How do I apply for bail?

Bail is a complicated issue. The legislation and framework can be difficult to understand. Police sometimes erroneously allege that a person is in a show cause situation when they are not. 

That is why it is important you have experienced lawyers representing you, to give you the best possible chance of being released until your matters are dealt with.

If you are charged with a criminal offence, you may be arrested and placed into custody, or you may be given a notice to appear in court at a future date.

If taken into custody, the only way you can be released before the matter is finalised is to apply for bail, which is also known as an undertaking or a bail undertaking.

Even if you are given a notice to appear, the courts may hear a bail application on the first day you appear on that notice if your charges are serious enough. 

Bail is a legal document you sign in which you promise to return to court on a certain date to face the charges against you.

Depending on the severity of the allegations, the Court may also add other conditions to your bail. These most commonly include:

  • Reporting to a nearby police station a certain number of times per week
  • Residing at a particular address
  • Having a curfew not to leave your residence at certain times
  • Undertaking certain counselling or rehabilitation courses

If the alleged offending involves other people, whether they be people co-accused with you or alleged victims, you may be required to promise you will not have any contact with them.

For more serious offences, particularly those where someone has been injured or died, the Court may attach a surety to your bail undertaking. This means someone else, usually a family member or close friend, has to agree to give the court an amount of money to ensure your release. If you don’t appear at court, this money is forfeited. 

A monetary surety can range in value from a few thousand dollars, to hundreds of thousands. Some people have even provided part of the value of their house in order to ensure a loved one’s release. However, even if someone agrees to provide a surety, this does not guarantee the Court will release you on bail.

The Court will take certain things into consideration in determining whether you are an acceptable risk to the community to be granted bail and freed from custody. These include:

  • What you’re alleged to have done
  • The strength of the prosecution case
  • Your living arrangements
  • Employment status
  • Family responsibilities
  • Your criminal history
  • Probability of reoffending.

Depending on the allegations, you may need to ‘show cause’ as to why bail should be granted. This means you will remain in custody unless you can show why you should be released. In other words, the default position for the court will be to refuse bail unless you provide them with good reasons why you should have bail granted to you. 

Being in a show cause situation makes bail more difficult and often occurs if you have been charged with offences whilst already on bail, or if you are alleged to have committed relevant domestic violence offences.

If you are released on bail and then fail to reappear in court on the next agreed date, you can be charged for failing to appear at court. If you don’t abide by your bail conditions, you can be charged with breaching those conditions. These are criminal offences which may result in you being returned to custody.

If you or a loved one needs assistance with bail, contact the Bell Dore Lawyers team today and let us help you.

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