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Police and Court Bail

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 10 Feb 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]
cyan - Your Question:
If I have bail not to leave the state and I go to catch a plane interstate will the people at the airport know???? Plz help

Our Response:
We can't really give definite advise on this if you are living in the US as we are a UK-based site. However, due to strict US airport security it is highly likely that you will be detained at the airport if you attempt to make this flight.
CourtroomAdvice - 10-Feb-16 @ 1:56 PM
If I have bail not to leave the state and I go to catch a plane interstate will the people at the airport know???? Plz help
cyan - 10-Feb-16 @ 5:05 AM
Hi, if someone could give me advice asap. Last weekend a fight broke out between me and my partner and he was charged with assault. He went to court and got bail conditions not to contact me. This Saturday I got very drunk and turned up at his flat which another fight broke out, a neighbour called the police and when they had came it was clear I had been assaulted again. So he got charged with assult and a breach of bail. He went to court yesterday and has been remanded in custody. How does this work? Am I allowed to visit or write to him ?
Cole95 - 9-Feb-16 @ 9:44 AM
Hello, I was arrested in scotland for domestic offence as i throw room temperature water on my wife and i had to travel back asia because my dad had heart attack and could not have any valid visa to travel back but i informed my laywer , court give me extention but i could not get visa in that time and my warrant was issued, even my wife wrote a letter to procecutor fiscal that she is taking back her statement but still my warrant is issued, and now i have got my visa after 7 8 months and have to travel back to uk? so i ll be arrested on site?as i am traveling from birmingham and case was made in scotland ? and i have asked to my lawyer to withdraw warrant but he is not also sure for withdraw of warrant? so what i should do?
Lucky - 5-Feb-16 @ 1:56 PM
My boyfriend and me were rowing for days and was quite parinod! We have been in fights both of us loads of times I was realised on bail they took our phones off Us and he Amits to grabbing me what can happen?
Kat - 3-Feb-16 @ 1:11 PM
I my partner was at court yesterday for smashing my door and heon bail but at a hostel the court said he was not a loud to stay at mine because I am a witness and I want he back at mine.how can I drop the charges he is not a loud nearme are my place
sweetpea - 27-Jan-16 @ 9:14 AM
@sal you should definitely go to IPCC (Independent police complaints commity). They will investigate into the incident and give you all the support you need.
Danielle - 27-Jan-16 @ 2:38 AM
@gray - yes, the police can do anything they want. If they released you without charge they can charge you if they find new evidence that confirms your involvement. Things will become more clearer over the next few months. JohnJ
JJ - 25-Jan-16 @ 10:16 AM
I was released on police bail without charge for 6 months for investigation. I have heard other people have been arrested regarding the alledged offence. If any informarion the police think becomes relevent, can they re-arrest me to charge me or decline my bail before my bail date has been reached ?
gray - 24-Jan-16 @ 2:39 AM
Hi I have been on bail for accusing for fraudulent someone has been using my identiy and taking money from people account how do I prove that it weren't me using it and if they haven't found any evidence would I be dropped charge?
Ben - 22-Jan-16 @ 5:14 AM
Hi i went to my bail hearing today and i have been let go iam nomore on bail but they are still doing investigation why is that?
Charl - 21-Jan-16 @ 11:07 PM
My boyfriend called the police on me after we had a massive row and he I tried to snatch his phone as he pulled it he hurt his lip and blamed me. The police spoke to me and arrested me . I asked them to call my partner and let himknow I was being kept in a cell over night for questioning he withdrew his statement and asked for me to be released as I am very vunerable andsuffer from deep depression the Sargent said there is no one here to investigate this he rang throughout the night and even at 7am and thy still did not allow him to do so till 12pm he was allowed. I want to knowwhy I was still kept in the cell when the statement was detracted ? Literally within the hour . I suffered so much and was taken into hospitalbecause of this
Sal - 18-Jan-16 @ 9:57 PM
Hi. My partners brother is living with me at the moment and put my address as his bail address but he wants to get temp accommodation will he be able tochange his address while on bail as his bail conditions do not say he need to stay at my address
G - 17-Jan-16 @ 4:29 PM
Hello. 20 days ago i am supposed to go to court( Police Investigation Center 22 December 8 PM )But i didnt go to court, because i couldnt find address.i am no longer living in kings lynn so what do ihave to do now? im stay now Glasgow.Help me Pls,........
sweetceyo - 16-Jan-16 @ 1:16 AM
Hello. 20 days ago i am supposed to go to court( Police Investigation Center 22 December 8 PM )But i didnt go to court, because i couldnt find address.i am no longer living in kings lynn so what do ihave to do now? im stay now Glasgow.Help me Pls
sweetceyo - 15-Jan-16 @ 1:37 AM
My boyfriend and I have booked a holiday and one of his bail conditions it to stay at him bike address would he be aloud to leave the country to go holiday or would he get caught at security at the airport
Rose31195 - 14-Jan-16 @ 8:13 PM
Broken - Your Question:
I've been released on bail for 2 months and been told to have no contact with my partner of 16 years after a small sexual offence that she reported me for. She has since said she wants to speak to me and regrets going to the police instead of talking to me. If she retracts her statement can this help my case, she doesn't want me charged as she doesn't know what to prosecute. We have 4 children together and need to sort out our future. If she arranged a meet up on a private location, then surely I'm not breaking my bail conditions.Any advice appreciated, I'm struggling to cope without seeing my partner or even getting to say hello!

