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Police and Court Bail

Author: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 4 May 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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Leave a Comment, Ask for Advice or Share Your Story...
[Add a Comment]
I been re-bailed 5 or 6 times for Drunk and disorderly in a public place and I'm due back again tomorrow but can't make it due to work what will happen if I dnt go
matty - 4-May-15 @ 4:19 PM
My boyfriend iss on bail and has a cerfew has to be in his house by 10pm and cant leave the house till after 7am im going to visit family for a week and want him to come would he be able to come if he spoke to the police about where he was going and how long he was going for?
loulou - 4-May-15 @ 2:46 PM
Hi my husband has been arrested for a dvcase and his bail conditions said he can't contact or come near me. I have dropped my statement and he has been to court. The bail wasn't dropped and his next court isn't till September. I can't go that long without contact from him. It's breaking my heart and it's tearing our family apart. It was a silly argument that got a little heated, he does not deserve this however I know I can't get the cpsto drop the case but what can I do to get the bail conditions dropped. Please any help will be fab
becky - 2-May-15 @ 9:37 PM
Hi, my ex got arrested last year for a drug offense he was released in bail and had a court date last November where he was told to come back in January for a trial, however he did not go to court in January as he said he didn't have the exact date through. He has since told me that his solicitor hasn't even been in touch with him since last November. Could this be true or is he on the run? He has previous convictions, I have a son to him and we split up due to his violence towards me. I dont want my son in his house if he has a warrant out for his arrest and is on the run from the law
missme - 2-May-15 @ 3:57 PM
My partner was detained in the UK, but we didn't have enough for bail before his hearing 2 days ago. He went to them with the amount that we had, which was denied. I now have since raised what was remaining. What can I do now?I have been unable to reach him, in 2 days.What do I do?
bren - 2-May-15 @ 3:00 PM
@Selina - I think you would have to have a word with his solicitor regarding this. If you need any futher help you can ring the Offenders' Families helpline via the link here. I hope this helps.
CourtroomAdvice - 30-Apr-15 @ 2:01 PM
@ellie - I'm afraid you have no rights if your bail has specified that you do not return to the home.
CourtroomAdvice - 30-Apr-15 @ 11:54 AM
Hi there, I was arrested following a disturbance in my village as I was there when the people involved were arrested, and I was too. Although I am certain I shall not be prosecuted for the charges against me, I was given conditional bail(curfew from 7pm - 7pm) which I breached...I now have a court date for breaching this bail and was wondering what the outcome will be? I was late by 10 minutes and was arrested at my house as a witness called the police and informed them of my breach. Thanks!
Tyler - 28-Apr-15 @ 3:04 PM
Hi my partner got arrested while i was on holiday and he applied for bail from the crown court today and was denied. We had a baby who is only 6 months old and I have returned to work full time but he didn't mention any of this in his bail application as he thought I wouldn't take him back after he got arrested. I am now really struggling and understand he may get convicted and sent back, but is it possible his responsibilities could help grant him Bail if he appealed? Even 3 months would suffice till atleast the baby is a little older and I can arrange something else with work and children?
Selina - 27-Apr-15 @ 6:13 PM
I have been arrested, interviewed and released on unconditional bail.However, I was informally asked to move out of the family home immediately, which I did on the discussed basis that it would help protect the kids from being questioned by police / social services (which is fine by me - nothing to hide). This was a voluntary decision by me, with tears and 'sorry but for the best' from my wife. 10 minutes later she called the police and next day had the locks changed with, according to her, 'the police in attendance'. What are my rights here? - I have been out of my home for over 2 weeks, cannot trade properly, etc I pose no threat to my wife or children but appreciate this is a difficult situation. BUT I feel I have been deceived to leave as an act of co-operation then 'lock-out'
ellie - 27-Apr-15 @ 3:35 PM
@d88 - I imagine he will go straight to jail as there is no reason for them to take him to a police station.
Sam - 22-Apr-15 @ 12:17 PM
@Nixy - If the court has given him his bail conditions, then it is up to the court to change those conditions. However, if the CPS is charging him then it is likely those conditions will remain for protection to you, regardless of whether you want them changed or not. The safety of the victim and any children and young person will be a key factor for the CPS at this stage. You can find out more regarding how and why the CPS may decide to prosecute in matters of domestic violence here. I hope this helps.
CourtroomAdvice - 22-Apr-15 @ 10:18 AM
@Saz84 - According to the CPS,there are all kinds of reasons why victims may contact the defendant after the bail conditions are set, however, if the defendant responds in such a way as to continue the contact, then the defendant is breaching bail conditions. It specifies that regardless of whether the victim has agreed to or initiated the contact; the victim is not subject to the bail conditions, the defendant is. Therefore, the defendant is the person responsible for complying with any conditions imposed by the police or the court. I'm afraid I can't possibly predict what will happen in the court case.
