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Your guide to being charged and bailed

The information on this page follows on from the information on our web page about your rights on arrest.

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At the conclusion of a police station interview following as arrest the interviewing officers need to decide whether or not the investigation is at an end. There are three possibilities:

  • the police may need to undertake further investigations to gather more evidence
  • they may decide that there is insufficient evidence to charge and release the detainee from the proceedings
  • they may decide to charge

The decision to charge was formerly with the custody sergeant; only in very limited circumstances will the police now make a decision on charge. The decision on whether to charge and which charge to bring will be made by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

If the police are not ready to charge then they must consider bail. The police can now impose conditions on bail, both bail back to the police station and to court.

Charged and bailed to court

The general rule, which follows on from the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” is that if charged you would be entitled to bail. If we represent you at the police station we will negotiate with the police/custody officer to grant you bail to the court date.
There are several reasons or grounds on which the police or a court could refuse bail. These are:

  • fear that witnesses or evidence would be interfered with
  • fear that if released you would not attend at court
  • fear that you would commit further offences
  • fear for your own protection
  • other reasons

We can make representations to the police that these fears can be dealt with by imposing certain conditions on your bail.

Bail back to police station

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The police can also impose conditions if you are bailed back to the police station while awaiting advice from the CPS. We can make representations to the police on the suitability of any proposed conditions and try to minimise any restrictions on you. We can also appeal decisions made on bail conditions by the police either to the police or to ask the court to review those conditions should the police refuse to alter them.

Unconditional bail

In many cases the police will be happy to grant unconditional bail. Whilst on unconditional bail to either re-attend the police station or to go to court, the only legal requirement is that you attend on the time and date you are bailed to. Should you fail to attend at that time and date then you commit a criminal offence for which you can be fined or imprisoned. If you have missed a bail date contact us and we can advise if the circumstances are such that there may be defence.

Follow this link to read information on being representation at court.

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Our lawyers offer legal advice and representation at court or the police station on a private or legal aid basis. Legal aid is available in some areas of law only. Please see our pages on legal aid for more advice. We offer a free initial consultation in some areas of law. Personal Injury compensation claims can be conducted on a 'no win no fee' basis.