The general position in Queensland is that everyone charged with a criminal offence should be placed on bail. Bail is simply the Court’s permission to allow you to remain in the community (rather than in custody) whilst your matter is being finalised.
When will I be placed on bail?
There are several ways that you may be placed on bail. You may be granted watch house bail if you are charged through the watch house. If you are not granted watch house bail, or are charged by way of Notice to Appear or Summons, the Court will decide whether you should be granted bail. In those circumstances, the Court will decide whether you should be granted bail at the first mention of your matter.
“Show cause” position
The onus to show that you are an unacceptable risk and should not be placed on bail is ordinarily borne by Prosecutions. However, in some circumstances, the onus is reversed and you must “show cause” as to why being remanded in custody is not justified. This is known as a “show cause” position.
You may be in a show cause position for several reasons, including (but not limited to) circumstances where you have been:-
- charged with a further serious offence while you are on bail for a serious offence;
- charged with failing to appear;
- charged with breaching a domestic violence order, where the alleged offence involved violence (or threat of violence) to a person or property.
If you are in a show cause position, you must demonstrate that you should be granted bail by the Court and not be remanded in custody pending finalisation of your matter.
Why would the Court refuse bail?
The Court will refuse bail if you are considered an unacceptable risk of:-
- failing to appear at Court;
- committing further offences while on bail;
- endangering the safety of a victim or other person in the community; and/or
- interfering with witnesses.
The Court will also consider other factors when determining whether to grant bail, including:-
- the nature and seriousness of the offence you have been charged with;
- whether you have a place to live, employment or dependants; and
- your criminal history, particularly previous offences for failing to appear.
What happens if I breach my bail undertaking?
It is vital that you comply with each and every condition of your bail. You may be charged with a breach of your bail undertaking if you do not comply. The maximum penalty for this offence (as at March 2018) is a fine of 40 penalty units (currently equating to $5,046.00) or a period of imprisonment of 2 years).
In addition to the penalties available to the Court, a breach of any condition of your bail can result in your bail being revoked. This could result in you being remanded in custody until your matter is concluded, which could be a lengthy period.
It is important that you understand your bail undertaking, and the conditions of your bail undertaking. If you would like to discuss your matter, or have one of our local and experienced team represent you, please contact our office on (07) 4963 2000 or via our online contact form.