Bail refers to the process in our criminal justice system which allows people to continue living in the community after they have been charged with an offence.

If you are accused of committing a simple crime, you will usually be provided with bail by being issued with a Notice to Appear. This Notice will outline the time and date that you are required to appear before the Court for your matter.

If you are charged with a more serious offence, the police may arrest you and hold you in custody. At this time, the police may grant you the right to leave custody and return for your Court appearance. However, in some circumstances, the police will hold you in custody until you appear before the Court.

In these circumstances, it will be necessary to apply to the Court to be granted bail.

 

What do you need to prove to get bail?

As outlined in section 16 of the Bail Act 1980 (Qld) you will only be granted bail if the Court does not feel that custody is required for your own safety and if there is not an unacceptable risk of you:

  1. Failing to appear at Court or surrender into custody; or
  2. While released on bail:
    1. Committing an offence; or
    2. Endangering the safety or welfare of a person who is claimed to be a victim of the offence, or anyone else’s safety or welfare; or
    3. Interfering with witnesses or otherwise obstructing the course of justice.

 

In determining whether there is any risk of the above, the court will consider several circumstances including:

  1. The type and severity of the offence with which you have been charged;
  2. The strength of the evidence against you;
  3. Your employment;
  4. Your living arrangements;
  5. Your criminal history, if any;
  6. Failure to attend court in the past;
  7. Whether you are likely to flee;
  8. Whether you are capable of complying with bail conditions; and
  9. Whether you are in a ‘show cause’ position.

Unless you are in a show cause position (explained below), the burden rests with the Police to give the Court a reason to refuse your bail.

 

Show Cause Position

If you are in a show cause position, the presumption that you would be entitled to bail is reversed. Put simply, you are required to ‘show cause’ as to why you are being held in custody is not justified.

You may be in a show cause position if one of the following factors applies:

  1. You committed an offence while on bail;
  2. You committed an offence against the Bail Act, such as failing to appear in accordance with a bail undertaking or breaching a bail condition;
  3. You committed an offence while armed with a weapon;
  4. You committed an offence connected to organised crime;
  5. You committed an offence punishable by mandatory life imprisonment.

If you are in a show cause position, this does not necessarily mean that you are unable to be granted bail. It simply means that there are additional barriers in place which will make obtaining a grant of bail more difficult, and which make obtaining strong legal advice even more important.

 

Bail Conditions

In addition to requiring the defendant’s appearance before the Court as scheduled, a grant of bail may include several other conditions. Some common bail conditions include:

  1. Residential requirements requiring the defendant to reside at a particular location;
  2. Curfews;
  3. Reporting requirements, requiring the defendant to sign in at a designated police station on certain days of the week;
  4. Contact conditions restricting contact with certain individuals.

We are often engaged to act on behalf of individuals who have been granted bail, but are not aware of the conditions that this grant of bail has imposed upon them. In these circumstances, it is very easy for someone to inadvertently breach the conditions of their bail.

Breaching bail conditions by either failing to appear in Court or otherwise failing to abide by the mandated conditions is a serious offence.

Whether you are applying for bail or have already been granted bail and are unsure of your bail conditions, it is important to obtain legal advice to ensure that your rights are protected.

A.L.F. Lawyers is experienced in representing clients in these matters and are available to talk with you today regarding any questions that you may have.