If someone you know has been refused bail, read our guide for further information about bail and for a better understanding as to why it may have been refused.
What is bail?
In most criminal cases, suspects can only be held in custody by the police for 24 hours before they have to either charge or release them. Once a suspect enters the court system having been charged with a crime, the magistrates decide whether or not to grant bail or remand the suspect in custody.
When granted bail, a suspect is able to return to their home or to a designated address whilst they wait for their case to go through the UK criminal system. Court bail runs from the date of the suspect’s first appearance in the Magistrates’ court, to when they are either sentenced for the crime, found to be not guilty or if the case is dismissed.
During the proceedings of the case, both the prosecutors and suspect can request for the bail conditions to be changed.
What are bail conditions?
Bail conditions allow you to remain within the community while your court case is pending.
There may be conditions attributed to your release such as:
- Not being able to communicate and/or interfere with the alleged victim
- Not being able to communicate with co-accused (if applicable)
- Not being able to go within a certain distance of place(s) and/or person(s) of the alleged crime
- Having to stay in place of residence between certain hours
- Following instructions of house arrest
Why would someone be refused bail?
When bail is refused, the defendant is held in custody. The grounds for refusing bail or exceptions to bail are outlined in schedule 1 of the Bail Act 1976. Within this schedule, the accused or convicted person who is said to have committed an offence worthy of imprisonment may not be granted bail, if the court feels that, should the defendant be released on bail, they would:
- Not surrender to custody
- Commit another crime or offence while on bail
- Obstruct the course of justice for themselves or another person
- Interfere with witnesses
- Be at risk
If the defendant is already in custody as a result of a previous court sentence, the court may refuse bail if it hasn’t been able to gather enough information in order to arrive at a decision on bail, or if the defendant was arrested for breaking previous bail conditions.
If the offence isn’t punishable by imprisonment, when can a person be refused bail?
Schedule 1 of the Bail Act 1976 states that bail may only be refused when an offence isn’t punishable with imprisonment, if the court is satisfied that the defendant needs to be kept in custody for their own safety, or if they are a child or young person and need to be kept in custody for their own welfare.
The court may also rule to deny bail even if the crime isn’t punishable by imprisonment, if they have reason to believe that the defendant would fail to surrender to custody based on previously doing so. If the defendant is already in custody due to a court sentence, or if they have broken previous bail conditions, then the court may deny bail even though the offence isn’t punishable by imprisonment.
Getting the right criminal defence services
If you know someone who has been refused bail based on the decisions made by the police and the court, they could be held for substantial periods of time, depriving the defendant’s liberty. It is extremely important that when a decision is made to refuse bail, it is done so fairly and in accordance with the law.
At Carter Moore, our criminal law specialists have years of experience dealing with bail conditions in the UK, defending a number of criminal offences and appealing decisions to refuse bail. Contact our expert criminal defence team today to see how we can help you, a friend or family member who may have been arrested and refused bail.