Following an arrest and criminal charges, you may be released immediately, from the police station or following a court appearance.
If you are arrested without a warrant and the crime you are charged with is not murder or another very serious crime, the police will release you unless it is likely that:
If none of these apply the police must release you as soon as possible.
If you are arrested with a warrant and the crime you are charged with is not murder or a very serious offence, the police can also release you.
If the police decide to release you they will give you an Appearance Notice or ask you to sign an Undertaking. The police can also release you and later compel your appearance by serving a Summons on you. The Appearance Notice, or Undertaking will state what you have been charged with and include a date and time you must appear in court. In can include a date and time that you must appear for fingerprinting as well.
The Undertaking may contain conditions. Any conditions must be reasonable in the circumstances of the offence and be necessary to:
When the police impose conditions they need to use choose the least severe conditions needed for your case and consider how difficult it may be for you to comply with any conditions.
Conditions can include:
When making decisions about release the police must pay particular attention to the circumstances of an accused who is Indigenous or from a vulnerable population that is over-represented in the justice system.
If the police keep you in jail, you will get a bail hearing before a judge or a Justice of the Peace (JP). If a JP or judge is available the police must bring you before a one as soon as possible, and in any event, no later than 24 hours after your arrest. If a JP or judge is not available within 24 hours, the police must bring you before one “as soon as possible” (even if it is more than 24 hours later).
If you are being held by the police they can help you call what is called the Brydges Line. You will get legal advice over the phone. There is no cost for this service and it is available for anyone being held by the police.
More information about bail hearings is available here.
PLEA can provide you with information to help you understand many legal matters you, a family member or friend may be facing.