If you or a loved one is under investigation or arrest for a crime, we may be able to negotiate with the police to secure your release from the police station without the need to have a bail hearing at court. Nothing is more important in a criminal case than obtaining a speedy and reasonable bail.
What is Bail?
The Bail Act 1985 (SA) regulates the granting of bail and provides for bail agreements. A bail agreement is between a person charged with a criminal offence and the State. When you are granted Bail, you are free to reside in the community subject to the conditions of your Bail Agreement. Sometimes, these conditions can be very restrictive, and an experienced criminal lawyer can help you modify these conditions.
Those conditions can vary from case to case, but may commonly include the following:
(a) To reside at a specific address;
(b) To surrender your passport;
(c) To report regularly to a police station or a corrections officer;
(d) To be subject to a curfew;
(e) Not to approach or communicate with the alleged victim of the offence.
Helpful Questions and Answers
WHAT HAPPENS IF I BREACH BAIL?
If you breach your Bail Agreement, your Bail may be revoked and you may be taken into custody. Sometimes, you may be asked to enter into a new Bail Agreement with stricter conditions. You may be required to forfeit a sum of money to the state (this will usually be a condition of the Bail Agreement itself).
Breach of Bail itself is a criminal offence and Prosecution will usually charge you with a Breach of Bail if you do not comply with the terms of your Bail Agreement. It may prove more difficult to be granted Bail in future if you have breached it in the past.
I WAS CHARGED FOR BREACH OF BAIL - NOW WHAT?
If you have been charged with Breach of Bail, you should seek immediate legal advice because the penalties can be quite severe. We will be able to assist you with reducing the penalty and/or assisting you with defending the matter and representing you in Court.
WILL I GET BAIL?
For most offences in South Australia, every person is presumed to be entitled to Bail unless the Prosecution can show the Court good reason why Bail should not be granted.You should seek legal advice from us as soon as possible if you need assistance with applying for Bail.
HOW CAN I CHANGE MY BAIL CONDITIONS
Sometimes, Bail conditions will need to be varied to enable you to do something prohibited by your Bail Agreement. For example, you may be prohibited from leaving the State of South Australia but might have a work commitment interstate. In these circumstances, an Application can be made to the authority that issued the Bail (either the Court or the Police) to vary your Bail Agreement temporarily to enable you to travel.
You must have good reason for the variation and cannot, for example, apply to have your Bail varied so that you can travel overseas or interstate on holiday, unless the trip was booked prior to your Bail Agreement and is unusually important.
The process usually involves a formal Application to the Court (if the Court granted the Bail) and you should seek legal advice if you need to vary your Bail. Some Bail conditions cannot be varied. You should seek legal advice as to whether or not you will be able to apply to have your Bail varied to achieve your desired outcome.
CAN I LEAVE THE STATE?
All Bail Agreements must include a condition that you must not leave the State of South Australia for any reason without the permission of the Court, or some other authority specified in the Bail Agreement; that you be prohibited from possessing a firearm or any ammunition; and that you submit to gunshot residue testing when required.
WHAT IS A PRESCRIBED APPLICANT?
It is difficult to get Bail if you are charged with certain offences. In these cases, the person applying for Bail is called a “prescribed applicant” and must show the Court special reasons as to why they should be granted Bail. You should seek legal advice from us as soon as possible if you need assistance with applying for Bail.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF BAIL IS REFUSED?
If you have been charged with a criminal offence and have been refused Bail by police, you should seek legal advice immediately so that a Bail Application can be made to the Court on your behalf.
WHAT IS THE PENALTY FOR BREACH OF BAIL?
The maximum penalty for Breach of Bail is a $10,000 fine, or 2 years imprisonment. The penalty imposed for Breach of Bail cannot exceed the maximum penalty for the offence you are on Bail for. So, for example, if you are charged with an offence carrying a maximum penalty of 6 months’ imprisonment, you cannot be sentenced to more than 6 months’ imprisonment for breaching Bail.