Our Response:
Do not under any circumstances break your bail conditions to do this. As specified by the CPS, 'it does not matter that the victim has agreed to or initiated the contact; the victim is not subject to the bail conditions, the defendant is. The defendant is responsible for complying with any conditions imposed by the police or the court until released from those conditions by the police or court.' If you, the defendant breaches bail conditions, the police can arrest you and remand you in custody. I would also keep the text/emails of her requesting you do this, as it may help your case in court later on. In the meantime, I would stick strictly to the bail conditions.
CourtroomAdvice - 11-Jan-16 @ 12:28 PM
Hi I got arrested/charged with common assault I got put on bail and went to court and pleaded not guilty, at court they said I would need to come back in a couple of months but I've not heard noting no letters nor has any of the witnesses no one has had any letters about this next hearing I only know about it as they said when I pleaded not guilty is it still going ahead as its in the next week
Mr O - 11-Jan-16 @ 11:06 AM
My bail day is tomorrow and I forgot what time I have to go to the police station. Who can I call to find out what time it is?
Ibzzy - 10-Jan-16 @ 2:41 PM
I've been released on bail for 2 months and been told to have no contact with my partner of 16 years after a small sexual offence that she reported me for. She has since said she wants to speak to me and regrets going to the police instead of talking to me. If she retracts her statement can this help my case, she doesn't want me charged as she doesn't know what to prosecute. We have 4 children together and need to sort out our future. If she arranged a meet up on a private location, then surely I'm not breaking my bail conditions. Any advice appreciated, I'm struggling to cope without seeing my partner or even getting to say hello!
Broken - 10-Jan-16 @ 10:16 AM
shiv - Your Question:
Hi my husband is on bail for pre charge abh against me and I sed things in statement that wasn't true. However I retracted my statement cuz I want my husband home. On the retracted statement I did say the first statement was true. But worried now as I should of sed I had lied. He ain't allowed near me but I love him and want him home. Do you think they will drop charges he did say in his interview that he never did it.

