Jackyboy - 21-Oct-16 @ 8:29 AM
Tame - Your Question:
So what is the time limit that a person can be on court bail?

Our Response:
Currently, there is no limit to the length of time someone can be on precharge bail and there is no limit on the number of times a suspect can be re-bailed, while the government wishes to change this, is has not yet been decided upon. You can see more via the House of Commons information here.
CourtroomAdvice - 17-Oct-16 @ 10:45 AM
Question: If a person/s makes a false statement to the police what could happen? For example a person/s claim to be someone that they are not in a police statement.
Tame - 16-Oct-16 @ 11:36 AM
So what is the time limit that a person can be on court bail?
Tame - 16-Oct-16 @ 8:50 AM
I am going to use random cities as I really want to stay anonymous. My uncle has been placed on bail the only condition is that he cannot contact the person who made the complaint against him. We're in Liverpool. He was arrested in Liverpool. The Liverpool police have said that they are happy to take a statement and fax it over to the investigating officers in Manchester where the alledged crime happened. However after being held for 10 hours by Liverpool Police because Manchester police said the wanted to interview him personally but never showed up the Manchester police now want him to travel to Manchester to make the statement. My question is can he actually be forced to? He is a carer for someone who really couldn't be left alone for a long time while he's up there. Especially as the claims are petty.
Hello - 14-Oct-16 @ 10:45 PM
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