What is bail?
When arrested and charged with an offence, you will be detained in prison, or released on bail. The granting of bail allows you to be at liberty in the community while your matter progresses in the court.
Once released on bail you will need to follow certain conditions, such as residing at a specific address or reporting to a police station. A third party such as a friend or relative may need to ensure that you follow the conditions of your bail. This person is called the “surety”. That surety may also deposit money to the court on your behalf.
If once released on bail you fail to follow the set conditions, not only will there be a further warrant for your arrest, but the money will be forfeited.
Police bail and judicial bail
When charged by police, you should request bail. Depending on various factors, including the seriousness of the crime, you may be granted “police bail” immediately. This allows you to be released into the community to go about your daily life while the matter progresses through the court.
If police refuse bail, you will be taken to a local court where you can make an application for bail before the magistrate.
You should get legal advice before making a bail application; ideally as soon as you are arrested. This ensures that the bail application is properly prepared and presented to the court.
The bail application process
When deciding whether to grant bail, the two main issues the court must consider are whether the offence is a “show cause” offence, and whether you pose an “unacceptable risk”.