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Police and Court Bail

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 30 Sep 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]
My ex partner is out on bail and has special bail conditions to not contact me but I have sent a letter away to have the bail conditions dropped. How long will this take?
Emz - 30-Sep-16 @ 12:01 PM
Vorse- Your Question:
My ex partner was arrested on 22nd Sept for child sexual abuse of a 3 year old, underage sex with a 14 year old and beastiality, why was he released after 24 hours and given such long bail until end of November please? He was recorded admitting to these crimes. Thank you.

Our Response:
He would have been granted bail so further investigations can take place. As shocking as it may seem, many child sex offenders are given bail prior to the court hearing.
CourtroomAdvice - 30-Sep-16 @ 11:00 AM
I was arrested last year for a fraud but no money was II evolved I was charged this year in June. Am on bail with very strict conditions such as being on monitoring electric tag and sign I g on twice a week. I am in my fifties and furious as I know the case will be dropped.I am on a warned list for the case to be heard in October.I had a holiday booked during that time and am upset as will not be able to go.where and how can I get these bail conditions removed my solicitor does not want to help . Can I do if myself . The judge who put me on the electric tagging is abated piece of work and was shouting at me in the court. Please help as a m very distress.
Baby - 30-Sep-16 @ 6:55 AM
My ex partner was arrested on 22nd Sept for child sexual abuse of a 3 year old, underage sex with a 14 year old and beastiality, why was he released after 24 hours and given such long bail until end of November please? He was recorded admitting to these crimes. Thank you.
Vorse - 29-Sep-16 @ 11:53 AM
My husband bail was denied bcoz of his a foreigner same, crime bt da bail denied was bcoz of the court says their a protecting the community agaisnt him, it was bcoz of possession of drugs!!
nellybaby - 27-Sep-16 @ 1:46 PM
Hello I've been charged for da common assault and I plead guilty straight away in police station. Im on bail and been elected from my flat for one month until the court date. The reason I've been hit her is because she been drinkin in front of the flatagain with the neighbours and the child been asleep in the bed....she drink quite off ten but that day I just get very angry and could keep calm and I hit her once, I don't know what to expect into the court and with could be my punishment. I'm still have concerns about my child and his welfare.
Dimi - 26-Sep-16 @ 3:38 PM
My husband Is on remmand into prison for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. I am on the same charge but I have been granted bail I am really worried about my husband he was suppose to have his bail hearing but the court keeps putting it off and saying it's a court problem what are they playing at I just want to know what can I do to have my husband back home and to stop all this nonsense.
Lil bear - 24-Sep-16 @ 4:51 PM
Hi, My partner is now in remand for three months in prison. He's got conditions to not contact me however I want to drop the charges but the CPS will not. I want to see him in prison. How can I lift the conditions?
ConfusedT - 23-Sep-16 @ 4:25 PM
cs - Your Question:
Hi recently I made a statment against my partner as we was drunk and things went bad. He is now on bail conditions not to have contact with me however we have broke these conditions can someone please tell me what's going to happen I don't want him to get in trouble. I also want to know why I can't drop my statement as I was drunk when I made it.

Our Response:
If your partner breaks the bail conditions, he can be arrested and would either be released on bail again with the same conditions, or charged with an offence and either bailed again or taken to court the following day. Regardless of whether you wish to drop or change your statement, the police and CPS will carry on trying to prosecute your partner if it is thought he has committed a crime.
CourtroomAdvice - 22-Sep-16 @ 2:15 PM
Judo - Your Question:
My husband and I had a fight in street a neighbour called police and ambulance. I was kept in over night but no real injuries. My husbands bail conditions means he cant contact me approach me or come home.Neither of us can remember what happened as both had too much to drink this has been relayed through a mutual friend. I want my husband home how can I get bail conditions lifted?

Our Response:
I'm afraid you can't have bail conditions lifted. The police/CPS will attempt to bring to court a crime committed where it has evidence one has, and in the process try to protect you the victim from any possible further abuse by issuing bail conditions. Therefore, I'm afraid any decision to try and lift those conditions is out of your hands.
CourtroomAdvice - 22-Sep-16 @ 2:00 PM
fosters186 - Your Question:
My bail has been extended another month do you no if anything will happen to me as I have a young child and I am very worried

