The CDLA team of experienced bail application lawyers Sydney based are an award winning, respected criminal law firm specialising in all serious crime and bail applications for over 2 decades across all court.
Our focus and specialty is on maximising you or your loved one’s chances at successfully getting bail in the Local or Supreme Court.
The law provides one chance at making a bail application in Court.
To ensure that first time is done properly, and for the best chances at successfully getting bail, it’s important to have experienced bail application lawyers by your side, working around the clock to prepare and powerfully present in court.
Our leading bail application lawyers appear across all courts and have achieved outstanding results for over two decades. This includes:
- Successfully getting bail granted for countless of our clients across all serious criminal charges.
- Successfully getting serious criminal charges withdrawn early.
- Securing ‘Not Guilty’ verdicts in serious criminal trials.
- Avoiding full-time imprisonment sentences for serious criminal charges.
Our team are available 24/7 for urgent advice and legal representation, and we have 8 conveniently located offices close to the criminal law courts in each area.
Our bail application lawyers in Sydney specialise in all serious crime charges, including:
- Sexual Assault
- Murder & Manslaughter
- Commercial Drug Importation and Drug Supply
- Complex Fraud Charges and Corporate Crime
- All Assault and Domestic Violence Charges
To find out the chances of getting bail for you or your loved one, call our 24hr hotline.
We offer fixed fee bail application and weekend bail application representation (Parramatta weekend bail court). This includes applying for supreme court bail with a free first consultation.
Applying for Bail – Supreme Court Bail Application
The Supreme Court is the state’s highest court.
You will only get one opportunity to make a supreme court bail application, so it’s critical that it be done carefully and properly by an experienced lawyer who specialises in bail applications.
There are stricter and different procedures that must be followed when making a supreme court bail application in NSW.
Firstly, during a Supreme Court bail application hearing, a Supreme Court Justice/Judge will hear the bail application afresh.
In fact, the Judge will have already carefully read all the material and arguments for the accused person before the hearing day- this is so that the court spends less time in court so that it can get through all the matters for the day efficiently.
The accused person must complete and lodge the following documents before making a Supreme Court bail application, otherwise the bail application will not be listed:
- Supreme Court bail form
- Written submissions and proposed bail conditions (arguments and conditions if released on bail for the accused person)
- All supporting evidence, including affidavit, reports, character reference letters
- Consent letter from surety who is willing to put up a bail bond or security as a bail condition
For the next step, before a Supreme Court bail application can be made, a copy of all of the above material must be served by the accused person (or his/her lawyer) to the Prosecution.
A copy of the same material should also be served beforehand to the surety who has agreed to put up a sum of money as a bai bond.
If all the above have been complied with, the Supreme Court will first list the bail application for a first date called a call over.
During the call-over date, if the court is satisfied that all of the above requirements have been complied with, the bail application will be adjourned for a hearing to another court date in the Supreme Court.
On the Supreme Court hearing date, the Judge will hear arguments from both sides before determining whether or not to grant bail.
In order to grant bail, the Supreme Court Judge must be satisfied with both tests- show cause test and unacceptable risk test.
The accused person will appear via screen, audio visual link (AVL) during the entire hearing of the bail application.
You cannot make a second Supreme Court bail application unless the criteria in section 74 Bail Act 2013 have been satisfied, including a change of material circumstances since the first refused bail application.
Supreme Court Bail Application Form
The Supreme Court bail application form can be obtained from the Supreme Court website and is basically a written bail application.
The Form has 3 Parts to it that must be completed properly. If the form is submitted without being fully completed, properly, the Court will reject the application until it’s done properly which can cause delay.
Part 1 of the form has 6 sections to it labelled A, B, C, D, E, and F.
Part 1(A) requires you to complete the party details, full name, date of birth, MIN number of accused person in custody and name of jail.
Part 1(B) requires court case details to be completed, including which court, case number, date of the next court date and what it’s listed for, details of the charge(s). If unsure of the charge details, you can contact the Court Services Centre on 1300 679 272 who can assist.
Part 1(C) requires the lawyers details to be completed. This includes whether the accused person is represented by a lawyer or representing him/herself, and name and contact details of the lawyer.
Part 1(D) only requires completing if the application is a bail variation where the accused person wishes to change the bail conditions.
Part 1(E) is only required to be completed if an interpreter is required, if so you may write down the language, and whether a juvenile justice report is required.
