What information is required for the purposes of a bail application?
As with all criminal matters that go before the Courts, the facts of the matter are what is most important. As a prospective bail applicant, it is important that you are able to provide the right information, so that your chances of bail are the best that they can be. The question then is, what will actually assist your criminal defence lawyer to properly argue your case for bail?
When addressing the suitability of an applicant for bail, the Court’s task is focussed upon whether there are specific risks associated with an accused person if they are released on bail. Because of that, it is important that your instructions are capable of explaining why those risks are either not present, or alternatively, whether they can be sufficiently reduced so as to warrant a grant of bail.
When meeting with your criminal defence lawyer, it is helpful (and ordinarily essential) that you can give as much information as possible to assist with their argument. Such information necessarily includes a detailed background of your personal circumstances, including:
Whether your are currently employed or expecting to be employed in the future. If so, it is important to obtain documentation that can assist the Court to firmly accept that this is the case, such as a letter from your employer setting out the nature of the employment and the wage that your are ordinarily paid.
Whether your employment requires you to undergo drug or alcohol testing. This is often important in cases where the prosecution is concerned that there is a risk of further re-offending due to a perceived drug issue. If your employment requires you to undergo such testing, then it is again important that any letter from your employer includes that information.
Whether you have a family that is dependent upon you, or for that matter, whether you have any other dependents. A letter from any dependents or any independent person who can speak to the needs of those persons (for example, treating doctors often provide reports or letters to the Court setting out that a person is necessarily dependent upon another person by virtue of an illness). Likewise, if you have a business that requires the continued employment of people, then that needs to be clearly explained and documents provided that can speak to those facts. This type of information may be important for the purposes of explaining that an applicant would have strong motivations not to re-offend or breach their bail conditions.
If you are able to obtain a surety (essentially a cash or non-cash guarantee that someone is able to put forward on your behalf for the purposes of your bail), then it is important that you are able to confirm the maximum surety that can be raised on your behalf. Again, this is important because a surety may give the Court confidence that a person is unlikely to re-offend or breach their bail conditions.
It is also important to explain what your accommodation situation is. For example, do you live with family or in a share house. Are you anticipating moving into an alternative and more favourable environment. Information relating to a potential place of abode is important because it may give confidence to the Court that, in the right environment, a person is less likely to pose a risk of re-offending.
These are some of the important personal matters that will assist your criminal defence lawyer to understand what issues are important for the purposes of your bail application. As with all applications, the allegations against you will also be important and so it is important that you are able to work with your criminal defence lawyer to explain any matters that might be relevant to demonstrating that the case against you is not strong or perhaps even weak. Again, this is important because the fact that a case is not strong or is weak will often be an important factor in determining whether a grant of bail is appropriate.
Schedule 2 offences (for example, possession with intent to sell or supply)
If you have been charged with what is often called a “Schedule 2” offence, such that you are required to demonstrate exceptional circumstances before the Court may consider the bail application, then it is the case that detailed information will need to be provided to meet that requirement. A common scenario is where a person has been charged with drugs offences, for example, possession of a prohibited drug with intent to sell or supply after having already been charged and granted bail with that type of offence. In that situation, a prospective applicant will be required, by virtue of the Bail Act 1982 (WA) to demonstrate exceptional circumstances before the ordinary considerations under the Bail Act can be considered. Quite often, there will be an overlap between that information and the information referred to above and it is important that you speak to your criminal defence lawyer about your situation in detail instead of rushing into a bail application without having properly prepared.
If you or a family member have recently been charged or expect to be charged with criminal offences and expect to be required to make an application for bail, then it is important that you seek urgent advice from a Perth criminal defence lawyer that can obtain your detailed instructions, advise you and properly represent you at the bail hearing. Should you wish to make an urgent enquiry, relating to bail, feel free to contact me on 0431 454 908 or alternatively, use the form below and I will get back to you within the hour.