When you are charged with a criminal offence in New South Wales, the police are the ones who initially determine whether you will be granted bail from the police station. If they believe it shouldn’t be granted, you will be brought before a Magistrate in court to decide the matter.
Generally speaking, the court can only refuse bail if there is an unacceptable risk and if that risk cannot be mitigated through bail conditions. If you are charged with any criminal offence, it’s essential to get in touch with a criminal lawyer in NSW who can help formulate conditions that address the concerns of the court.
What Kind of Bail Conditions Can Be Imposed?
The bail conditions set depend largely on the circumstances surrounding the crime allegedly committed, but can include:
● A conduct requirement – This might involve requiring you to appear at court on a certain date, not to contact certain persons (usually an alleged victim), not to go to certain places, to report to police at certain times or be subject to a curfew or other restrictions.
● Enforcement condition – This requires you to comply with specific directions such as random urine testing, surrendering your passport or avoiding any international points of departure. This may only be imposed at the request of the prosecutor.
● Security – Also known as the cash bail, this requires you or an acceptable person (usually a family member) to forfeit a certain amount of money in the event that you don’t show up to court. The amount of money can be up to $20,000.
● Character acknowledgement – This requires you or an acceptable person to provide a written acknowledgement to the court that they regard you as a responsible person who is likely to comply with bail conditions.
Bail conditions involving security and specific directions can generally only be imposed if there is an unacceptable risk that you will not show up to court or otherwise behave inappropriately.
Presumption Against Bail
The Bail Act 2013 (NSW) provides that certain criminal offences carry a presumption in favour of bail, where it is likely the police or court will grant bail. On the other hand, there are some criminal offences which the Act states that bail should not be granted. In these cases, you cannot be released unless there are exceptional circumstances, or your lawyer can persuade the court otherwise.
If the offence committed does carry a presumption against bail, there is a heavy burden on the person making the bail application to satisfy the court that bail should be granted. In these circumstances, the strength of the case against you and the likelihood of you fulfilling bail conditions are key factors in determining whether bail should be granted.
What Happens if You Breach Bail?
If you breach a bail condition, you can be arrested and brought before the court to explain why you breached it. If this occurs, you may not be granted bail again by the court and find yourself in jail before your matter is finalised. Some criminal cases can take up to two years to finalise, meaning the refusal of your bail can have a significant effect.
Get Advice from a Criminal Lawyer
If you’ve been charged with a criminal offence and need to apply for bail, you should seek advice specific to your circumstances from an experienced criminal lawyer.