Bail is the term used when someone promises they will appear in court when they have been told to, without being kept in prison.
Offenders may be given bail after being arrested and are waiting to go to court because of an offence. Bail may also be given if someone is found guilty of an offence and is waiting to be sentenced.
Bail is usually given to people who are not considered to be a risk if they stay in the community but they may need to follow rules or conditions.
These conditions may include:
A person who is on bail may stay in the community as long as they follow the rules or conditions which have been set. They may be able to live at their usual house and work in the same job. However, they may have to live at a place where they can be closely supervised.
If a person has been convicted of a crime but is not considered to be a risk to the community, they might stay on bail while the Department of Corrective Services prepares a Pre Sentence Report (PDF 122 KB) for the court. This report contains information on any crimes the person has committed in the past and their links to the community, including their job, their family and where they live. The court can then decide what penalty is most suitable.
If a person is charged with a domestic violence offence, or for actions caused by substance abuse, they may be bailed to appear in a specialist court. These special courts make sure offenders go into treatment programs before they are sentenced. In many cases, if the offender does everything needed to complete the program, they may get a lesser sentence. The offender will be closely managed by a community corrections officer while they are enrolled in the treatment program.
If the offender does not follow the rules of their bail, it could be cancelled and they may have to go back to court. The court may grant bail again, which could mean the offender has to stick by more conditions, or they may be sent to prison.
Last updated: 4-Mar-2010