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Ultimate Guide For Bail In Victoria

Bail Victoria

Table of Contents

Need help getting bail?

Our criminal lawyers can help you get bail. In fact, it’s very important that you seek legal advice. 

How to make a bail application in Victoria

If you have been arrested or charged with a criminal offence in Victoria, Australia, you have the right to apply for bail. Here are the general steps to follow when applying for bail in Victoria:

  1. Seek legal advice: Before applying for bail, it is recommended that you seek legal advice from a qualified criminal defence lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options and provide guidance on the bail application process.

  2. Prepare a bail application: Your lawyer can help you prepare a bail application that addresses the relevant legal criteria and highlights any mitigating factors that may support your release on bail. The application should also outline any proposed bail conditions that you are willing to accept.

  3. Attend a bail hearing: If you are in custody, you are entitled to have a bail hearing as soon as possible. The hearing can take place in the Magistrates’ Court, County Court, or Supreme Court, depending on the seriousness of the charges. At the hearing, the court will consider your bail application and any submissions from the prosecution.

  4. Bail decision: The court will consider various factors, including the nature and seriousness of the offence, the strength of the prosecution case, the defendant’s criminal history, and their ties to the community. The court may also impose conditions on your release, such as a curfew or reporting to the police.

It’s important to note that the bail application process can be complex and challenging, especially for more serious offences. Seeking legal advice from a qualified criminal defence lawyer is highly recommended to help increase your chances of being granted bail.

What is bail?

Bail refers to the process where a person who has been arrested or detained can be released from custody while they await their trial or other legal proceedings. Typically, bail involves the payment of money or the posting of a bond as a guarantee that the person will return to court for their trial.

The amount of bail required will depend on a variety of factors, including the nature of the charges, the defendant’s criminal record, and the likelihood that they will flee or pose a danger to the community if released. In some cases, the court may require additional conditions of release, such as house arrest or the surrender of a passport.

If the defendant appears in court as required, the bail money or bond will be returned at the conclusion of the case. However, if the defendant fails to appear, the bail may be forfeited, and a warrant may be issued for their arrest.

How does bail work in Victoria?

In Victoria, Australia, the bail system is regulated by the Bail Act 1977. The act sets out the criteria that a court must consider when deciding whether to grant bail to a person who has been arrested or detained.

Here is an overview of how bail works in Victoria:

  1. Bail application: When a person is arrested or detained, they have the right to apply for bail. A bail application can be made in court or at a police station.

  2. Bail hearing: If a person is held in custody, they are entitled to have a bail hearing as soon as possible. The hearing can take place in the Magistrates’ Court, County Court, or Supreme Court, depending on the seriousness of the charges.

  3. Bail decision: The court will consider various factors, including the nature and seriousness of the offence, the strength of the prosecution’s case, the defendant’s criminal history, and their ties to the community. The court may also impose conditions on the person’s release, such as a curfew or reporting to the police.

  4. Breach of bail: If a person breaches their bail conditions, they may be arrested and held in custody until their trial.

It’s worth noting that in Victoria, there is a presumption in favour of bail. This means that a person is entitled to be granted bail unless there is a compelling reason to refuse it. However, in some cases, such as for serious offences like murder or terrorism, bail may be refused altogether.

How much does bail cost in Victoria Australia?

The cost of bail in Victoria, Australia can vary depending on a variety of factors. The amount of bail required will depend on the nature and severity of the charges, the defendant’s criminal history, and the likelihood that they will fail to appear in court or pose a risk to the community if released.

The Bail Act 1977 in Victoria specifies that the court should consider the defendant’s financial circumstances when setting bail, to ensure that the amount of bail does not place an unreasonable financial burden on them.

The court uses penalty units to calculate the cost of bail in Victoria. One penalty unit is currently $184.92, from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.

What happens when you've been released on bail?

When a person is released on bail in Victoria, Australia, they are typically required to comply with certain conditions until their trial or other legal proceedings are concluded. Here are some common conditions that a person may be required to follow:

  1. Reporting: The person may be required to report to a police station at regular intervals or as directed by the court.

  2. Residential restrictions: The person may be required to stay at a specific address, or they may be restricted from visiting certain areas or people.

