Bail is the name given to the power of a court to release, or detain, a person who has been charged with, but not yet convicted or acquitted of, a criminal offence. Bail in Queensland is governed by the Bail Act 1980 which maintains a series of presumptions (for and against) in relation to bail, depending on the charges against, and circumstances of, the person coming before the court.
After a person is arrested and charged with a criminal offence, bail is the first matter which must be considered. The Bail Act requires that a decision be made either by a police officer (normally at a watch-house), or a court, within 24 hours of a person being taken into police custody and charged. Decisions as to bail are normally made by a court, except in cases of minor offending for which police bail is often granted shortly after charge.
The Bail Act gives a court the power to do one of three things in relation to bail:
Dispense with it, also called allowing a person to go at large, which means to release them from custody without any conditions whatsoever, or
Grant bail, that is release a person form custody, either with or without conditions, or
Refuse bail, meaning that a person remains in custody.
There is a presumption in favour of bail for most offences, in most circumstances. This means that a court must grant bail to a person unless certain legislated criteria justify not doing so.
If you, or a family member, have been refused bail then you should contact a lawyer immediately as bail applications are often strongest in the early stages of a case while the Prosecution case is still weak, or is a long way from completion.
WHERE TO NEXT?
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.