Being granted bail

Bail is an agreement to come back to court for a hearing if you are charged with an offence. You are allowed to go home under certain conditions, instead of being sent to prison. 

You are usually entitled to receive bail for minor offences, unless there are reasons that bail should be refused. 

You are unlikely to be given bail for serious offences such as murder, drug offences, sexual or violence offences.

If you don't agree to the conditions, you will not be granted bail. 

Types of bail

Police bail

If you are arrested the police can sometimes grant you bail. You do not need to wait to go to court. The police must inform you of your rights to apply for bail and allow you to contact a lawyer, or other person.

Court bail

If you are refused police bail, you can apply for court bail, which means a local court judge or Supreme Court judge will decide whether to give you bail. 

If they refuse, you can apply to the Supreme Court.

What the court or police will consider

Before granting bail, the courts or police will decide if there is any risk of you doing any of the following:

  • failing to appear in court
  • endangering the victim or community
  • interfering with evidence or a witness
  • committing a serious offence.

They will also consider all of the following:

  • your background
  • your criminal record
  • any previous failure to appear in court
  • the seriousness of the offence
  • the evidence against you
  • how much time you will need to spend in custody if bail is refused.

How to apply for bail

Your lawyer will apply for bail after your arrest. 

If you are refused court bail, you can apply for the decision to be reviewed in the Supreme Court.

For your decision to be reviewed, you will need to do all of the following:

Step 1. Fill out the bail application form:

Step 2. Attach an affidavit outlining why the court should grant you bail.

Step 3. File your documents at the sheriff's office of the Supreme Court.  

What happens if you are granted bail

You must sign a written document to say you agree with the bail conditions, called a bail undertaking.    

Bail conditions can include all of the following:

  • living at a certain address
  • a relative or friend paying a sum of money as a guarantee
  • surrendering your passport
  • not contacting specific people – for example, witnesses
  • staying away from specific places
  • not committing any other offences
  • reporting to police
  • not drinking alcohol or taking drugs.

What happens if you breach bail

Breaching bail is very serious and is considered to be a new offence.

If you breach bail, any of the following may apply:

  • you can be sent to prison for up to two years
  • be given further bail conditions
  • be given a more severe sentence
  • forfeit the money you gave as a guarantee
  • have a lower chance of being granted bail in the future
  • you can be fined.

If you fail to appear in court for your hearing, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

Other languages

Find out about bail in other languages: 

Last updated: 27 June 2017