Will I get out on bail?
Getting out on bail will depend on the issues and circumstances of your case. In the vast majority of cases, bail will be granted by the court but it will depend on:
- how serious the charge or charges are;
- what your personal circumstances are;
- your criminal history including any previous breach of bail.
In Queensland, with the exception of more serious or extraordinary offences, there is a presumption in favour of bail. Police do not have to arrest you to charge you with a criminal offence. They can issue what is called a “Notice to Appear”, which requires that you come before a court on a nominated date to face a charge. Once you are before the court, the Magistrate will deal with your bail application, and in the majority of cases, will release you on bail, subject to conditions and pending the hearing of your case.
If you are arrested by the police, they can release you on bail immediately but, if they don’t, they are required to bring you promptly before a Magistrate Court so that you can make an application for bail.
What happens if I’m refused bail?
If you are refused bail by the police and the Magistrate you will be held in custody until the charges against you are finally dealt with or you can get bail, either by a magistrate or from a higher court.
You can make a formal application to the Supreme Court judge to be granted bail. It is not at all unusual for the Supreme Court to grant bail even after the police and Magistrate have refused bail. In some very serious and exceptional cases, however, you will need to demonstrate to the court why your detention in custody is not justified. If the Supreme Court refuses you bail, you can apply again, but you may be required to show a material change of circumstances as to why bail should now be granted.
What happens if I breach my bail?
If you breach any condition of your bail you can be charged with an offence under the Queensland Bail Act 1980. If convicted, you will face a maximum of two years imprisonment on that charge alone.
If you breach your bail by failing to appear in court, as required by the bail order, the court can automatically cancel your bail and any money or other security lodged for the bail may be forfeited.
If someone is a surety for your bail and you don’t appear, the court can order that person to pay the security sum to the court. If the surety fails to pay, the court can actually imprison the surety for up to two years.
If you fail to appear and bail is breached, provided you can satisfy the court that you had a reasonable cause for not appearing and you appeared as soon as you could, then that is a complete defence to any breach charge. If it was just an honest mistake usually the court will treat you relatively leniently.