Applying for Bail

by The FindLaw Team

Bail is the right to be released from custody, secured by a promise to appear before a court when scheduled (sometimes supported by a financial guarantee of appearance). It is used to grant freedom from police custody after arrest  in circumstances where the police are unable to bring you before a judge immediately,  and in other circumstances, such as being in custody awaiting the outcome of a trial or sentence, or in prison and waiting on the resolution of an appeal to a higher court. Most grants of bail are conditional and it is a criminal offence for the individual to fail to appear later.

Bail may be granted by the police (police bail) or judge of an appropriate court (court bail). Apart from certain limited offences, where you will get court bail as of right, bail is not a right in all other instances, even if a person would be capable of complying with any typically prescribed conditions. The general approach is, however, that where you have been charged with an offence that is not bailable as of right, you will be released by the court on reasonable terms unless the court is satisfied there is just cause for your continued detention.  Failing to appear may also result in any money placed as security, being forfeited.

A lawyer is very important if you are serious about obtaining bail. Certain offences are harder to get bail for and a good lawyer can help establish that you will appear later and do not represent a threat to the community. If relevant to your situation in dealing with police bail, a lawyer can also help get the best conditions for your bail. Although they cannot post bail for you, they may be able to recommend people who could support you and ensure that any conditions will not prove too complicated or difficult to meet. A lawyer is also vital in arranging an appeal of an unfavourable bail decision and helping an accused through preparations for a hearing.

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