How bail works in the UK – and what happens if bail conditions are broken?

Bail is an important part of the justice system and can give someone suspected of a crime temporary release while they await their day in court.

However, how bail works can be a mystery to those who don’t have personal experience of how it works — which can lead to confusion and even resentment.

The UK bail system is very different from the financially driven US bail system we often see on TV and in movies.

Here’s our guide to how bail works in the UK, including the possible conditions – and what happens if those conditions are breached.

READ MORE: How long is a life sentence in the UK, what offenses carry a life sentence and how does probation work?

what is bail

Bail is the conditional release of an accused subject to them complying with certain conditions and appearing in court when called upon to do so.

It is the responsibility of magistrates and magistrates to decide whether to grant bail or remand the accused.

Normally, police can only detain suspects for 24 hours before either charging them or releasing them.

Bail conditions apply and some defendants may simply be refused bail. There are a number of reasons a judge might refuse bail to a particular defendant, including when it is believed he will be on the run.

How does deposit work?

It is the responsibility of magistrates and magistrates to decide whether to grant bail or remand the accused.

Normally, police can only detain suspects for 24 hours before either charging them or releasing them. It is then up to the court system to decide what to do with the bail.

Courts have the ability to grant conditional or unconditional bail. Bail may include a bond – a sum of money or assets made available to the court to reduce the defendant’s risk of absconding.

If the defendant does flee, he loses the money or assets he gave to the court.

What are deposit conditions?

Bail terms are attached to a specific defendant’s bail agreement. The defendant agrees to abide by these terms, knowing that if he fails to do so, he will be arrested again.

Conditions may be attached to bail to reduce the likelihood that the accused will commit further offenses while out on bail.

What happens if the bail conditions are violated?

A defendant who violates his bail conditions will be re-tried in court, where a judge or magistrates will decide whether he should be remanded in custody or released.

Any defendant who is released on bail after violating his terms may be subject to more stringent terms.

Can a deposit be refused?

Bail may be refused for a number of reasons, including when the judge or magistrates consider that there is a serious risk that the accused will flee and not appear in court when necessary.

Courts may refuse to grant bail for the following reasons, among others:

  • There is a significant risk of the defendant absconding

  • There is a risk that the accused will commit further crimes

  • There is a risk that the accused will attempt to intimidate or otherwise disrupt witnesses

  • The defendant is already in prison for another crime

  • The defendant violated bail conditions

  • The court considers that it does not have sufficient information about the accused

  • When it is necessary to hold the defendant in custody after sentencing so that the hearing reports can be completed

  • For the defendant’s own protection

Defendants charged with a particularly serious offense – such as armed robbery – are just as unlikely to be released on bail as are those convicted of serious crimes in the past.

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