Bail


After your arrest you can be released in the following ways before the court case

  • If you are under 18 years old, you can be released into the care of your parents or guardian 
OR
  • you can be released with a warning to appear in court on a certain date or
  • you can be released on bail 
What is Bail? 
Bail is money paid to the court or to the police.
Once paid you can go home until the date of your court case. 
When your court case ends, you are entitled to get the bail money back, even if you are found guilty. 
When will you not get the bail money back? 
You will not get your bail money back:

  • if you do not come to court on the day of your court case
  • if you interfere with any witnesses
  • if you break any of the conditions of bail 
If you are released on bail, you will get a written notice. 
This notice will inform you where the court is and the day and the time that you must be present at court. 
It will also show list conditions, for example,
that you must report every week to the police station.
    • Types of bail
      There are three kinds of bail:
      1. Police bail

      2. Bail by certain prosecutors
      3. Court bail

        Types of bail
        As soon you have been arrested and taken to the police station you can ask the police for bail
        If they approve, they will decide how much bail you must pay. The amount must be paid in cash.
        You must get a receipt saying how much you paid and when you must appear in court.
        Once you have paid the bail the police must release you.

          What if the police do not agree to grant bail?
          If the police will not agree to grant you police bail, you must wait for the court hearing.
          At court you can ask for court bail.
The police cannot grant bail if you were arrested for a serious crime, for example rape, murder, armed robbery, housebreaking, etc.
Bail by certain prosecutors
For some of the serious crimes, a prosecutor can agree to bail. You must ask the police to telephone the duty prosecutor to check whether you can get bail.
Court bail
When you are brought to court, the court case usually does not finish on the same day.
You have a right to ask the court to be released on bail until the case finishes.
          You can ask for bail at any time on or after the first day in court.
When you ask for bail you must convince the judge or magistrate that:

        • You will not run away

        • You are not a danger to other people
        • You will not commit further crimes

        • You will not intimidate any witness in the case
        • You have a permanent address

          • If you ask for bail you (or your attorney) must give the court details of where you
            live, your employment situation, and reasons why the granting of bail is important for you.
            When you pay the bail you must get a receipt.
Only the person with a receipt for the bail will get the money back after the trial.

              Note
              The Criminal Procedures Second Amendment Act (also known as the Bail Law) includes a number of strict measures regarding bail for people accused of serious offences. The Act lists very serious offences (schedule 6 offences) which include murder, rape, armed robbery and vehicle hijacking, and makes it very difficult for people who are accused of these offences to get bail.
              The accused will have to prove that exceptional circumstances exist before bail is granted.
              For Schedule 5 offences, like robbery with aggravating circumstances, drug-dealing, arms-dealing, corruption, fraud, theft or forgery of large amounts of money, the onus will be on the accused to prove that he/she should get bail.
              If an accused is charged with a Schedule 5 offence, and has been previously convicted of a schedule 5 or 6 offence, bail will not normally be granted.
              This is done in a bail hearing at court, where the accused will bring evidence to show why he/she should get bail, and the prosecutor will ask the investigating officer to provide reasons why the accused should not get bail, for example, that the accused will intimidate witnesses.
              According to this law, bail applications for Schedule 5 or 6 crimes will now only be heard in Regional Courts.
              These cases can also not be heard outside of court hours
              Bail can also be refused when an offence has caused community outrage although this can only happen in exceptional circumstances.
              Finally, a person accused of a Schedule 5 or 6 crime must disclose all previous convictions and outstanding charges against them at the bail application and they will not have the right to have access to the police docket during the bail hearing. This will help to stop the intimidation and victimisation of witnesses in court cases.

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