Bail is now becoming a highly complex area of criminal law. There have been many changes in recent years to the legislation that affects bail applications, so the expert assistance of a criminal defence lawyer is valuable. If you are looking for bail lawyers in Melbourne, the team at Slades & Parsons can help you.
What is bail?
Bail is the release of an accused person from custody on their signed undertaking that they will appear at court to answer their charges. A bail undertaking can include any number of conditions that must be complied with by the accused person, such as a reporting condition, a curfew, or a surety.
The Bail Act 1977 provides the legislative framework used to make decisions on whether an accused person should be granted bail.
For more information about bail applications, including the bail hearing process and bail being granted or refused, please see our frequently asked bail questions.
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Changes to the Bail Act
The Bail Act 1977 (Vic) underwent significant changes in 2018 which had the consequence of creating a stricter bail process than was previously in effect.
New legal tests were introduced and further offences were made subject to these tests. For example, the compelling reasons test was introduced in 2018 to replace the show cause test. Additionally, the amendments expanded the number of offences that fall into the exceptional circumstances category. This means that often accused persons who are facing a series of low-level offences must meet the highest bail test when applying for bail.
Following the changes in 2018 when a lawyer represents a client and the Court refuses bail, a further application for bail can only be made if new facts and circumstances arise after the first application. The same Magistrate or Judge will almost always hear the further application for bail.
The Process – How to Apply for Bail
If a police officer has arrested and charged you with an offence, they can:
- Release you on bail from the police station on your own undertaking (a promise to attend your court hearing for the matter); or
- Make an application to remand and place you into custody (if they oppose bail)
The offence you are charged with will determine whether a police officer can grant you bail or whether your bail application will need to go to court.
In Victoria, if a court hearing cannot take place within 24 hours of your arrest and there are no legal grounds to refuse the application, bail must be granted and you will be released from custody. Alternatively, a bail justice may review your application.
Ordinarily, if the police make an application to remand you into custody, you will be brought before a court where you have an opportunity to make an application for bail. You must demonstrate that there are compelling reasons or exceptional circumstances that justify you being granted bail. These are legal tests and the applicable test is determined by the offences you are charged with.
Slades and Parsons are available 24/7 to help you through this process and can assist with representation at bail applications.
Case Study - Bail Application
Slades and Parsons solicitor Ms. Dubroja acted for a client who had been charged with a number of offences, including aggravated burglary, drug and dishonesty offences. The offending breached a Community Correction Order.
Ms Dubroja arranged community and court supports, including participation in a court-supported bail program, a suitable address, strong family support and counselling support. Our office submitted that strict bail conditions would reduce the risk of our client reoffending or failing to appear.
Bail was initially refused
The Magistrate agreed with all submissions but refused our client bail due to the seriousness of the offending and previous convictions for breaching bail and Community Correction Orders.
Our client was remanded in custody.
Bail was then granted
Ms Dubroja discussed further options with the client. Ms Dubroja organised for our client to undergo an in-custody assessment for a rehabilitation facility. When the client was found suitable for the rehabilitation program, Ms Dubroja negotiated with Corrections to allow our client to continue on the order so that the programs completed at the facility are credited to the Corrections Order.
On the basis of this assessment, new facts and circumstances were established and a further application for bail was made.
The Prosecution would not consent to bail and submitted the risk to the community was still too high. Ms Dubroja submitted that new facts and circumstances (the additional support of a rehabilitation centre) reduced the risk to an acceptable level. The Court granted our client Bail.
Slades & Parsons: Bail Lawyers in Melbourne
With the increasing complexity of bail applications in the criminal law, Slades and Parsons Lawyers offers expert assistance in all bail matters.
Slades and Parsons’ criminal lawyers are experienced in preparing and conducting bail applications in all courts, including the Magistrates Court, County Court and Supreme Court, and appear regularly on behalf of our clients. We carefully analyse our client’s situation and the prosecution case. Slades & Parsons work closely with organisations that can provide support or treatment and enhance your chance of a successful bail application.
We are one of Melbourne’s leading criminal law firms, representing clients across a range of criminal matters. Our experienced lawyers are happy to discuss any questions you may have about applying for bail. We will make a further application for bail if it has been refused.
Bail Applications – Frequently Asked Questions
- What is bail?
- What happens at a bail hearing?
- When can a person be refused bail?
- What happens after bail is granted?
- How much bail do you pay?
- Do you get bail money back?
- What are some examples of ‘exceptional circumstances’ in bail applications’?
- What are ‘compelling reasons’ when applying for bail?
- What are common bail conditions?