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot predict what may happen, as it may be the police are still conducting further enquiries or gathering evidence.
CourtroomAdvice - 22-Sep-16 @ 10:18 AM
Hi recently I made a statment against my partner as we was drunk and things went bad. He is now on bail conditions not to have contact with me however we have broke these conditions can someone please tell me what's going to happen I don't want him to get in trouble. I also want to know why i can't drop my statement as I was drunk when I made it. Please can you answer this
CS Question - 21-Sep-16 @ 11:24 PM
What can happen if your on bail but have failed to attend one of your sign on at the police station but yet have not broken any of the bail conditions could the person get arrested and put into custody
sam - 21-Sep-16 @ 7:22 PM
Hi recently I made a statment against my partner as we was drunk and things went bad. He is now on bail conditions not to have contact with me however we have broke these conditions can someone please tell me what's going to happen I don't want him to get in trouble. I also want to know why i can't drop my statement as I was drunk when I made it.
cs - 21-Sep-16 @ 5:48 PM
My husband and I had a fight in street a neighbour called police and ambulance. Iwas kept in over night but no real injuries. My husbands bail conditions means he cant contact me approach me or come home. Neither of us can remember what happened as both had too much to drink this has been relayed through a mutual friend. I want my husband home how can I get bail conditions lifted?
Judo - 21-Sep-16 @ 3:28 PM
my bail has been extended another month do you no if anything will happen to me as i have a young child and i am very worried
fosters186 - 21-Sep-16 @ 12:18 AM
Mumasita- Your Question:
One of bail conditions is to have no contact with my ex, it goes to Crown court in October. My ex has been messaging me, ringing & emails, 9 over the past 2 days for his stuff. I have called the police & they are coming to my house in 3 days to make a report. Is he violating my bail conditions? I've been told not to respond to him.

Our Response:
Yes, he is violating bail conditions, please see link here.
CourtroomAdvice - 19-Sep-16 @ 11:04 AM
My fiance and i had an argument. As a result he was arrested and put on bail with conditions, 1 is to be he is not allowed to see me. Today i have found out that i am pregnant with twins, im not well. I need him home. What can i do?
Emily - 19-Sep-16 @ 1:29 AM
One of bail conditions is to have no contact with my ex, it goes to Crown court in October.My ex has been messaging me, ringing & emails, 9 over the past 2 days for his stuff.I have called the police & they are coming to my house in 3 days to make a report.Is he violating my bail conditions?I've been told not to respond to him.
Mumasita - 18-Sep-16 @ 8:17 AM
My Husband was arrested for domestic violence towards myself and my older son Back in the beginning of July. The police bailed him the next day with the conditions that he doesn't contact me or my son of whom he attacked in anyway and was told to return at the end of July due to no evidence at present to charge him there and then. Anyhow I was told that he answered to bail but was then bailed again to return at the beginning of September, he has now been put on bail again with the same conditions for the third time too the beginning of November due to the CPS awaiting for my medical records. My children have also been put on child protection because of all this and I was wondering whether you could give some advice on how long can the police keep putting my husband on bail for like this with no charge. We have three children one of which is only four months old and who haven't seen their father for the past two months now and by the time November comes will be a total of just over four months. Is there anything that can be done in regards to my husband being able to see his children as even though I understand the situation is serious I don't want for the relationship for my children to be broken down with all this especially for my baby who may not even recognise his father after all this situation as of been away from his father for so long. No one seems to consider How this is affecting me or the children with how much this is been prolonged, despite how serious this situation is which I totally understand but no one isn't thinking of how like my children should still be able to have a relationship with their father and the fact that I need to discuss things with my husband in regards to the children, our marriage and so forth. It's just causing me more stress than ever. I would appreciate any advice given. Thanks
Yas - 16-Sep-16 @ 4:56 PM
Kt - Your Question:
Hello, me and my boyfriend had an argument, with my children in the house, from another relationship, and my neighbours rung the police and he got arrested and but on bail we have broken bail and seen each other, can you tell me what's going to happen to us

Our Response:
We cannot advise on what might happen regarding this, but you can see more via the Offenders' Families helpline here.
CourtroomAdvice - 16-Sep-16 @ 2:05 PM
Catherine19 - Your Question:
My partner has been arrested along side hi brother and his brother got bail and he didnt even though his brother has more serious charges against him, got kept in custody till Monday just gone and decided that he would be remanded in forrest bank until the 10th October, so In a months time his solicitor said there is currently no evidence he is just waiting for cctv to see ifany of the charges can be proven, so why has he been remanded and just cause he has been remanded dosent mean he will definitely end up being sent to prison does it?

Our Response:
You can see more via the Offenders' Families Helpline link here , which should answer your question.
CourtroomAdvice - 16-Sep-16 @ 11:47 AM
Kate67 - Your Question:
My son was arrested for an alleged crime but charges are going to be dropped. Does he still need to go to the police station on the date they asked him to go back ?