Our Response:
Regardless of what you have said or your husband has said in the statements I'm afraid this will be up to the CPS to decide. Its main aim is to protect the victims of domestic abuse, especially as there may be a continuing threat to the victim's safety. Please see CPS link here which explains how and why it makes the decision to prosecute here . It becomes very difficult when truth and lies get mixed up and this is why the CPS sticks to its own policy on whether or not to prosecute.
CourtroomAdvice - 8-Jan-16 @ 11:09 AM
Hi my husband is on bail for pre charge abh against me and I sed things in statement that wasn't true. However I retracted my statement cuz I want my husband home. On the retracted statement I did say the first statement was true. But worried now as I should of sed I had lied. He ain't allowed near me but I love him and want him home. Do you think they will drop charges he did say in his interview that he never did it.
shiv - 7-Jan-16 @ 1:32 PM
na - Your Question:
Hi I been arrested 3 times 0ne time I broke the peacesecond time I hurt my girlfriend3rd time I punch my girlfriend and broke nosei been abusive to her 3 times in row. we have a child. I dont think I have alcholic problem but I still get aggressive when drunk.do you think this time I get out of jail or stay ini am in jail should I stay or get out

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot predict what the court may decide.
CourtroomAdvice - 6-Jan-16 @ 2:56 PM
Hi I been arrested 3 times 0ne time i broke the peace second time i hurt my girlfriend 3rd time i punch my girlfriend and broke nose i been abusive to her 3 times in row . we have a child . i dont think i have alcholic problem but i still get aggressive when drunk.do you think this time i get out of jail or stay in i am in jail should i stay or get out
na - 6-Jan-16 @ 12:55 AM
Pixi - Your Question:
Hi I have been released on bail as me and my ex had a domestic and im not allowed to go to mums adress for 48 hours I got to stay with my mum does the police come out to check as im tired and need sleep thank u

Our Response:
If your bail conditions are specifying you should not go to a specific address, then you could be arrested if the police were informed of your whereabouts. The bail conditions are set to be complied with.
CourtroomAdvice - 5-Jan-16 @ 12:16 PM
hi i have been released on bail as me and my ex had a domestic and im not allowed to go to mums adress for 48 hours i got to stay with my mumdoes the police come out to check as im tired and need sleep thank u
Pixi - 4-Jan-16 @ 9:31 PM
Sezy - Your Question:
Hi I was asked to go to police station for theft I attended and was arrested in May 2015. I was suffering poor mental health depression after suffering 2 losses of babies and getting verbal abuse and mentally abused and controlled by my ex partner when I done the crime, I put on a front to make me cope for my work where I done the crime and have had 3 bail extensions due back next weekend! I have since then tried to get my life on track but hard with this going on and have been struggling with no support or answers from police or lawyer in why it keep getting extended! I no I have done wrong and will do anything to make it right for my sons sake and my mental health This is my first crime please help

Our Response:
In this instance you may wish to speak with someone directly, you can ask this question to the Just Answer site. Please see link here for some personal legal advice on extended court bail.
CourtroomAdvice - 4-Jan-16 @ 11:49 AM
Hi I was asked to go to police station for theft I attended and was arrested in May 2015. I was suffering poor mental health depressionafter suffering 2 losses of babies and getting verbal abuse and mentally abused and controlled by my ex partner when I done the crime, I put on a front to make me cope for my work where I done the crime and have had 3 bail extensions due back next weekend! I have since then tried to get my life on track but hard with this going on and have been struggling with no support or answers from police or lawyer in why it keep getting extended! I no I have done wrong and will do anything to make it right for my sons sake and my mental health This is my first crime please help
Sezy - 3-Jan-16 @ 3:11 PM
My boyfriends neighbour has reported him to the police due to his dog running into them in the street. This is now a court case and a date has been set however he will be working abroad in Saudi Arabia on a boat in the middle of the sea on the date it has been set. Can he rearrange the date or make the court aware he is unable to attend as he wants to appeal?
Lou - 24-Dec-15 @ 5:10 PM
Myis no bailed for4 month theresizeit was22 yearhedidnotdoit therecannotfindanyresultscome he stillgetdoneforit
sex - 18-Dec-15 @ 4:28 AM
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