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Police and Court Bail

Author: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 30 August 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]
I have just found out that A young guy who works in the same store as my wife is on police bail for attempted rape of a young girl in March he is under curfew but still goes out driving at night with his mates also he is being allowed to work with other women and service female customers and nobody knows of the pending court date,also he has started to jump out at my with to scare her thinking it's funny and she is at her wits endshe has told her boss's what's happening but nothing has been done and I am worried what else he might do, what course of action should I take
Pauls - 30-Aug-15 @ 10:56 AM
Is a prosecuting witness against me allowed to change their evidence against me, under oath? Basically a witness did do this against my. As I was put on trial twice for the same offence. Due to a jury member acting improperly. At the second trial, the witness in question, gave completedifferent evidence, knowingly by the prosecutor and the trial judge. Is This permissible?
merthatidval - 30-Aug-15 @ 8:59 AM
I called the police to remove my husband from the house as he had put his hand round my neck with no unreasonable force due to and arguement I told the operator I didn't want nothing to happen I just wanted him removed, before ending the call I told the operator that he had left but they still sent someone out they later arrested him and interviewed him but realised on bail with conditions he does not enter the street or home or contact me I didn't make a statement and I didn't press charges but he was charged with common assault and has to appear in court in a few days he suffers from depression and has done for many years and has recently stopped the medication but also found out some disturbing information no parent should ever hear about there child and has been finding it hard to deal with alot of things within 15 months we have had a our wedding our baby born our lil boy dealing with personal issues worries over my babies birthmark (the growth) he was charged with ABH in 2004 got community service and 12 month suspended sentence he hasn't been in trouble with the police until recently, what type of punishment would he most likely get?
Rae1 - 29-Aug-15 @ 10:43 PM
I should contact the court to find out whether your charges have been dropped. There are various reasons why your charges may be dropped and it might have fallen into one of these categories. If you haven't heard for two years the liklihood is that it has been well forgotten.
Jem - 28-Aug-15 @ 9:50 AM
Unfair - Your Question:
H I handed myself into the police station after having a domestic with my partner and police got called by a neighbour I left the family home and came back a few hours later to be told by my partner the I should go as police looking for so I went down to police station to speak to them while waiting a front desk my wife called to say that she dropped the charges as its out of character for me to told to her as off all my medication I am on but still got arrested and held for 12 hours and charged even thou she dropped the charges before I handed my self in no I have bail conditions from cps stating I can't go near the home or speak to my wife my court date is in 5 weeks time I am sleeping in my car and been married for 15 years with 3 kids and my first time ever getting into trouble with the police can we have have the bail conditions lifted and how as this seems so unfair and all we want to do is forget it and be a family again

Our Response:
I'm afraid you would have to speak with your solicitor or legal representative directly regarding this as the CPS has the power to prosecute regardless of whether your ex has decided not to press charges. The aims and objectives of the CPS is to have the safety of the victim or vulnerable person as a prime consideration when reaching its decision.
CourtroomAdvice - 27-Aug-15 @ 11:36 AM
I was arrested from a flight from UK to Spain. The charges are sexual assault for allegedly nipping a hostesses bum. This was done under the influence of alcohol and have no recollection of doing it (but not the point) I was held and given bail. They told me I had to be represented by a Spanish solicitor and put me in touch with a guy that wanted €700. I didn't get in touch with the solicitor as at the time I thought the whole thing was a joke and would just possibly expect a fine in the post. This wasn't the case I havent heard nothing from the court house and this was 2 years ago. What would my situation be and how can I go about amending it?
DP - 27-Aug-15 @ 2:45 AM
H I handed myself into the police station after having a domestic with my partner and police got called by a neighbour I left the family home and came back a few hours later to be told by my partner the I should go as police looking for so I went down to police station to speak to them while waiting a front desk my wife called to say that she dropped the charges as its out of character for me to told to her as off all my medication I am on but still got arrested and held for 12 hours and charged even thou she dropped the charges before I handed my self in no I have bail conditions from cps stating I can't go near the home or speak to my wife my court date is in 5 weeks time I am sleeping in my car and been married for 15 years with 3 kids and my first time ever getting into trouble with the police can we have have the bail conditions lifted and how as this seems so unfair and all we want to do is forget it and be a family again
Unfair - 26-Aug-15 @ 1:49 PM
mat - Your Question:
Hi if you been arrested on suspicion of child abuse and let out on bail can you apply to the count to stop the other parent the mother taken them out of the country or of the local area.? The arrested party has taken the passports and was concerned about the children's. The arrested party may have restrictions to leave to see the kids and the wife. Also can you to called back to custody for while on bail?