Our Response:
He should check with the police station directly.
CourtroomAdvice - 16-Sep-16 @ 11:10 AM
Hello, me and my boyfriend had an argument, with my children in the house, from another relationship, and my neighbours rung the police and he got arrested and but on bail we have broken bail and seen each other, can you tell me what's going to happen to us
Kt - 16-Sep-16 @ 10:45 AM
My partner has been arrested along side hi brother and his brother got bail and he didnt even though his brother has more serious charges against him, got kept in custody till Monday just gone and decided that he would be remanded in forrest bank until the 10th October, so In a months time his solicitor said there is currently no evidence he is just waiting for cctv to see ifany of the charges can be proven, so why has he been remanded and just cause he has been remanded dosent mean he will definitely end up being sent to prison does it?
Catherine19 - 15-Sep-16 @ 3:23 PM
My son was arrested for an alleged crime but charges are going to be dropped. Does he still need to go to the police station on the date they asked him to go back ?
Kate67 - 15-Sep-16 @ 2:28 PM
I was arrested and bailed while an investigation took place I returned on my bail but no officer could see me so the desk officer gave me a note showing this had turned up as I wasn't seen by anyone of the detectives what are my Rights now
Dipsy - 10-Sep-16 @ 2:29 PM
My Hubsband was arrested for domestic violence towards myself and my older son Back in the beginning of July. The police bailed him the next day with the conditions that he doesn't contact me or my son of whom he attacked in anyway and was told to return at the end of July due to no evidence at present to charge him there and then. Anyhow I was told that he answered to bail but was then bailed again to return at the beginning of September, he has now been put on bail again with the same conditions for the third time too the beginning of November due to the CPS awaiting for my medical records. My children have also been put on child protection because of all this and I was wondering whether you could give some advice on how long can the police keep putting my husband on bail for like this with no charge. We have three children one of which is only four months old and who haven't seen their father for the past two months now and by the time November comes will be a total of just over four months. Is there anything that can be done in regards to my husband being able to see his children as even though I understand the situation is serious I don't want for the relationship for my children to be broken down with all this especially for my baby who may not even recognise his father after all this situation as of been away from his father for so long. No one seems to consider How this is affecting me or the children with how much this is been prolonged, despite how serious this situation is which I totally understand but no one isn't thinking of how like my children should still be able to have a relationship with their father and the fact that I need to discuss things with my husband in regards to the children, our marriage and so forth. It's just causing me more stress than ever. I would appreciate any advice given. Thanks
Yas - 8-Sep-16 @ 6:43 AM
Katie123455 - Your Question:
Me and my partner are 17, im 3 months pregnant with his baby when an argument got out of hand,he laid hands on me and I retaliated, there's only a couple of small scratches on the both of us however the police arrested him due to my pregnancy and him coming to my house to start the argument. this is his first time being in trouble with the police. My mum Called the police, and I felt the police blackmailed me into writing a statement against him there and then or I would get arrested, he's been released on bail for 2 months but conditions are no contact with me; however as I'm carrying his child we need to have contact so he can get updates and come to hospital appointments, both of us have retracted our statements (in the process of) and we want the bail lifted but no one will advice us on where to go or whom to speak with! I have my scan next week and it looks like he has to miss out over a out of hand argument! Neither of us want to press charges and he's not a violent person! Help?

Our Response:
For obvious reasons, it is very difficult to get bail conditions in domestic violence cases lifted. You would have to seek legal advice to see whether you have a case for the conditions to be lifted or at least varied.
CourtroomAdvice - 7-Sep-16 @ 12:04 PM
Me and my partner are 17, im 3 months pregnant with his baby when an argument got out of hand,he laid hands on me and I retaliated, there's only a couple of small scratches on the both of us however the police arrested him due to my pregnancy and him coming to my house to start the argument. this is his first time being in trouble with the police. My mum Called the police, and I felt the police blackmailed me into writing a statement against him there and then or I would get arrested, he's been released on bail for 2 months but conditions are no contact with me; however as I'm carrying his child we need to have contact so he can get updates and come to hospital appointments, both of us have retracted our statements (in the process of) and we want the bail lifted but no one will advice us on where to go or whom to speak with! I have my scan next week and it looks like he has to miss out over a out of hand argument! Neither of us want to press charges and he's not a violent person! Help?
Katie123455 - 6-Sep-16 @ 3:42 PM
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