Have you been remanded into custody and are wondering how the bail process works? Are you awaiting a court date and curious if you’re bail-eligible if the police denied it? Has someone you know been arrested for an offence, and you want to know if you can post bail on their behalf? The presumption of innocence may be guaranteed in Queensland, but bail is not.
As such, it’s important to retain a bail lawyer so you know your rights after being charged with an offence and can go through the process successfully. Our team of bail lawyers at Russo Lawyers is uniquely qualified to guide you every step of the way, so you’re never in the dark or out of options when it comes to legal advice.
What bail does for you
If you or a loved one has been charged with an indictable offence and is due to appear in court, bail is something to consider. Enshrined in the Bail Act, bail enables an accused person to await their court date from their home — or some other agreed-upon address — rather than being held in police custody. Whether your hearing is in district court, circuit or family court, bail is an option for most criminal law offences. And by posting bail, you’re promising to appear in court at a certain date and time.
Two major types of bail
There are two main types of bail: watch house and court. Watch house bail is the kind that comes from the police. Watch house is a type of bail the police may determine is appropriate depending on the indictable offence and an accused person’s track record. If granted it, you’re able to await your court date from home, provided you adhere to all conditions of your bail.
Court bail is the alternative to watch house bail and is what an accused person may opt for if police officer(s) are unwilling to consider a bail application. With court bail, you appeal directly to the court for a bail decision. If your request is granted, a police officer is obligated to release you from their custody upon signing the bail undertaking.
If the district court refuses to consider your bail application, you may be able to appeal their denial directly to the Supreme Court. Russo Lawyers can provide you with the legal advice to determine if this is a viable option in such a scenario.
Filling out a bail application
The bail application process can be fairly lengthy. It involves a considerable amount of forms and filling in several different portions of the bail application with the information that’s asked, such as your name, dates, the correctional facility in which you’re being held and specifying the charges you face. The judge has one of three options: granting bail, denying bail and adjourning the bail application.
What the court considers before deciding on bail
It isn’t just your bail application that a court evaluates in determining whether to authorise or extend a bail agreement. It considers a number of factors. These include:
The nature of the offence
What evidence exists related to the offence
Your criminal history
If the offence is related to domestic violence or abuse
If you have children
If you have a place to stay
If you have steady employment
All of these considerations are meant to answer the following questions:
Will the accused commit further offences if bail is granted?
Does the accused person’s release from jail or police station put someone’s life or welfare in harm’s way?
Is there a strong likelihood that the accused will not appear in court at the proscribed date and time?
Will the accused person obstruct justice if released?
If the court believes the answer is “yes” to any or all of those questions, a bail request may be denied. Most courts grant bail, but threats to public safety, failure to appear in court and a high potential for violating a bail condition or conditions may compel a court to keep an accused person in custody.
When bail is approved and granted, an accused person is subject to certain conditions of their release. Generally, a bail condition forbids an individual from doing something or going somewhere while they’re awaiting their appearance in court. The most common of these is that you refrain from committing any kind of criminal offence, even traffic offences. Failure to do this can land an accused person back in police custody. If someone has violated any bail condition in the past, this too may be evaluated before a court decides on any subsequent bail petitions. Other common bail conditions include turning over a passport, observing curfews, participating in a rehabilitation program and remaining at a certain address until the court date arrives.
Adhering to the terms and conditions of a bail agreement is critical. In addition to the possibility of bail being revoked, it can compromise subsequent bail applications by forcing an accused person to illustrate why they won’t violate the terms again. This requirement is called “show cause” and is a position that may warrant retaining a criminal lawyer to be successful.
Whether you’ve never been affected by an indictable offence before or you were unsuccessful with your first bail application, the Russo Lawyers team has the experience, dedication and track record that can help you defend your case. No matter the alleged offence, Russo Lawyers’ experienced criminal lawyer team will provide you with legal advice that is customised to your needs and circumstance.