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Being on bail in Queensland

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When you are charged with an offence you will be, depending on the charge, placed on bail until your court date. This means you are released on the condition that you will appear in court at the specified time and date, to answer the charge(s). In this sense, bail is like a promise or a contract to come to the court and deal with your charge.

Should you not appear in court the Magistrate will take that you have breached bail. In this instance the Magistrate may place a warrant out for your arrest. This warrant will be forwarded to the Police who will then in turn seek to arrest you to bring you before the Magistrate. They do this by attending your home, place of employment, or if you are pulled over in your vehicle you may be taken in from there.

For more serious charges you may have terms included in your bail. This means along with agreeing to appear in court at the allocated time and date you may also have to do things such as:

1.       Report to a specific police station to sign in on a daily or weekly basis;

2.       Be issued with a curfew in which you must be home within the specified hours;

3.       To reside at a certain location

4.       Not leave Queensland

5.       Not to contact or associate with certain people including witnesses.

Breaching specific bail conditions is very serious and will almost certainly result in a further charge being issued against you and the possibility of the bail being revoked.

In circumstances where you appear in court on your initial court date and adjourn your matter you can apply to have Magistrate grant you further bail or what is known as being granted bail on your own undertaking. In this circumstance you will be required to sign a bail undertaking document which will be prepared by the court once the Magistrate has set the terms of your bail and allocated your next court date. You will be provided with a copy of the bail undertaking for your records.

On subsequent court appearances for those charges you can seek to have the bail continue.  This is known as enlarging the bail.

In circumstances where you believe you have a legitimate reason for having breached bail you will still need to follow the same protocol of having breached your bail and explain your circumstances and reasons to the Magistrate.

If for some reason you miss your initial court date and believe a warrant has been issued for your arrest you need to surrender yourself. It is best to do this first thing in the morning as, if you attend late in the afternoon, you may be kept in the watchouse overnight until they police and court can process you and allocate you a new court date.  There is of course the risk that the police could arrest you if you wait and take you to the watchhouse overnight anyway.

You surrender yourself by appearing at the registry of the court you were allocated to attend. There you advise them that you missed your court date and need to surrender yourself. As both the court house and the Police are involved in the process it can be a lengthy period, taking on average 1-2 hours.

Breaching bail can have serious consequences on the outcome of your matter, when it is eventually heard by the Magistrate. Courts may certainly treat you more favourably if you surrender yourself to police voluntarily.

If you know you cannot make your court date, even if it is due to what you believe to be a legitimate reason, you should engage a Lawyer to appear on your behalf. We understand that medical and other emergencies happen at the last minute and we can arrange someone to appear on your behalf on extremely short notice, even the morning of your court appearance.

If you have breached bail or your bail conditions or believe that you will be unable to attend an upcoming court date contact our office to discuss options available to you. 

At Clarity Law we appear in Courts throughout Brisbane and on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts on a daily basis. 

If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

 

This article is written by Steven Brough one of Queensland’s most experienced criminal lawyers but contains general advice only not specific legal advice.  This article should not be relied upon instead of getting legal advice and applies only to Queensland.

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