What happens when you breach your bail?
What happens when you fail to appear in court?
If you breach your bail by failing to appear at court, an arrest warrant may be issued by the court. An arrest warrant gives the police the authority to arrest you and keep you in custody until you are brought before the court. You must be brought before the court as soon as practicable.
Once you are before the court, you will have the opportunity to explain to the court why you have breached bail. The court will then continue bail, or bail can be revoked and you will be remanded custody.
Penalties for failing to appear:
The penalties for failing to appear at court without a reasonable excuse is an offence that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of three years. However it is rare that a court will impose a term of full time imprisonment on the charge of failing to appear in court.
What happens when you fail to report to the police station?
If a police officer finds that you breach bail conditions but thinks your breach is not serious (for example, you are a few minutes late to report to police), they can instead decide just to warn you and not arrest you. The decision is up to the police officer. He/She can alternatively take you into custody and make an application to re-determine your bail, to be heard in a local court.
What do I do if I have breached bail conditions?
If you do miss your court date for any reason, you must still attend court as soon as possible afterwards and hand yourself in to the police. It is best to hand yourself in rather than wait to be arrested as it shows the police and the court that you are not trying to avoid the charge. The court will very often grant you bail again once your bail is redetermined by the court.
If you had a genuine reason or reasonable excuse for not being able to attend court, such as being medically unfit or because of an emergency, you should bring evidence of this with you when you hand yourself in at the court. For example, a medical certificate that shows you were unfit to attend court or a medical report to show you were in hospital at the time you were due in court. The police can take this information into account when considering whether to charge you with an offence of failing to attend court and the court can take it into account when considering whether to continue your bail.
Other bail conditions
There are many other types of bail conditions that the Police or the court can impose upon you that you are required to comply with.
If you have been granted bail, you should consider yourself fortunate, and make sure you know your bail conditions well. A trivial breach could land you in jail!
If you would like to know more about what happens when you breach bail conditions, give one of our experienced solicitors at LY Lawyers a call on 1300 595 299.