Part 1(F) requires all the proposed bail conditions to be outlined for the Supreme Court to consider in the application. This includes the address of where the accused person will live, the person who’s agreed to act as surety to offer a bail bond. The Supreme Court Bail Application Form has a section at the end for you to include these details in.
Part 2 is a checklist that the accused person’s lawyer is to complete. The checklist asks if the following have been completed as part of the Supreme Court Bail Application Form:
- Proposed bail conditions.
- All written submissions/arguments that is going to be relied upon in court in support of the bail application.
- Any affidavit(s), report(s) and character references in support intended to be used for the bail application. You may also include the Local Court bail application transcript, which can greatly assist the Supreme Court.
- Letter of consent from surety who has agreed to put up money or security as a bail bond in support of the bail application. This includes consent letter from anyone who’s agreed to allow the accused person to reside with him/her.
- If this is a second Supreme Court bail application, then written submissions must be attached to give reasons why you believe the bail application can be heard again under section 74 Bail Act 2013.
Part 3 requires the lawyer for the accused person to complete the checklist by confirming if the following have been done:
- To serve a copy of the completed bail application form together with all supporting documents to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or postal: Locked Bag A8, Sydney South NSW 1232, or if it’s the Commonwealth DPP, E: email@example.com or postal: Locked Bag A4020, Sydney South NSW 1235.
- Serve a copy of the same to the surety and any person who’s agreed to allow the accused person to reside with him/her.
At the end of the form, a signature and date is required before lodging the entire bail form with the Supreme Court Registry, either by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or postal: GPO Box 3, Sydney NSW 2001.
The Supreme Court bail application can be withdrawn at any stage by notifying the court before the hearing day. If you wish to withdraw it on the day of hearing, you must appear in court on the day to withdraw the application.
Applying for Bail – Local Court Bail Application
The Local Court bail application requires certain procedures to be followed beforehand.
You can make a local court bail application only once. So, it’s important to do it properly.
Before making a local court bail application in court, the accused person must lodge a bail application form with the local court registry. This form can be found on the Local Court website.
After completing and lodging the local court bail form with the local court registry where the bail application is to be heard, a copy of this needs to also be served to the prosecution/police officer.
Once done, the local court registry will provide a date for the bail application hearing to be listed on.
During the local court bail application hearing, the accused person will either appear in person at court or on the AVL screen.
It is a good idea to have proposed bail conditions written up to hand to the Magistrate in court at the beginning of the bail application.
It’s important to have the defence documents ready to hand to the Magistrate to read at the start of the bail application. This includes affidavits, letters from surety, letter of consent from person who has agreed to allow the accused person to reside with him/her, and any other necessary materials in support of the bail application to strengthen it.
The prosecution will hand up the set of police facts outlining the allegations to the Magistrate to read.
The Magistrate in court will then hear evidence and arguments (submissions) from both sides before deciding on whether or not to grant bail.
During arguments, the defence should make strong points, including the weaknesses of the police evidence, and any strong community ties the accused person has.
In determining bail, the Magistrate will only be able to grant bail if the ‘show cause’ test and ‘unacceptable risk’ test have been satisfied in favour of the accused person.
Local Court Bail Application Form
The Local Court Bail Application Form can be obtained from the Local Court website.
The form is a simple form that requires filling out the following details before lodging it with the Local Court Registry:
- Name of accused person
- Accused person’s address
- Jail the accused person is in
- Details of charge(s)
- The Local or District Court and proposed date that you wish to have the bail application heard on.
- The date of the next court date that the case is listed on and which court.
After completing the above details in the form, the form must be signed and dated by the accused person or his/her lawyer before lodging it with the Local Court Registry, which can be done either by email or in person.
Parramatta Bail Court
Our experienced bail lawyers are available 24/7 for urgent advice and attendance in court on weekend for weekend bail applications.
Having achieved exceptional results in getting bail for some of Australia’s most serious cases, including murder, sexual assault, commercial drug supply and importations charges, our leading criminal lawyers work around the clock at ensuring that a bail application is prepared and presented in court the way it should be, to maximise the chances of getting bail, even on a weekend.
The Parramatta bail court is situated on 2 George St, Parramatta NSW. It sits on weekends for those who have been arrested by police the night before or on the weekend to hear urgent bail applications.
To ensure the best possible chances at successfully getting weekend bail for your loved one, contact our 24-hour hotline on (02) 8606 2218 to talk to one of our experienced bail lawyers now.
With over two decades of success in getting bail, our bail lawyers are able to immediately begin work in preparing a strong bail application even on a weekend. We offer a free first consultation and fixed fees for bail applications.
