What is Bail?

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, you may be granted bail. A certain amount of money – determined by the police initially – may need to be paid by a third party, such as a friend or relative, to ensure that you comply with the conditions of bail. If you fail to comply with the bail conditions, such as attending your court date, not only will there be a further warrant for your arrest, but the money will be forfeited.

 

What Should I Do if I Am Arrested?Bail Applications

The first thing you should do as soon as you have been arrested, no matter what the circumstances or the time, is to contact a criminal defence expert. Arrests can and often do happen at any time of day or night and on the weekends – and you are not required to wait until business hours to contact your lawyer. Your family, a friend or even a colleague can also make the initial call for assistance.

You will then be given advice on your prospects of success in a bail application, and the best method of applying. You or your family will also be given advice on the sorts of conditions that may be imposed on you if bail is granted, how much may need to be paid by way of surety, and other requirements you will need to meet to satisfy the court that you are suitable for bail.

 

How Do I Get Bail?

When you have been charged by the police, you should request bail at that point. Depending on various factors, including whether you have been charged with a very serious crime, you may be granted this “police bail” immediately. If this is the case, it means that you can be released into the community and largely go about your normal life until your trial date. Depending on the severity of the offence, you may need to comply with certain conditions to meet the terms of your bail, such as being required to reside at a specific address and to report to the nearest police station.

If the police refuse bail at the station, then you will be taken to appear before the nearest court and can make a further bail application at that time. You should ensure that you have obtained legal advice before you make a bail application, so that your bail application is expertly prepared and presented to the court.

 

The Bail Process

Bail application process Sydney NSW

Am I Likely to Make Bail?

The changes to the bail laws have made it increasingly difficult to obtain bail in certain circumstances, depending on the nature of the offence with which you have been charged. The changes were implemented in response to community concerns about the NSW Government being soft on crime after bail was granted in several murder cases.

Bail may be more difficult to obtain for serious drug offences such as importations, violent offences including sexual offences, murder and robbery.

You may also find it more difficult to be granted bail if you already have certain offences on your criminal record, are considered a “repeat offender”, or were already on a bond or on bail at the time of the alleged offence.

Other factors which may limit your chances of getting bail include a lack of community or family ties and any failure to comply with previous bail conditions. It is important for you or a family member to advise your solicitors of any relevant factors such as these as soon as possible.

For more information on the bail law changes and how they work in practice, see our article on the new bail laws.

 

What Happens if My Bail Application is Unsuccessful?

Since the changes to NSW legislation, you can only lodge a second bail application in the Supreme Court – which can be a lengthy exercise. It is therefore important that you give yourself the best chance of making a successful bail application the first time around by engaging lawyers as soon as possible.

But do not despair if you have already had a failed bail application. Nyman Gibson Miralis specialises in previously unsuccessful applications and matters where inexperienced people, such as those representing themselves or non-criminal lawyers, have failed to obtain bail.

Being arrested and accused of a crime is a distressing and terrifying experience for anyone – particularly if you face the prospect of being incarcerated for many months or even years until you are able to proceed to trial.

During this time you will be away from your family, friends and loved ones, and will often feel as though you have already been judged as guilty. Obviously, then, applying for bail is a high priority.

Bail FAQs

What happens if I am arrested on the weekend?

The police do not work 9 to 5, and therefore if you are arrested it could happen any time, day or night. If you are arrested contact our defence lawyers on 1800 NOT GUILTY for assistance 24/7.

Do I have to stay in custody over the weekend?

We can assist you with weekend bail applications if you need to sort a matter out over the weekend. As soon as you, a friend or relative have been refused bail, contact us to make immediate arrangements for an urgent bail application.

What happens if I am refused bail in the local court?

Initial bail applications in NSW are heard in the local court. If your application is rejected at this stage, you are likely to remain in custody for four to six weeks while waiting for an application to the Supreme Court to be heard. In some situations, it may be better to remain in custody for a few days before making an application for bail, to ensure that all necessary information to support your bail application is available.

We can provide further advice as to the appropriate timing of your bail application to maximise success.

What is a surety?

A surety is an amount of money, property or bank guarantee which may be required as a term of your bail. A person over the age of 18 with no criminal record can generally provide the surety. It is important to know that you cannot provide your own surety.

How long will I have bail?

Unless you breach one of the conditions of your bail, you will be entitled to have bail until you have proceeded to trial and either been found guilty and incarcerated, or been cleared of the offence.

What kind of bail conditions might I expect?

This depends on the individual circumstances of your arrest and the offence of which you have been accused.

Broadly, you may be required to comply with:

  • Conduct requirements, such as reporting to the police regularly, surrendering a passport, avoiding certain people and places, or obeying a curfew.
  • Security requirements, which include agreeing to provide a surety if you don’t attend court when required.
  • Enforcement conditions such as being required to personally answer the door every time the police attend or submitting to breath tests.
  • Character conditions requiring somebody of good character to sign a form stating that they believe you will comply with your bail requirements.
  • Non-association with certain persons

What happens if I breach my bail conditions?

If you fail to comply with any of the conditions set in relation to your bail, you may be arrested and brought before the court. Your bail entitlements may then be revoked, and the surety may be forfeited.

However, there is some discretion depending on the circumstances. For example, missing curfew by a few minutes might not be serious enough to warrant your bail being revoked. If you feel that the conditions of your bail are too onerous, you can obtain advice on applying for a variation to the bail conditions.

Can bail conditions be varied at a later time?

Broadly speaking, yes, particularly if the conditions set by the court or a bail sergeant can be considered to be very strict or to unduly interfere with your ability to work or go about your usual life. In order to vary the bail conditions, proper notice must be given to the relevant police personnel, the prosecutor and the court. Again, our defence lawyers can assist you with such an application.

If you need bail advice from a criminal defence lawyer, contact one of our criminal law specialists immediately at either our Sydney or our Parramatta offices. Call 1800 NOT GUILTY or fill in our contact form on this page and arrange a free conference with a solicitor today. 24-hour legal advice 7 days a week.