What is Police Bail?
Police bail is when you are released from the police station following a charge. Bail allows you to return home until the court hearing. However, there are certain situations where bail will be assured, and other circumstances where bail will be refused.
Conditions of Bail
There are certain conditions attached to bail that you have to adhere to avoid bail being revoked.
Some of the conditions that the court could enforce on your bail are:
- Having to live at a particular address
- Avoiding contact with certain people
- Handing over your passport to police to reduce the risk of leaving the UK
- Checking in at a police station at a given time
If any of these terms are not followed, you may face arrest and a stay in prison until your court hearing.
However, bail can be refused if you:
- Are charged with a serious offence
- Have broken the terms of bail before
- Have been convicted of a serious crime in the past
- Are likely to not turn up for your hearing, in the opinion of court
- Are likely to commit a crime while on bail, in the opinion of court
Surety and Security
If some cases, the person who has been charged may be asked for some surety or security to guarantee their agreement to the conditions of bail. A surety is a financial assurance to guarantee his or her attendance at court while they are on bail.
This can take a few forms:
Security – the money is paid directly to the court before the defendant is released.
Surety – the money is promised to be paid by family or friends if the terms of the bail are broken. Documented evidence must be shown to the court that this money is available should it need to be paid.
Is bail money refundable?
Surety bail – If the court agrees, you may be able to pay a bail bond. This is percentage of the total bail amount and is not refundable. The premium covers the fee of the bail agent which you will need to enlist. Despite the non-refund, it often works out the cheapest option, so long as the defendant turns up for all court appearances and does not break any of the terms of bail.
Cash bail – Cash bail is the full amount of money. However, if the defendant doesn’t break any of the bail terms and turns up for all required court appearances, the money is returned. If the defendant breaks any of the conditions, or gets arrested while on bail, there is no refund.
Property bail – If you offered the real value of your property to the court in exchange of the defendant’s release, the court can seize the property if the person does not show up to court.