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Police and Court Bail

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 25 Jul 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 was bailed last month and told when to come back but while at the station they had some issues and i was not given any paperwork for when to return. I was told I would recieve a letter or email but havent had anything. I cannot remember when i need to go so I contacted the officer dealing with the case as she told me she would take me to the station and keep me updated but i have had no response. I am pretty sure what day it is but not sure of the time and dont have the funds to get me there what can i do??
Lew - 25-Jul-16 @ 3:57 PM
My 12 year old daughter was walking home from school and was attacked by a 21 year old as well as three of her friends . Her trial was on the 24th of June which she plead guilty to 4 assaults on a minor she was due for sentencing today . She showed up an hour late had a go at me and one of the other mums to which a police officer followed us about to make sure we were safe. It got deferred to the 8th of Dec. When she was walking past us she burst out laughing in our faces . I've now found out her bail conditions have been dropped. What can I do to protect my daughter as she lives a 5 min walk away from me
leeann Murray - 20-Jul-16 @ 3:06 PM
Mouse - Your Question:
I have recently been arrested for a robbery charge with two other teenagers, but all though I was there I did not rob the victim myself but I was arrested under suspicion. My bail is in Birmingham and I have returned to London, and I can't manage to find fiancé to get back to Birmingham for my interview tomorrow, I am meant to sign on at the police station 3 times a week, but due to me having no finance I have not managed to get to Birmingham to sign on, I haven't signed on in a couple of weeks now and I would like to know if my case can get transferred to London. Is this possible.??

Our Response:
Please see link here which will tell you that you will be arrested if you don't turn up. Not having the available finance is not considered a valid excuse.
CourtroomAdvice - 19-Jul-16 @ 2:16 PM
I have recently been arrested for a robbery charge with two other teenagers, but all though I was there I did not rob the victim myself but I was arrested under suspicion. My bail is in Birmingham and I have returned to London, and I can't manage to find fiancé to get back to Birmingham for my interview tomorrow, I am meant to sign on at the police station 3 times a week, but due to me having no finance I have not managed to get to Birmingham to sign on, i haven't signed on in a couple of weeks now and I would like to know if my case can get transferred to London. Is this possible..??
Mouse - 19-Jul-16 @ 10:50 AM
Bob - Your Question:
I was arrested for common assault and have been bailed, no charge was made. I do not live in the area where the police station is and have no money to get there. There is a police station in the town I am in now, can I report to there instead.I had a police check for a room in a house as I was homeless and it mentions the assault but says no further action so I assume it is not going further. Any advice please

Our Response:
We do not have this information, you would have to check with the station directly regarding this.
CourtroomAdvice - 18-Jul-16 @ 11:42 AM
I was arrested for common assault and have been bailed, no charge was made. I do not live in the area where the police station is and have no money to get there. There is a police station in the town I am in now, can I report to there instead. I had a police check for a room in a house as I was homeless and it mentions the assault but says no further action so I assume it is not going further. Any advice please
Bob - 17-Jul-16 @ 12:15 PM
can anyone help me how do i go about getting bail address changed..
loulou - 15-Jul-16 @ 12:54 PM
My partner is serving a 2 year sentence for blackmail. During the investigation and trial he was on bail. He attended all his appointments. However when found guilty he was bailed and asked to return a few weeks later for sentencing. But he did not attend sentencing. He panicked and was afraid of the sentence. He was arrested a week later and took to court. He wrote the judge a letter apologising for not attending. The judge accepted this. He gave him a 3 month sentence for the bail offence to run concurrently with his 2 year sentence. However now the probation in prison are telling him he probably wont get the tag / hdc because of the bail offence. Is this true? He has had a tag previosuly about 8 years ago which he stuck to and completedwhat are his chances of getting the tag? Thanks.
Loulu - 5-Jul-16 @ 8:46 AM
My ex partner lied in court and i was found guilty of domestic assault so was given an 8 month good behaviour order and bail conditions still apply intil feb 2017,can i get my bail conditions dropped so i can see my kids as she is keeping them from me
Alan81 - 2-Jul-16 @ 9:18 AM
Am 16 year on age and am on bail for ang burglry could i go on holiday ?
tom - 25-Jun-16 @ 10:53 AM
My 15 year old son is on bail for burglary,theft and carrying an offensive weapon.......not what it seems but anyhows we go on holiday in a weeks time will he be able to come???? The only conditions on his bail sheet is not to go to a certain premises....
Lucy Jarman - 22-Jun-16 @ 9:24 PM
kerrie - Your Question:
My boyfriend got arrested on the 3rd of June for defending his pregnant misses and he got charged for assault and now he has applied for high court bail and I don't know if he will get it. I don't know how high court bail works.