  3. Curfew: The person may be required to remain at home during specific hours, usually during the night.

  4. Surrendering passport: The person may be required to surrender their passport or other travel documents to the court.

  5. Abstaining from drugs and alcohol: The person may be required to abstain from drugs and alcohol and submit to drug and alcohol testing.

  6. Compliance with any other specific conditions set by the court.

If a person fails to comply with the conditions of their bail, they may be arrested and returned to custody. It’s important to note that while on bail, a person is still required to attend court for all scheduled appearances, and failure to do so may result in the forfeiture of the bail money or bond and a warrant for their arrest.

What are some examples of bail conditions in VIC?

Bail conditions are rules and requirements that a person must comply with while they are released on bail. The specific conditions can vary depending on the nature and severity of the charges, the defendant’s criminal history, and other factors. Here are some examples of bail conditions that a court may impose:

  1. Reporting: The person may be required to report to a police station or bail supervisor on a regular basis, often once a week.

  2. Residential restrictions: The person may be required to live at a particular address or stay away from specific locations, such as the victim’s home or workplace.

  3. Curfew: The person may be required to remain at home during specific hours, usually during the night.

  4. Surrendering passport: The person may be required to surrender their passport or other travel documents to the court.

  5. Abstaining from drugs and alcohol: The person may be required to abstain from drugs and alcohol and submit to drug and alcohol testing.

  6. Electronic monitoring: The person may be required to wear an electronic monitoring device, such as an ankle bracelet, to ensure compliance with bail conditions.

  7. Non-association: The person may be prohibited from associating with certain individuals, such as co-accused or potential witnesses.

  8. Financial surety: The person or someone acting on their behalf may be required to provide a financial surety, such as a cash deposit or property, as security for the bail amount.

  9. Compliance with any other specific conditions set by the court.

It’s important to note that the specific conditions of bail can vary from case to case and may be tailored to the individual circumstances of each case.

What happens at a bail hearing in Victoria?

In Victoria, Australia, a bail hearing is a court hearing where a magistrate, judge, or bail justice considers whether to grant bail to a person who has been charged with a criminal offence. Here are the general steps of what happens at a bail hearing in Victoria:

  1. Charges and Bail application: The accused person appears before the court, and the charges are read out. The accused then makes a bail application, usually through their lawyer.

  2. Evidence and submissions: The prosecution presents evidence and makes submissions on why bail should be denied or granted with specific conditions. The defence may also present evidence and make submissions in favour of bail.

  3. Consideration of bail criteria: The court considers whether the accused person meets the legal criteria for bail, including whether they are likely to appear in court, whether they pose a risk to the community, and whether there is a risk they will interfere with witnesses or evidence.

  4. Bail conditions: If the court grants bail, it may impose conditions on the accused person’s release, such as reporting to police, surrendering their passport, abiding by a curfew, or not contacting certain individuals.

  5. Decision: The court will then make a decision on whether to grant bail or deny bail. If bail is denied, the accused person will be remanded in custody until their trial or other legal proceedings.

It’s important to note that the bail hearing process can be complex and challenging, especially for more serious offences. Seeking legal advice from a qualified criminal lawyer is highly recommended to help increase your chances of being granted bail.

What happens if you breach bail in Victoria?

If you have been released on bail in Victoria, Australia, and you breach one or more of your bail conditions, you may face serious consequences. Here’s what may happen if you breach bail in Victoria:

  1. Arrest: If you breach bail conditions, the police may arrest you and bring you before the court.

  2. New charges: Breaching bail conditions is a criminal offence and may result in new charges being laid against you.

  3. Revocation of bail: The court may revoke your bail and remand you in custody until your trial or other legal proceedings.

  4. Additional conditions: The court may impose additional or more onerous bail conditions if it considers that the original conditions were insufficient.

  5. Forfeiture of surety: If a surety has been provided, the court may order the forfeiture of the surety, which means that the person who provided it may lose their money or property.

  6. Further consequences: Breaching bail conditions may also have other consequences, such as affecting your credibility in court or having a negative impact on the outcome of your case.

