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​Bail and bail conditions

Bail is an agreement to attend court at a later date to answer a criminal charge.

As with the decision on whether to release, release on bail or hold the accused in custody, the decision on what bail conditions to apply will take into account the seriousness of the crime, likelihood of the accused attending court and the safety of victims and witnesses.

The court may require an accused person to agree to meet certain conditions before being released on bail.

Bail conditions imposed mainly to ensure that an accused person will appear in court include:

  • surrendering a passport
  • agreeing to report to police on a regular basis
  • depositing a sum of money and agreeing to forfeit it if bail is breached
  • having a person, such as a friend or relative of the accused to act as a surety to agree to lodge money or agree to forfeit a certain amount if the accused fails to attend court
  • living at a certain address
  • reporting to police on a regular basis.

Other bail conditions, some of which are intended to protect victims may include requirements such as:

  • not contacting witnesses, particularly alleged victims
  • a curfew, that requires the accused to be at home during certain hours
  • not going to certain places
  • not contacting certain people, for example people involved in the offence
  • not drinking alcohol
  • attending drug and alcohol courses
  • attending rehabilitation or counselling courses
  • attending medical appointments.

In assessing the safety of victims and witnesses, the police will take into account the victim's response to a bail application made by the accused.

The accused person must follow the bail conditions until the next court appearance. Police can arrest the person if they breach the bail conditions.

The Charter of Victims Rights includes rights (numbered 11,12,13) associated with bail.

Decision to release, or release on bail, or remand in custody

Once arrested and charged, the accused person can either:

  1. be released with a court attendance notice to appear in court on a particular day, or
  2. be released on bail (an agreement to appear in court on a particular day), or
  3. be held in custody (on remand) until the case goes to court.

In making a decision, police will consider things such as the seriousness of the crime, the safety of victims and witnesses, the safety of the community and whether the accused person is likely to turn up to court.

You should tell police if you have fears for your safety. You should report any breaches to the Police Assistance Line on 131 444 or your Local Area Command as soon as possible. Find the contact details for the Local Area Command on the NSW Police website. If it's an emergency, call 000 and ask for police.

More on bail

Local Courts website - section on 'bail'

Legal Aid website - A Guide to Bail
(Note: this is from an accused person's viewpoint)