Bail Application Example
Our client was charged and arrested with attempted murder.
His family had tried contacting a handful of lawyers from googling the internet but none were being responsive enough to pick up the phone or maintain communication.
The family wanted to speak to an experienced bail lawyer who was able to at least outline a clear strategy (or action plan) on how to go about approaching the bail application- to maximise the chances at getting bail.
The family eventually contacted Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia and were immediately put through to a specialist criminal and bail application lawyer for urgent advice.
We spoke to the family over the phone and then in person the same day.
Our team were able to provide a clear outline as to the approach we would take on how to go about increasing the chances of convincing the court to grant bail.
Our bail lawyers managed to quickly obtain all relevant charge papers and evidence from police, to read and begin preparation.
We immediately began preparing statements and affidavits, in addition to character letters to strengthen the bail application.
Our specialist bail lawyer quickly arranged and conducted a consultation with our client who was on remand in custody at the Long Bay Correctional Centre. It was important for us to ensure that our client was aware that our team were working around the clock at preparing his bail application to give it the best chance possible.
The matter was urgently listed for a Supreme Court bail application where our team of barrister and lawyers appeared, and gave forceful submissions with powerful documents to convince the Judge to grant bail.
The surety was in court, as was the person we proposed that our client would reside with. Their letters of consent were also provided to the court in support of strengthening our application.
After the prosecution strongly opposed bail, the Court eventually agreed to grant our client bail on strict bail conditions at least until the trial.
Our client was immediately released on bail after spending a few weeks in custody.
This was an important win as it allowed our client to be in the comfort of and surrounded by family, and the ability to better prepare his case with our team of lawyers.
Pointing out some of the flaws in the police evidence, together with solid preparation and persuasive arguments in court eventually got us over the line for the court release our client on bail despite the serious nature of the charges.
How Do I Write a Bail Application? Bail Application Submission Example NSW
“Outline of Bail Submissions for Applicant’s Release Application
Case Number: [insert case number]
R v [insert name]
Show Cause Test
It is submitted that the applicants continued detention is not justified for the following reasons:
- You may outline the following reasons where applicable [you may expand on these]:
- Seriousness of the charge(s), strength or weaknesses of the police evidence, duration of period he/she will likely remain in custody on remand if refused bail before it reaches trial or sentence.
- Need to be free to prepare the case
- Absence of prior offences or breaches of bail
- Absence of any criminal associations
- Likelihood of a jail sentence if ever convicted of the charge(s)
- Whether the there is a viable defence capable of resulting in a ‘not guilty’ verdict in trial
- Any vulnerabilities of the applicant in jail due to his mental or physical health
- Whether given the proposed residential and bail conditions, realistic concerns for the alleged victim’s safety, interferences with witnesses or evidence.
- All proposed bail conditions
Unacceptable Risk Test
It is submitted, that there is ultimately no ‘unacceptable risk’ due to the bail concerns being sufficiently mitigated by the imposition of our proposed bail conditions and an assessment of the bail concerns outlined in the ‘show cause’ test. (Here you may highlight some of the main reasons outlined in the show cause test).
We acknowledge that the bail concerns are:
- Failure to appear
- Concern of committing a serious offence
- Concern of interfering or endangering the alleged victim, witnesses and evidence
There is no evidence to suggest the applicant will fail to appear or commit a serious offence. [This can be more expanded depending on the evidence and case].
Nor is there any evidence that the applicant will interfere with or endanger the alleged victim, witnesses or evidence in the proceedings. [This can be more expanded depending on the evidence and case].”
Note: the proposed bail conditions will be on a separate document which should be clearly outlined. Each bail condition proposed should serve a purpose to address one or more bail concerns.
For example, a surety willing to deposit a sum of money or security with the court if bail were to be granted is capable of addressing the bail concern of a failure to appear. The more money that gets put up as a bail bond, the less concerned the court is likely to be as to the concern of a failure to appear if granted bail.
Another bail condition that can be proposed to address the concern of committing a serious offence is daily reporting and residential condition with curfews.
How Long Does it Take to Change Bail Conditions?
It does not take long to change bail conditions.
It can take within a day or two to change it, subject to the court’s and prosecution’s availability to have enough time to also be prepared.
Section 51 Bail Act 2013 (NSW) allows the court to change bail conditions. Changing bail conditions includes deleting bail some or all the bail conditions.