It’s important to take bail conditions seriously and comply with them to avoid breaching bail and facing additional legal consequences. If you are unsure about your bail conditions or have concerns about compliance, you should seek legal advice from a qualified criminal defence lawyer.

Are you allowed to travel on bail?

Whether or not you can travel while on bail in Victoria, Australia, depends on the conditions of your bail. The court may impose restrictions on your travel as part of your bail conditions to ensure that you comply with your obligations while on bail. Here are some factors that may be considered:

  1. Nature of the charges: If the charges against you are serious, such as murder, terrorism or drug trafficking, the court may restrict your travel to prevent you from fleeing the jurisdiction.

  2. Flight risk: If the court considers you to be a flight risk, it may impose conditions that restrict your travel, such as surrendering your passport or reporting to the police at regular intervals.

  3. Risk to community: If the court considers that you may pose a risk to the community, it may impose travel restrictions to prevent you from being in certain areas or contacting certain individuals.

If your bail conditions allow you to travel, it’s important to ensure that you comply with all the conditions of your bail, including reporting your travel plans to the relevant authorities and notifying them of any changes to your itinerary. Failure to comply with your bail conditions may result in the revocation of your bail and a return to custody.

Can you change your address while on bail?

If one of your bail conditions is a “static address”, you’ll need to amend your bail conditions. We suggest you contact us for this.

How long does a bail application take?

The length of time it takes for a bail application to be heard and decided in Victoria, Australia, can vary depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the case, the court’s schedule, and the availability of the relevant parties.

Here are some general guidelines on the timeframes for bail applications in Victoria:

  1. In Custody Bail Application: If you are in custody, you are entitled to have a bail hearing as soon as practicable, which means usually within 48 hours. This timeframe may be extended if a weekend or public holiday falls within this period.

  2. Application outside of Custody: If you are not in custody, the bail application will generally take longer as you will need to schedule a hearing date with the court. The hearing date may be several weeks away, depending on the availability of the court and the parties involved.

  3. Serious charges: If the charges against you are serious, such as murder, terrorism or drug trafficking, the bail application may take longer to be heard as the court will need to consider the seriousness of the allegations and any potential risks to the community.

It’s important to note that each bail application is unique, and the length of time it takes for a bail application to be heard and decided can vary. Seeking legal advice from a qualified criminal defence lawyer can help you understand the bail application process and the likely timeframe for your particular case.

Do you get your bail money back?

In Victoria, Australia, whether or not you get your bail money back depends on the type of bail that was granted to you. Here’s how it works:

  1. Cash bail: If you paid cash bail, the money will be returned to you at the end of the court proceedings if you complied with all of your bail conditions. However, if you breached your bail conditions or failed to appear in court, your cash bail may be forfeited to the court, and you will not get the money back.

  2. Surety bail: If you provided a surety for bail, the surety may be entitled to get their money back if the court decides to release you from bail without any further conditions. However, if you breach your bail conditions or fail to appear in court, the surety may forfeit their money or property, and you will not be entitled to get it back.

It’s important to note that bail money may be held by the court until the conclusion of the legal proceedings, which means it may take some time to get the money back even if you complied with all of your bail conditions.

If you have any questions or concerns about getting your bail money back, you should seek legal advice from a qualified criminal defence lawyer.

Frequently Asked Questions

In Victoria, Australia, the length of time that a person can be remanded in custody will depend on the individual circumstances of the case and the nature of the offence.

If you have been charged with a summary offence (a less serious offence), you can be held in custody for up to 7 days, or up to 14 days with the approval of a court.

If you have been charged with an indictable offence (a more serious offence), you can be held in custody until your bail hearing or, if you are refused bail, until your trial or hearing. The length of time that you can be held in custody will depend on factors such as the complexity of the case, the availability of evidence, and the scheduling of court proceedings.

It’s important to note that being held in custody can have serious consequences for your personal and professional life, as well as your case. If you are remanded in custody, you may lose your job, housing, or other important aspects of your life. Therefore, it’s essential to seek legal advice as soon as possible and to work with your lawyer to explore your options for bail or other alternatives to custody.

In Victoria, Australia, a penalty unit is a fixed amount of money used to calculate fines for various offences, including those related to bail.

One penalty unit is currently $184.92, from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.

