What is the bail application procedure in Victoria?
Once you have been charged and placed in police custody, either in a gaol or at a police station, you have the right to make a bail application. Police may not inform you of that right, which is why you should always contact a lawyer immediately after being arrested and charged with an offence.
This is how the bail application process in Victoria usually proceeds:
Having been arrested and charged with a criminal offence, you have been placed in police custody, either in a gaol or at a police station. Ideally, you contacted your lawyer immediately after your arrest and they are negotiating with police to obtain bail.
When deciding to grant bail from their custody, the police will consider these factors:
Have you been charged with a minor or summary criminal offence? If so, then you will likely be granted bail immediately. They will set a date for your court appearance and may impose bail conditions which must be kept.
Have you been charged with a serious criminal offence? If so, then the police may refuse to grant you bail. Ideally, you will be seen by a Magistrate within 24 hours of your arrest. If you cannot be seen by a Magistrate in that time, the police may decide to hold you in custody if there is an unacceptable risk that you will reoffend if released.
If police have refused bail, you may request to be heard by a Bail Justice or Magistrate within 24 hours or as soon as practicably possible to make a bail application. Again, it’s vital you seek the help of an experienced criminal lawyer to represent you in court to ensure your bail application is successful.
When deciding to grant bail, the Court will consider these factors:
The prosecution will try to show that you pose an ‘unacceptable risk’ to the community and should not be released from police custody. Their argument may rest on the seriousness of your current criminal charge or previous criminal charges.
Your lawyer will need to prove that there are ‘compelling reasons’ or ‘exceptional circumstances’ as to why you should be granted bail and released from police custody.
If the court decides that ‘compelling reasons’ or ‘exceptional circumstances’ exist for your release on bail, your application will be granted.
On the other hand, if the court believes you post an ‘unacceptable risk’ to the community, your bail application will be refused and you will be returned to police custody to await your next court appearance.
If your application for bail is granted, you will be required to enter into a written undertaking (make a solemn promise to the court) to surrender yourself into custody and/or reappear in court at the time and place of the hearing or trail for your case.
The court may decide to grant bail in a number of ways:
Without any conditions attached to your release other than to surrender yourself into custody and/or reappear in court at the time and place determined by the judge or Bail Justice, or
With conditions attached stipulating specific limitations or conduct that must be adhered to while you are released on bail, and/or
Upon deposit of money as a security against any penalty the court may later impose, or placement of a ‘surety’ (money or property) of a certain value which is forfeited if bail conditions are breached.
While you are released on bail, it is vital you adhere strictly to any conditions imposed by the court or police.
If you are unable to meet your bail conditions for any reason, you must contact your lawyer immediately, as a breach of bail conditions is itself an offence, carrying stiff penalties (up to 3-12 months imprisonment) and may result in a warrant issued for your return to police custody.
What does ‘Unacceptable Risk’ mean?
When your bail application is heard by the Magistrate or Bail Justice, the prosecutor or other party who opposes your bail application, will try to prove that you present an ‘unacceptable risk’ to the community.
This includes the likelihood, based on evidence brought before the Magistrate or Bail Justice that you may:
If the court agrees with the prosecutor’s argument and is satisfied you do pose an ‘unacceptable risk’, they must refuse you bail application.
What are ‘Compelling Reasons’ and ‘Exceptional Circumstances’?
During the bail application process, your lawyer will try to prove that there are ‘compelling reasons’ or ‘exceptional circumstances’ why you should be granted bail and not kept in custody.
It is up to you (and your lawyer) to show evidence of ‘compelling reasons’ why it is safe for the court to release you and why detaining you further is not justified. These include:
Your lawyer may also show the presence of ‘exceptional circumstances’ supporting your argument why detention in custody is not justified. These include:
Bail conditions fall into two broad categories: conduct conditions, which direct how you must act while released on bail, and financial conditions, which stipulate what monies or property you must put as deposit or surety for bail to be granted.
Conduct bail conditions often include:
What is the bail application procedure in Victoria?
Being charged, arrested and detained by police is a highly stressful experience which can impede your decision making and negotiating abilities. Police may not properly inform you of your right to apply for bail and being detained and anxious, you are likely to not be in the best frame of mind to engage in the highly complex bail application process.
SECURE YOUR FREEDOM - FAST!
If you’ve been arrested and are being held in police remand, contact Garde Wilson Lawyers immediately to discuss how we can secure your bail release under reasonable conditions.
CONTACT US ON 03 9098 8648 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION WITH A CRIMINAL LAW EXPERT.
NEED HELP with Bail?
Avoid Jail. Avoid Serious Fines. FREE Legal Advice.