Our Response:
As specified in the article, the court will decide whether your boyfriend should be allowed back into the public on the basis of whether he poses a risk and is likely to fail to attend court, interfere with witnesses or commit further offences and it will also take into consideration the nature and seriousness of his offence. If the court decides your boyfriend should not be given bail, he will be remanded in custody until the court hearing.
CourtroomAdvice - 21-Jun-16 @ 11:40 AM
My boyfriend got arrested on the 3rd of June for defending his pregnant misses and he got charged for assault and now he has applied for high court bail and I don't know if he will get it. I don't know how high court bail works.
kerrie - 20-Jun-16 @ 3:40 PM
Looking for advice police came threw my door found 800 tablets were not mines but As i was the only person in the house i was taken and charged also they took 800 pounds inhad put in a tin that day(i have proof where it came from was my son and my dla (saving up for backdoor fence and new big bouncy castle for my son) anyways at court the following day i signed a bit of paper if i was in trouble for the same thing within 2yrs would stay on my record if not would be wiped so im assuming i got a pf warning does this now mean case closed thanks stay in scotland
natty - 18-Jun-16 @ 7:10 PM
My son in law is on bail for the alleged sexual abuse of my grand daughter.As her Interim Guardian and for her sake.Should she be or even Iof any updates in bail conditions court appearances.We seem to be left in the darkno one is liasing with us.He has been already charged with serious offences which lead to the allegation being made to other members of the Family.
00 - 13-Jun-16 @ 11:51 PM
Helli my boyfriend's on bail against mw coz of a argument we had but i want to get the bail dropped but not sure how to do this
alleyjones02x - 11-Jun-16 @ 9:40 AM
I have recently found out I have a warrant for my arrest but am due to go on holiday on 1st June does this mean if I put it off until after my holiday I will not be able to board my flight ?
rya - 9-Jun-16 @ 8:19 PM
Hi I need to know somethink my brother in law was unfortunately bail to our address and he is staying with usbut he went to courtand because thepeople was unwell he has to apear back in two months time does that mean he is still on bail at our addresspleaselet me know ASAP thankyou
Sylvia44 - 9-Jun-16 @ 5:02 PM
My son has to go bck to a policestation miles away from where we live to answer bail. He hs spoken to the officer to tell him that he has no way of getting there and asked if he cld attend at the local station, 2 b told No. Is there anything that cn b dne so that he cld attend the local station?
Paula - 8-Jun-16 @ 4:23 PM
my boyfriend is on bail for fighting with nieghbours and not up to court till 22nd of july in the mean time he isnt allowed to contact me or anything i have just found out im pregnant to him does anyone know if there is anything we can do so that he can come to appointments and scans??
LUCY - 8-Jun-16 @ 1:23 PM
I was wondering how I am able to influence the pf into dropping the bail conditions set out for my mum after a family arguement went wrong, my health is currently not its best and I want my family around to support me, would this be considered as the trial is in 1 month
Aim - 7-Jun-16 @ 11:55 PM
I was arrested and police bailed untill the 12th may. I was told by police I would be rebailed. It is now the 6th june and I still have not heard anything about being rebailed. Am I to believe all is dropped and no further action taken. I have contacted police but still not heard a thing.
ranx - 6-Jun-16 @ 12:47 PM
I had booked to go to ireland for a day to visit my grandparents graves who recently passed. I booked before the court date and was sentenced to a 4 week curfew. I suffer with depression since they passed have not been to there funeral or grave. Took me ages to save for the flights. Can my curfew be relaxed for a day.?
Swillsofbrum - 4-Jun-16 @ 1:04 PM
i am currently on bail after being detained and interviewed, leading to me being arrested and charged with reach of the peace, which also stipulates there was some form of domestic abuse involved. My fiance and i both wrote letters communicating through my father, we have both spoken to clerks in the PF's office, my fiance gave a verbal statement over the phone stating the police have blown that days events way out of proportion and attempted to Pervert The Course of justice by asking my fiasnce to give a false statement. I attended court next day after being detained overnightr and my medication for mental being with held from me for over 9 hours even after several attempts of asking for it explaining it was needed. i appeared at court and was granted bail to my home adress, where my fiance had to move out to a womans refuge until things are sorted, my case was put in front of the judge today and dismissed as i did not attend, no one told me i had to attend and my fiance is going into labour, am i able to attend the birth of my little girl, though it will breach my bail conditions, what may happen ?
Dirtycash - 3-Jun-16 @ 10:41 PM
If someone is on bail and has been given a date to return to the police station, are the police allowed to change it to a later date, despite the person stating from the start that they will not be available on certain dates? Thanks
Seh - 2-Jun-16 @ 10:55 PM
My brother recently received a conditional bail to our home address for a drug related offence; there was a misprint in documents and the police believe that he was bailed to the secondary bail address which was provided. However, the Court clearly stated that he is to bailed to his home address... As it is the weekend, and bank holiday Monday is coming up, he will have to wait until Tuesday to go court and change this error, he has notified the police that he is residing at his home address (where bail was granted). Will there be any legal issues? Will this be classified as a breach? Moreover, we cannot find his passport, is there any alternative? as this was also part of the conditional bail. Thank you.
KC - 28-May-16 @ 11:18 PM
My sister is living in uk having permanent residence,she is having court cases regading her child.will court is eligible for taking the passports of her and her child.her passports are taken by the court.
mahi - 28-May-16 @ 3:50 PM
Caz - Your Question:
My boyfriend has just got a rested for brich of baull by comeing to are home I have tried to tuck to the police about leting back home ar kids r missing him and I am. But thay sed he can't he is living on the streets. Whot shud I do

Our Response:
There is nothing you can do. If your boyfriend has breached his bail conditions then this matter is out of your hands. It will be up to the police and/or courts to decide his punishment.
CourtroomAdvice - 26-May-16 @ 12:36 PM
My boyfriend has just got a rested for brich of baull by comeing to are home I have tried to tuck to the police about leting back home ar kids r missing him and I am. But thay sed he can't he is living on the streets. Whot shud I do
Caz - 25-May-16 @ 8:34 PM
Josh - Your Question:
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

Our Response:
You would have to speak directly to the police station where you need to attend your bail appointment.
CourtroomAdvice - 25-May-16 @ 11:52 AM
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