For example, if a person is granted bail on the condition that they pay a $5000 surety, and they later breach their bail conditions, they may be required to forfeit their surety and pay an additional amount based on the number of penalty units that apply to the offence they committed. The number of penalty units varies depending on the offence, and can range from a few units for minor offences to hundreds of units for more serious offences.

It’s important to note that penalty units can change over time, so it’s always best to check the current value of a penalty unit when calculating fines or penalties.

To get bail conditions lifted in Victoria, Australia, you will need to apply to the court that granted your bail for a variation of your bail conditions. 

Here are the steps you can take:

  1. Contact your lawyer: Speak to your lawyer about the reasons why you want your bail conditions lifted and whether your reasons are sufficient to warrant a variation of your bail conditions. Your lawyer will be able to provide you with guidance on the process and the likelihood of success.
  2. Gather evidence: If you want to vary your bail conditions because of a change in your circumstances, you should gather evidence to support your application. This might include medical reports, employment letters or any other relevant documents.
  3. File an application: Your lawyer can help you file an application with the court for a variation of your bail conditions. The application must state the reasons why you want your bail conditions lifted and provide supporting evidence.
  4. Attend court: You will need to attend court for a hearing to determine whether your bail conditions should be varied. The court will consider the reasons for the application and may hear from the prosecutor before deciding whether to grant the variation.

 

It’s important to note that getting your bail conditions lifted can be difficult, particularly if the court considers that there is a risk of you breaching your bail conditions or failing to appear in court. If you are granted a variation of your bail conditions, it’s important to comply with any new conditions imposed by the court to avoid having your bail revoked.

If you have been released on bail in Victoria, Australia, what happens next depends on your individual circumstances and the conditions of your bail. Here are some possible scenarios:

  1. Attending court: The primary obligation of a person who has been granted bail is to attend all court hearings as required. This includes attending all court hearings until the case is resolved.

  2. Compliance with bail conditions: You must comply with all conditions of your bail, such as reporting to the police at regular intervals, not contacting certain people, or staying away from certain places.

  3. Seeking legal advice: It’s important to seek legal advice as soon as possible after being released on bail to ensure that you understand your rights and obligations and to get guidance on how to navigate the legal process.

  4. Trial or hearing: If your case proceeds to trial or a hearing, you will need to prepare for this and attend all court hearings as required. Your lawyer will be able to provide you with guidance on how to prepare for a trial or hearing.

  5. Possible consequences: If you are found guilty of the charges against you, you may be sentenced to a range of penalties, such as a fine, community service, or imprisonment.

It’s important to note that breaching your bail conditions or failing to attend court can result in the revocation of your bail and a return to custody. It’s essential to comply with all conditions of your bail and attend all court hearings as required to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

If you are refused bail in Victoria, Australia, it means that you will not be released from custody until your matter is resolved. Here are some possible outcomes if you are refused bail:

  1. Remanded in custody: If you are refused bail, you will be remanded in custody until your matter is resolved. This means that you will be held in a correctional facility or a police station until your trial or hearing.

  2. Seeking a review: If you are refused bail by a magistrate, you may be able to seek a review of the decision in the Supreme Court of Victoria. You will need to apply to the court within 28 days of the decision and demonstrate that there is an arguable case that the decision was incorrect.

  3. Seeking a bail application: If your circumstances change, you may be able to make another bail application. However, you will need to provide new evidence or circumstances that were not considered in the previous bail application to be successful.

  4. Preparing for trial or hearing: If you are refused bail, you will need to prepare for your trial or hearing while in custody. This may involve seeking legal advice, gathering evidence, and preparing your case.

It’s important to note that being refused bail can have serious consequences for your case and your personal life. It’s essential to seek legal advice as soon as possible to understand your options and to get guidance on how to navigate the legal process.

No, Australia does not have bail agents or bail bondsmen. The bail system in Australia is different from the bail system in the United States, which uses bail bondsmen. In Australia, bail is typically granted by a court and is a promise to attend court and comply with bail conditions. There is no need for a third party, such as a bail agent or bail bondsman, to post a bond on behalf of the accused.

