Bail is the conditional release of a person who has been charged with criminal offences before those offences have been finalised. When a person is released on bail, they must sign an undertaking to come to court when required to do so and not to commit any offences while on bail. There may also be other conditions attached to a person’s bail depending on the circumstances.
Bail can be granted by the police or by a court. If a person is refused bail by police, they must be brought to court as soon as possible and given the opportunity to apply for bail. If the person is an adult, this will occur at the nearest Magistrates Court. If the person is a juvenile, it will occur at the nearest Children’s Court. Bail can also be granted by the District Court and the Supreme Court.
If a person breaches the conditions of their bail, they may be arrested and remanded until the charges against them have been finalised. They may also be rebailed on the same or different conditions.
Bail has been and remains a contentious issue for legislators, courts and the community. The Victorian Bail Act has been subject to many revisions since it was first enacted in 1977.