To make an effective application to change bail conditions, the following procedures must be followed first:
- Lodge an ‘application to vary bail’ form with the Local Court registry, with the conditions you wish to have changed.
- Provide a copy of this to the prosecution (i.e. via email). This allows the prosecution to consider consenting to your variation.
- Wait for the court to reply with a list date to have the application heard in court.
- Attend court on the allocated date to have the application heard in-front of a Judge or Magistrate who will ultimately decide whether or not to grant the variation.
Appeals Bail NSW
It’s important to get bail after a court sentences you for a serious criminal charge if you’re appealing it.
If a person is found guilty by a court, the Judge or Magistrate will proceed to sentence by imposing a penalty. If that penalty ends up being an imprisonment sentence, then any existing bail ceases to have effect.
The if the person wants to appeal the conviction or sentence (or both), he/she must first lodge the appeal before being able to apply to the same court for appeals bail pending the appeal.
If appeals bail is granted, then the person will be released with or without bail conditions at least until the appeal is finalised in court.
If appeals bail is refused, then the person will remain in custody to serve the sentence while the appeal proceedings continue at least until it is finalised in court.
Section 8 Bail Act 2013 (NSW) allows a person to make an appeals bail application.
There will be higher chances of getting appeals bail if the Judge can be convinced that the appeal has a reasonably arguable prospect of success.
In addition, a person is more likely to succeed in getting appeal bail if there’s a real likelihood that he/she could serve a significant proportion of the sentence before the appeal gets heard (DPP (Cth) v Cassaniti  NSWSC 1103).
How Long Does a Bail Application Take?
The period of time a bail application takes in court depends on the case, it’s evidence, the complexity of the case and whether it is a local court bail application or a supreme court bail application.
A bail application can take anywhere from 5 minutes to an entire day in court. In more rare cases, it can take more than a day where the Judge or Magistrate may adjourn the proceedings to the next day to more carefully consider it.
Generally speaking, a local court bail application tends to take approximately 20-30 minutes, which typically includes court time spent on for the Judge to read the police set of facts, affidavit(s), reports, and to hear arguments (submissions) from both sides, namely, defence and prosecution.
A supreme court bail application typically tends to take a shorter period of time in court.
This is because, time spent on reading all the materials, written submissions, proposed conditions, affidavits, police facts sheet, reports etc is normally read by the Judge before the day of the bail application is heard in court.
The court then normally spends time hearing both sides of the argument which normally takes about 10-20 minutes.
Some Supreme Court bail applications can take an entire day if it’s a complex bail application.
What is a Call-Over Bail?
A call over bail is when the court lists the bail application in court to ensure each parties are ready with the bail application, all documents have been served, and for an estimation of how long the bail application will go for before adjourning the bail application for a bail hearing on another day in court.
How Do I Get Bail NSW?
Whether it’s a Supreme Court bail application or local court bail application in NSW, bail can be successfully achieved if the court is convinced that the following two tests have been met:
- That continued detention is not justified (‘show cause’ test).
- There is no unacceptable risk after having assessed the bail concerns in the case (‘unacceptable risk’ test).
The show cause test is only required to be considered by the court if the charge is a show cause offence as outlined earlier. If it isn’t the court will go straight to considering the unacceptable risk test.
The unacceptable risk test requires the court to assess the bail concerns of the accused person failing to attend court, committing a serious offence, interfere and endanger the alleged victim, witnesses and evidence in the police case.
To assess these bail concerns, the court will consider the holes in the police evidence, period of time the case will likely take to complete, proposed bail conditions including surety and how much is able to be deposited as security for bail, health or other need to be free.
Bail will be granted by the court if the court accepts that after assessing those bail concerns, the bail concerns can be adequately mitigated by sufficient bail conditions, leading to a conclusion that there is no unacceptable risk.
It’s important to prepare strong supporting evidence for the court to consider in increasing the chances of getting bail. These supporting documents includes, affidavits regarding character, affidavit regarding surety, affidavit regarding residential condition, any medical reports, and an outline of proposed bail conditions.
How Do You Know if Someone Has Bail?
When a person is out on bail pending criminal charges, he/she will be given a bail acknowledgment document which outlines the bail conditions and next court date. Before the accused person can be released on bail (after the court grants bail), the accused person is required to sign and date that bail acknowledgment document.
Each time the accused person then appears in court, the court will normally make an order formally continuing his/her bail, at least until the next court date.
Sometimes, the court will excuse the accused person from attending court for a mention or call over date if he/she is legally represented on that occasion. In that case, the court will normally continue bail in that person’s absence, provided the defence lawyer appears.