Our Response:
I can't see there would be anything stopping you applying for a Prohibited Steps Order, which is an order granted by the court in family cases which prevents either parent from carrying out certain events or making specific trips with their children without the express permission of the other parent. This is more common in cases where there is suspicion that one parent may leave the area with their children. However, you would really need to seek legal advice on this as a solicitor will inform you whether it would be advisable or not. With regards to your additional question, you can be re-arrested if you breach your bail conditions.
CourtroomAdvice - 25-Aug-15 @ 2:15 PM
@concerned girlfriend. Has he been charged, or bailed without charge? If he has been bailed without charge and they have re-bailed him for lack of evidence it may mean they don't have enough proof to bring full charges against him so the case would be dropped. But it's always difficult to say.
PaulB - 25-Aug-15 @ 10:34 AM
Hi if you been arrested on suspicion of child abuse and let out on bail can you apply to the count to stop the other parent the mother taken them out of the country or of the local area.? The arrested party has taken the passports and was concerned about the children's. The arrested party may have restrictions to leave to see the kids and the wife. Also can you to called back to custody for while on bail?
mat - 24-Aug-15 @ 9:18 PM
my boyfriend got locked up for conspiracey to steal motor part which he then got bail he went back to sign his bail conditions and they said it theft now they have re bailed him just really want to know what the outcome could be they said they had re bailed him for lack of evidence. thanks someone reply asap
concerned girlfriend - 24-Aug-15 @ 10:20 AM
My son was arrested with a large amount of class A drugs (which he was selling) he gave no fixed abode as both myself and his dad are civil servants he didn't want us to know and we had no idea he was doing this. The police told him he had to sign in three times a week until his date in September.The man who had him selling the drugs ( because my son owed him money) was continuing to make him sell to pay off the debt even after his arrest and threatened to come to me if he didn't so he disappears and went to my parents he told them everything by this time he had missed his signing in day.My father is going to take him to the station as it is now 2 days since he should have signed in.What will happen to him now obviously we are devastated but he remains our 19 year old son and we want to help him.
Worried mum - 23-Aug-15 @ 7:52 PM
@Derictrotter - It depends on whether you can prove the train was late, in which case you shouldn't have any repercussions.
Wez - 19-Aug-15 @ 2:45 PM
I can't see why they would arrest you if the person gave their age as 18. If they were advertising themeslves as 18, then you are OK - if they were advertising themselves as under-age, then this would be a different matter.
Matt - 19-Aug-15 @ 12:40 PM
Can anyone give me an answer to the question I asked on here on the 16th just really need some advice thanx
xxbabyminx - 19-Aug-15 @ 3:18 AM
Hi, if you are late for your curfew while on tag due to say a late train or traffic what will happen? Thanks :)
Derictrotter - 18-Aug-15 @ 10:32 PM
i meet up with some a guy from a app called grindr who was not 18 they were 15 we met twice and long story short he had been meeting other older guys from this ap i was arrrsted in sep 2014 and bailed and bailed umtil now i have to report to the station next wed for a re interview they will not tell what about i have legal advice if they found any crimninal activity would they come and arrestred me
A - 18-Aug-15 @ 5:48 PM
A - Your Question:
I have been on bail since 26 sep for meeting a boy of grindr ( 18 plus) we met up twice the boy was 15 not known it has become clear that he has been meeting other lads of the same app, I am still awaiting judgememt I have kept my self to my self and reported to police before bail date and been re bailed I dont want to live any more I have about 4 to 5 hours sleep keep my mind at ease with booze and tried many ways to hang my self this kept secret is making me ill by the day like a cancer my job is at risk and I will abandadon my mum and sister in disgrace am 24years of age

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. If you did know know this boy's age and he lied about his age, then you will be in the all clear. I know it seems like this may be the worst thing that has happened to you, but it will blow over. There is nothing to be ashamed of, if you have done nothing wrong. You don't say what your issues are, but if it is one of wishing to hide your sexuality, then you may find your mum and sister are perfectly fine with it. Please try and keep together and if you feel suicidal, you really need to get help, even if it is to speak to someone at the end of a phone line where you wont be judged. See Samaritans link here.
CourtroomAdvice - 18-Aug-15 @ 2:38 PM
I have been on bail since 26 sep for meeting a boy of grindr ( 18 plus)we met up twice the boy was 15 not known it has become clear that he has been meeting other lads of the same app,i am still awaiting judgememt i have kept my self to my self and reported to police before bail date and been re bailed i dont want to live any more i have about 4 to 5 hours sleep keep my mind at ease with booze and tried many ways to hang my self this kept secret is making me ill by the day like a cancer my job is at risk and i will abandadon my mum and sister in disgrace am 24years of age
A - 17-Aug-15 @ 11:50 PM
Hi my son was on tag and tracking he then got in to more trouble while on tag and it was to do with the first offence and it as been sent to the crown his first offence was a section 18 then he as been don for a fray while on tag was remanded by the youth court but now the prison system are saying he his to young in mind for his age to be there his case is to be delt with by the crown is there a chance he could get bail with the crown if he's found not fit to ple thanx
xxbabyminx - 16-Aug-15 @ 12:48 PM
help me plz - Your Question:
My husband was areseted yesterday for drinking and drive so I was asking if l can go and take the car at the police station?

