All crimes and offences in Scotland are bailable, meaning the accused can be released from custody whilst awaiting trial. A bail undertaking is the agreement the accused makes to abide by the terms on which their bail is contingent.
If you have received a bail undertaking form, you should contact our Criminal Defence Solicitors immediately. Call The Robert Kerr Partnership 24/7 on 01418896458 or complete our online contact form and we will be in touch urgently.
What is a bail undertaking?
If you are charged with a criminal offence at the police station, the officer at the station must decide what to do with you. They have the below options:
- To release you from the police station. Where you are released from the police station but have been charged, the Procurator Fiscal will decide as to whether you should be prosecuted.
- To hold you in custody. You may be kept in custody overnight, or over the weekend depending on when you are arrested. You will be taken to court on the day the court is next open. You will be held in custody where the police officer believes the charges are sufficiently severe, or where they think you are unsafe to be released.
- To release you on a 'bail undertaking'. Where you have been released on a bail undertaking, you will have been required to sign a form stating that you will return to court on a specific date. There will be further conditions imposed on your bail. Some are general and apply to all bail undertakings - such as agreeing to be of good behaviour in the time between being released from custody and your court hearing - whilst some might be specific to you. Once you sign the form, you will be released ‘on bail’.
When is a bail undertaking used?
A bail undertaking is used where the police believe that the accused is of good character, will be of good behaviour in the lead up to their first court hearing (known as the pleading diet) and where it is sensible to bring the case quickly. This will generally be within a few weeks rather than months.
Grounds for granting and refusing a bail order
The officer who decides whether to issue a bail undertaking will take a variety of factors into consideration. Before granting bail, the officer will look at:
- the nature of the offence,
- the character and behaviour of the accused,
- whether the accused is likely to reoffend on bail,
- any previous convictions or breaches of bail undertaking, and
- whether there are any substantial risks that they will not appear in court on the specified date.
What happens between being released on a bail undertaking and my court hearing?
You may go about your normal life, but you must adhere to any conditions of the bail undertaking. You should aim to ensure that you are of good behaviour so as not to breach the terms of your bail undertaking, and make sure to attend your court hearing at the specified date and time. You should also seek proper legal advice concerning your defence.
What conditions could be placed on my bail?
A bail undertaking is an agreement where you abide by certain obligations in order for you to leave custody. By signing a bail form in Scotland, you agree to the following standard bail order conditions:
- to attend all court dates,
- to be available to answer all court enquiries and allow reports to be made,
- not to interfere with witnesses or cause them any distress or alarm,
- not to do anything that will obstruct the proper progress of your case,
- not to commit any further offences, and
- not attempt to gain a statement or precognition from the complainer.
At the discretion of the police, special conditions may also be imposed on your bail. These could include not to interact with a certain person, not to attend a particular address, or abide by a curfew.
What happens if I breach bail conditions?
Any breach of the conditions made without a reasonable excuse is almost certainly met with prosecution. You could face a maximum of twelve months in prison.
If you fail to appear at court, a warrant will usually be taken for your arrest. You could be imprisoned for up to 60 days if dealt with by a Justice of the Peace Court, or up to a year if dealt with by a Sheriff Court. You could alternatively, or additionally, receive a fine of £1,000.
I received a bail undertaking - What should I do?
If you have been released from a police station with a bail undertaking form, The Robert Kerr Partnership can help you. We will begin building a robust defence strategy for you as soon as you get in contact with us. We can also explain to you clearly and concisely what happens next. We understand that if you have received a bail undertaking, you may be unsure about what to do next, but we can advise you and will always act in your best interests. There is no time to delay, to discuss your specific circumstances with an experienced lawyer contact us today.
Contact our Criminal Defence Lawyers in Paisley & Greenock
We cover Glasgow, Greenock, Glasgow, Kilmacolm, Gourock, Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, Barrhead, Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire & every police station and court in Scotland.
Contact us as soon as you have been involved in an incident or approached by the police for free, initial legal advice 24 hours per day. Call us in Paisley on 0141 413 7823 or Greenock on 01475 291345, or fill out our online form and we will call you back shortly.