Bail is the term applied to the temporary release of an accused person awaiting trial, sometimes on condition that a sum of money (known as a surety) is lodged to guarantee their appearance in court. It is a written promise to appear in court on a particular date. However, bail might be refused for particular reasons, or if you have been charged with serious offences. The magistrate or judge will take into account:
- what the police say you’ve done, how strong the evidence is, and how serious the charge is;
- whether your charges relate to domestic or family violence matters;
- if you have a place to live;
- if you have a job;
- if you have a criminal record (and what it relates to);
- if you have missed other court dates in the past;
- whether they think you are a danger to other people; and
- whether they think you will break the law again.
If you are granted bail, sometimes it will have conditions attached, such as surrendering your passport, not leaving the state, staying at the same address or reporting to police.
An important bail condition is that you do not commit further offences while on bail.
Seek immediate legal advice if:
- you breach bail by not complying with a condition (you may be rearrested);
- you miss your court date;
- you need to change your bail conditions (without legal advice you may inadvertently breach your bail); or
- if you are considering providing a surety for someone.