Our Response:
You would have to be insured to drive his car. If you are unsure, you should contact the police station where it is being held and ask for more advice.
CourtroomAdvice - 11-Aug-15 @ 1:38 PM
Anxious - Your Question:
I am currently on police bail for possession of child animal porn which was sent through my private email being hacked. I accidently opened the attachmenent which was down loaded onto the hard disk. My bail conditions require me to stay away from my wife and children and out of my property which I have paid off the mortgage. While being on bail and awaiting my trail I have received a letter from my wife's solictor demanding a divorce and greeting to sign over the property for which she will give me only 25% of its market value and not claim child maintence but if I don't agree then she will go to court and start divorce proceedings and also make a claim for child maintence. I had no idea of this and have not physically or mentally abused her or the children. I didn't leave my house voluntarily as my bail conditions forced me to leave. Can you advise me on what rights I can as I don't want to get a divorce.

Our Response:
You of course can contest the divorce. However, it means your wife could take you to court which will be far more costly to you in court fees and you may come out with a lot less than if you came to an amicable agreement. I can't advise you on what the best course of action might be as I assume you will have a court case to face on the back of this. If your wife is adamant she wants a divorce then she will get one eventually regardless of whether you contest it or not, it just may cost you a lot more attempting to prevent it than not.
CourtroomAdvice - 10-Aug-15 @ 2:14 PM
My husband was areseted yesterday for drinking and drive so I was asking if l can go and take the car at the police station?
help me plz - 9-Aug-15 @ 9:58 AM
If under High Court bail in Scotland with a curfew attached(8pm-6am), does this include the garden of the property or must it be inside the property?
Stevie - 8-Aug-15 @ 2:29 PM
I am currently on police bail for possession of child animal porn which was sent through my private email being hacked. I accidently opened the attachmenent which was down loaded onto the hard disk. My bail conditions require me to stay away from my wife and children and out of my property which I have paid off the mortgage. While being on bail and awaiting my trail I have received a letter from my wife's solictor demanding a divorce and greeting to sign over the property for which she will give me only 25% of its market value and not claim child maintence but if I don't agree then she will go to court and start divorce proceedings and also make a claim for child maintence. I had no idea of this and have not physically or mentally abused her or the children. I didn't leave my house voluntarily as my bail conditions forced me to leave. Can you advise me on what rights I can as I don't want to get a divorce.
Anxious - 8-Aug-15 @ 10:54 AM
My sister`s husband has been charged for Asaulting her, his bail conditions is not to go near her or property, but police has bailed him to his mums address 3 Doors away / { 15Metres } which we think is not right, the Nght he got bailed he Delibrtly parked his car on the Drive, done this for three days, informed police, they said they will have a word with him and said it was to much paperwork to arreest him for braech of bail, He has now removed car of drive. Can we do anything to make the police to bail him further away. He his due in court in Three weeks.
jhugh - 7-Aug-15 @ 10:05 PM
@Suzie - I'm afraid it is impossible to advise on this as much will depend upon his previous record and current actions in the eyes of the court.
CourtroomAdvice - 30-Jul-15 @ 12:37 PM
Sir, 4 members has been on bail in IPC302 , but due to missing of one date court has custudy , i have apply for bail on 22 Jul 15 but still court has not any order given. What is other step please suggest.
san - 29-Jul-15 @ 6:16 PM
my ex husband was charged with assaulting me, he was given bail conditions not to contact me, however he was constantly phoning and texting. He was pressuring me to drop the charges against him as a close family member was seriously ill and the possibility of him going to jail would have been too much for them. I did this but he was still found guilty but as i withdrew my statement he was only fined on a lesser charge. I have now found out that this was all a lie and that there was nothing wrong with the family member, he only said this to make me feel guilty. Do i have any comeback on him as i can prove that he was constantly contacting me breaching the bail conditions he had.
Nicckys - 29-Jul-15 @ 10:55 AM
My partner threw cold coffee in my face nearly a month ago, I got him charged and he was put on bail, he's already on bail with his ex partner, without going into the emotional reasons why I've decided to give him a second chance however he's not allowed to contact me till October, I've sent emails to his lawyer and fiscals office stating that I wish to reconcile and it was a silly mistake, that he's been punished enough and we would like to make amends, the review is on Thursday and the solicitor is optimistic, do we have a good chance of the bail getting lifted? I know domestics are taken seriously, I have told fiscal that I've been with him 7 months and he's never been aggressive or abusive and this was a one off, that he is a kind loving man. I'm worried his bail with ex and my history with my ex ( my ex was extremely abusive) may stop court from lifting bail as I may be regarded as vulnerable, my daughter is nearly 16 and I know they will consider this also. Have we a real chance at it getting lifted?
Suzie - 28-Jul-15 @ 2:20 PM
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