What is Bail?
You may have heard this word commonly used in relation to criminal offences. However, do you know what exactly is the definition of bail?
When is it granted? Who can issue it? What should you do if you happen to be a bailor?
First of all, it is important to note that failure to report to court or to the investigating officer may result in a Warrant of Arrest issued against a person on bail. The bail amount may also be forfeited and the bailor will have to show up in court too.
When is bail offered?
Bail may be offered by the police or any other law enforcement agencies. This is known as ‘police bail’ and it is usually offered after the initial arrest, but before the person is charged in court.
Here is what happens during an arrest.
After being charged in Court, the Court may offer a ‘court bail’, or extend the existing police bail until the next session of the case.
Bail is usually offered for most offences except those that are punishable with death, or life imprisonment.
At the State Courts, bail applications are processed by the Bail Centre at The Crime Registry located on the ground floor of the State Courts Building.
When a person is on bail, he or she will need to surrender his/her passport, and will not be allowed to leave the country unless they have obtained permission from the Court or the investigating officer. The bailor’s consent is required too.
How much will it usually be?
The amount, or quantum of bail to be offered will be determined by either the police or the Court. In Court, your lawyer, or even you may propose the bail amount while the other party may accept, or counter-propose a different amount. If both parties cannot reach a conclusion, the Court will hear arguments from both parties and make a decision on the amount.
This amount is determined by the seriousness of the offence; the character and financial means of the person; as well as a review of their past criminal record.
For non-serious offences, bail is usually less than S$15,000. If you are issued a court bail, you may appeal to the High Court to review the amount. For police bail, the decision is final.
What happens if you become a bailor?
The bailor’s main role is to ensure the person on bail surrenders to custody and is present for investigations and in Court. If at any point, you wish to withdraw as a bailor before the case has concluded, you will need to apply to either the police or the Court. If the case has already been mentioned in Court, the bailor will also need to appear in court to make an application to discharge himself/herself.
If the case runs smoothly, the bailor will be free from his or her duties once the case has concluded.
The case is concluded in one of these situations:
- The police, or law enforcement agency has decided not to proceed with prosecution after investigations have been completed.
- The Court has delivered the verdict. Regardless the decision, whether the person gets acquitted or convicted, the cash deposit or personal property used as bail will be returned to the bailor.
Our Criminal Lawyer, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu, has defended numerous clients over the years over a wide variety of offences. With vast experience in Singapore’s laws, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation and further advise you on the terms and conditions for bailors. For more information, or if you have been caught in a similar situation, feel free to contact us for a consultation.