For the most part, bail is available for criminal cases. But the processes and procedures of actually obtaining bail – which enables you to avoid or leave jail in exchange for returning to court to face charges – can vary considerably.
Bail can come from the police or court
Generally, bail is granted by the police or by the Court. The police will generally grant bail within 24 hours of your arrest. Should the police decide that bail is not appropriate, then you can go to the court and apply for court-ordered bail.
Factors that influence the court, whether it is in the Magistrates Court or Supreme Court, include (but are not limited to) where you live, if you are employed, the charges alleged against you, whether you have a criminal record and if you are deemed a flight risk.
Of course, none of this can happen without first filing your bail request application. There is a very specific process that must be followed to the letter. First, you must deal with all required forms. They include:
• An official application for bail
• An affidavit, or written statement, that supports why bail should be authorised
• A draft bail order.
If you have multiple letters of support that further substantiate why your bail request should be honoured, they must include exhibit markings attached to each. Once you are certain that all the forms are filled out completely and accurately, the completed document and all accompanying materials must be signed by yourself and witnessed by a Justice of the Peace, your lawyer or Commissioner for Declarations. Before sending the documents to the court, at least three copies should be made of each one.
What happens next, should bail be granted?
Certain conditions may attach that are designed to yield a particular outcome, whether that is appearing in court on a precise date or demanding that no other legal offences are committed while awaiting trial. This may include forbidding you from leaving a particular area (and surrendering your passport) or from associating with certain individuals – usually any accomplices with whom you are alleged to have committed crimes. You may also need to regularly report to a police station or check in with your lawyer. These conditions are implemented so you adhere to a strict code of conduct and do not breach your permissions and lose the privilege of bail.
What happens if bail is denied?
Circumstances dictate the next course of action. Depending on the offence with which you are charged, you may be required to show cause, another technical term that refers to "showing" the court why imprisonment is inappropriate given what you may know or if something about your case has changed that the court is not aware of. Your lawyer may be able to help you with this process.
At Russo Lawyers, we are committed to your rights and mounting a vigorous, robust defence for all our clients. Contact us today to arrange an initial consult.