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

Bail is an important part of the justice system, and it can provide a person suspected of a crime with temporary release while they await their day in court.

However, the workings of bail can be a bit of a mystery to those who don’t have personal experience with how it works – which can lead to some 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 what the terms can be – and what happens if those terms are violated.

Read more: How long is a life sentence in the UK, what crimes carry a life sentence and how does parole work?

What is dance?

Bail is the conditional release of a defendant, on the understanding that they will comply with certain conditions and appear in court when required.

It is the responsibility of the magistrate and judges to decide whether bail is granted or the defendant is remanded in custody.

Typically, police can only hold suspects for 24 hours before they have to either charge them or let them go.

Bail conditions will apply and some defendants may simply be refused bail. There are a number of reasons a judge may deny bail to a particular defendant, including whether they are likely to escape.

How does dance work?

It is the responsibility of the magistrate and judges to decide whether bail is granted or the defendant is remanded in custody.

Typically, police can only hold suspects for 24 hours before they have to either charge them or let them go. It is up to the court system to decide what should be done about bail.

Courts have the option to grant conditional or unconditional bail. Bail may include a certainty – money or property placed in the hands of the court to reduce the risk of the defendant absconding.

If the defendant then absconds, they would forfeit the money or property handed over to the court.

What are the conditions of bail?

The terms of bail are attached to the bail agreement of a particular defendant. Defendants agree to comply with these Terms in the knowledge that if they do not do so they will be arrested again.

Conditions may be attached to bail to reduce the likelihood of the defendant committing further offenses while out on bail.

What happens if the bail conditions are broken?

A defendant who violates the conditions of his bail will be brought back to court, where a judge or magistrate will decide whether to remand him in custody or to release him again.

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

Can dance be forbidden?

Bail can be denied for a number of reasons, including if the judge or magistrate feels that there is a serious risk of the defendant running away and failing to appear in court when necessary.

Courts may refuse to grant bail for the following reasons:

  • The defendant is in grave danger of absconding

  • there is a danger that the defendant will commit further offenses

  • There is a risk of the defendant attempting to intimidate witnesses or otherwise interfere.

  • the defendant is already in prison for another offense

  • The defendant has violated the conditions of bail

  • The court feels that it does not have sufficient information about the defendant

  • If after conviction it is necessary to keep the defendant in custody so as to complete the pre-sentence report

  • for the defendant’s own safety

A defendant charged with a particularly serious crime – such as armed robbery – is also unlikely to be granted bail, as are those convicted of serious crimes in the past.

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