In Australia, if a person cannot afford to pay the amount of bail set by the court, they may be able to provide a surety. A surety is a person who agrees to pay the full amount of bail if the accused person fails to comply with their bail conditions. However, providing a surety is not the same as using a bail agent or bail bondsman, as the surety is not paid for their services and does not charge the accused person a fee.

The bail system in Australia may vary depending on the state or territory. However, there are no bail agents or bail bondsmen in any jurisdiction in Australia.

If you cannot afford bail in Victoria, Australia, there are several options available to you:

  1. Apply for bail: You may be able to apply for bail with the assistance of a lawyer or the duty lawyer at court. If you are unable to pay the amount of bail set by the court, you may be able to provide a surety or security for the bail amount.

  2. Apply for legal aid: If you are unable to afford legal representation, you may be able to apply for legal aid. Legal aid is a government-funded program that provides legal assistance to people who cannot afford to pay for legal services.

  3. Seek a bail variation: If you are unable to meet the conditions of your bail, you may be able to seek a bail variation. A bail variation allows you to apply to the court to change the conditions of your bail. This may include a variation of the bail amount or the conditions of your bail.

  4. Remanded in custody: If you are unable to meet the conditions of your bail and cannot provide a surety, you may be remanded in custody until your trial or hearing. This means that you will be held in a correctional facility or a police station until your matter is resolved.

It’s important to note that being unable to afford bail can have serious consequences for your case and your personal life. It’s essential to seek legal advice as soon as possible to understand your options and to get guidance on how to navigate the legal process.

The length of time that bail conditions last in Victoria, Australia, will depend on the specific conditions set by the court. Bail conditions may be set for a specified period or until the end of your court proceedings.

In general, bail conditions will last until the end of your court proceedings, including any appeals. This means that you will need to comply with the bail conditions until your matter is resolved.

However, bail conditions may be reviewed or varied during the course of your proceedings. You may be able to apply to the court to have your bail conditions changed or removed if your circumstances change or if there are other factors that warrant a review of your bail conditions.

It’s important to note that failure to comply with your bail conditions can result in a breach of bail and may have serious consequences, including having your bail revoked, being remanded in custody, or being charged with a criminal offence. Therefore, it’s important to understand your bail conditions and to comply with them until your matter is resolved.

A surety is a person who agrees to take responsibility for ensuring that a person who has been granted bail appears in court on the required date and complies with all the conditions of their bail. In Victoria, Australia, a surety is commonly required when the court considers that the risk of releasing a person on bail is high.

A surety is usually a trusted friend or family member of the person who has been granted bail. To provide surety, the person must sign a document known as a recognizance, which is a written promise to pay a certain amount of money to the court if the person who has been granted bail fails to comply with their bail conditions or fails to appear in court.

The amount of money that the surety must promise to pay can vary depending on the case and the circumstances of the person who has been granted bail. The surety must also provide evidence of their ability to pay the amount promised, which may involve providing financial documentation or other collateral.

It’s important to note that being a surety for someone who has been granted bail can be a serious responsibility, as the surety may be held liable for the full amount of the recognizance if the person fails to comply with their bail conditions or fails to appear in court. It’s important to carefully consider the risks and seek legal advice before agreeing to be a surety for someone who has been granted bail.

The cost of bail in Victoria, Australia can vary depending on the individual circumstances of the case. Bail amounts are set by the court and are based on factors such as the severity of the offence, the defendant’s criminal history, and the likelihood that the defendant will appear in court.

In Victoria, bail can be granted with or without conditions, and the amount of bail required can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

If you require specific information regarding the cost of bail for a particular case, it is recommended that you seek legal advice from a criminal lawyer.

Contact us here.

While it’s not strictly required to have a lawyer to get bail, having a lawyer to represent you can greatly increase your chances of being granted bail.

A lawyer can help you navigate the legal system, provide advice on your bail application, and present your case in the best possible light to the court. A lawyer can also help you prepare the necessary paperwork and make submissions to the court on your behalf.

In addition, a lawyer can assist you in understanding the bail conditions that may be imposed and help you comply with those conditions while you are on bail.

If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may be eligible for legal aid or pro bono legal services. It’s important to seek legal advice as soon as possible, as the bail process can be complex and time-sensitive.

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