CourtroomAdvice - 21-Apr-15 @ 10:05 AM
My boyfriend appealed his sentence and served 3 weeks in jail and was released untill his appeal went to high court his lawyer called saying that his appeal was unsucessfull and that he would have to return to jail and therefore an warrant for arrest would be issued will the police take him straight to jail or down to the local police station
d88 - 20-Apr-15 @ 6:51 PM
My partner is bailed to his mums for assault on me. I refused to give a statement and press charges but the cps are charging him anyway. His bail co sitcoms are that he stays at his mums which is miles away and I want him home with me and our children. Can the bail conditions be changed
Nixy - 20-Apr-15 @ 7:29 AM
Hi my "friend" had some conflict with his ex months ago and pushed her resulting in a so called broken elbow, but she never received a pot for the injury and was also find dancing away in the pubs a couple of days later, he's been to magistrates and put a guilty plea in as he knows it shouldn't of happened, his bail conditions were not to contact her to which he hasn't but she has been contacting him, he was at crown yesterday and has been placed on remand until Monday as the judge wants to seek about her injuries and to see what effect it's having on their son... Should I prepare myself for him to be sentenced to prison? I'm worried sick. Thank you
Saz84 - 18-Apr-15 @ 2:32 PM
@Pjh761983 - you would have to tread carefully here as any indirect contact may mean you are breaching your bail conditions, and you would have to read your terms. It may say that the defendant must not contact, either directly or indirectly, a named person or persons. According to the CPS; this means no contact whatsoever, including by telephone, text, email, fax or letter or through another person, e.g. the defendant cannot get a relative to make contact on his behalf.
CourtroomAdvice - 17-Apr-15 @ 11:37 AM
Hi i am currently on bail pending a prelim hearing and my parents want to contact my ex gfs parents as they dont know about their daughter telling lies to get me charged can they do it without breaching my bail terms?
Pjh761983 - 16-Apr-15 @ 9:36 PM
My ex partner has been arrested for abusing my son. His bail conditions are no contact whilst the investigation is ongoing. He's on bail until 29th May. Today I have received a letter from his solicitor. Has he broken bail conditions by contacting me through a solicitor and threatening me with court and custody?
Claire73 - 16-Apr-15 @ 1:27 PM
@superegg - I'm afraid there is no limit to the amount of times they can bring him back in for questioning and bail him.
CourtroomAdvice - 15-Apr-15 @ 1:02 PM
My boyfriend has been put on bail because of a fire in His previous work place that they say he started. He didn't do it and they have no evidence proving he did, he's been to the police station every time they've asked and every time been rebailed. Last time he went they rebailed him because one of the two officers on his case is off sick. Surely this isn't right? How are they able to get away with rebailing him when he's not got a court date or been convicted of anything?!
superegg - 12-Apr-15 @ 11:05 PM
@Inacrisis - I am afraid this is now out of your control. Where the police have already charged, the CPS will have to decide whether or not to continue the prosecution, at this point the decision is removed from that of the victim or the police, regardless of whether the victim wished to drop charges. You can read the CPS Policy on Prosecuting Cases of Domestic Violence here, which will explain the reasons why it makes such decisions. I can't say whether the police will enforce further bail conditions, that is dependent upon the case. I hope this helps.
CourtroomAdvice - 8-Apr-15 @ 10:18 AM
Hi can anyone help me I made a complaint against my ex partner for assaulting me he is currently on bail and I phoned up to drop the charges was told that the cps is still going ahead with charging him, I don't want this to happen and also will he have more bail conditions before attending court. Thanks for reading
Inacrisis - 4-Apr-15 @ 6:14 PM
@Aj - he would have to speak directly to his community service officer about this.
CourtroomAdvice - 2-Apr-15 @ 10:49 AM
@r20001 -if he had left the country and there was a court case pending, then there is a good possibility he would.
Hel - 1-Apr-15 @ 1:48 PM
@Gino - I'm afraid we cannot possibly predict the outcome of a court case.
CourtroomAdvice - 31-Mar-15 @ 1:34 PM
My dad is looking at getting community service, the problem is we had a pre booked holiday for his Christmas present, and was wondering whether he'd still be able to go? No previous convictions, he works pays taxes, it was a slip up and a big shame really, but we've all been looking forward to this holiday
Aj - 31-Mar-15 @ 10:24 AM
Hello, about 4 or 5 years ago my brother and me had a disagreement and he slapped me being scared i called the police but on the day that he was meant to go to court he didn't turn up he went back to our home country which was Portugal but however he cant get a job now so he would like to come to England if he came back to England would he get arrested. thank you.
r20001 - 30-Mar-15 @ 5:50 PM
My friend has special needs and is going to crown Court.He has been charged with GBH.What can the outcome b. Thanks gino
Gino - 29-Mar-15 @ 12:47 PM
I know a woman who says her husband raped her and he's been sentenced to two years in prison and she needs money. How can I find out if her story is true?
Tanny - 24-Mar-15 @ 6:36 PM
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