If the court refused bail, then the police will be given a warrant for his/her arrest to be taken into custody to be brought before the court as soon as possible to re-determine bail.
How Long Does it Take a Case to Go to Court?
Each case is different with its own complexities and charges which can impact on the length of time it takes for it to go to final court date, including trial, sentence or defended hearing.
Generally, if pleading ‘guilty’ to a criminal charge in court, the court will either proceed to sentence on the first court date or adjourn it to another court date for sentence.
The case will then be finalised on the sentence date.
The first court date can be anytime from one week to 2 months from the time you’re arrested and charged by police.
If the case is to be adjourned to a second court date for sentence after pleading guilty, the second court date for sentence can be anytime from one day to within two months away, depending on the reason it’s adjourned.
Generally, if pleading ‘not guilty’ to a criminal charge in court, the court will adjourn the case for about 6-8 weeks for a mention for the police to serve all their evidence to the defence.
If police have served all their evidence by the second court date, the court will adjourn the case for about 1 to 5 months away to a third court date for a defended hearing.
The period of time it’s adjourned will depend on how long the hearing will likely take and the courts’ availability.
If the charge is a domestic violence related charge, then a plea of ‘not guilty’ in court will result in the case being adjourned for about 1 to 5 months for a defended hearing without a mention date in between.
If the charge is an ‘indictable offence’ (i.e. sexual assault, commercial drug supply), the case will take longer.
For an indictable offence, after a person is arrested and charged, the first court date will generally be between 1 week to 1 month away.
However, on the first court date the case will be adjourned for at least 8-weeks to a second court date to allow police to serve their evidence to the defence.
On the second court date, called a mention, if all evidence is served by police, the court will be adjourned for a further 6 weeks for ‘charge certificate’ to a third court date. This is to allow the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to review the evidence to make sure that the prosecution evidence reflect the charge(s) according to the police. This is so that any errors are picked up early by the prosecution rather than later, which would ordinarily cause further unnecessary delay in the case.
On the third court date for charge certificate, if the charge(s) are certified by the DPP, the case will be adjourned for a further 8-weeks for ‘case conference’ to a fourth court date. This is to allow the prosecution and defence to negotiate for charges to with withdrawn, downgraded or changed.
On the fourth court date, a plea of ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ must be entered, unless the charges are all withdrawn.
If a plea of ‘guilty’ is entered at this stage, the case will be adjourned for about 1 to 3 weeks to a higher court, District Court for mention (committal for sentence). On the first District Court mention date, the court will adjourn the case to another court date for sentence (Which could be anywhere between 1 – 6 months away).
If a plea of ‘not guilty’ is entered at this stage, the case will be adjourned to the District Court for about 1 to 3 weeks for mention to be committed for trial). On the first District Court date, the court will adjourn the case to another court date for trial (which will likely be about 6 months to 1 year away, depending on the availability of the District Court.
This is outlined in the Local Court Practice Note issued by the Chief Magistrate.
Can you bail someone out online?
A person cannot be bailed online.
The preliminary work for a bail application can be done online. This includes lodging the bail application form, and serving all bail application material in support, to the court and the prosecution side, in order to have the matter listed in court for a bail application hearing.
But the bail application hearing must be heard in court, and in the presence of the accused person (by Audio Visual Link or in-person).
How long does jail processing take?
When a person goes into custody, it will usually be either directly after police arrest and charge a person if refused bail, or it will be after the court refuses bail or imposes a full-time imprisonment sentence.
When going into custody for the first time, the person will be processed by corrective officers and allocated a ‘MIN’ number (Master Index Number).
The MIN is a 6-digit number given to every person as an identification in the NSW correctional system.
The person will usually first go to the MRRC Silverwater jail (there is one for men and one for women).
Once at the MRRC jail, the person will go through a reception process, which includes the following:
- Strip search
- All private property is to be handed over to be stored away for the duration of his/her custody
- Shower and clothing, bedding and toiletries
- An immediate risk or suicide assessment
- Health assessment (mental and physical health)
Before the reception process begins, the prisoner will be shown a video of the reception process, and details about life in prison, services offered, access to phones and visits, and health and safety information.
The prisoner may end up either staying at the same jail or be moved to another one where a bed is available.
This process can take 1 to 2 days. Sometimes more.
How long can you sit in jail without a set court date?
After an accused person is arrested, charged and remanded in custody, the case proceedings can take anywhere between a month to two years to reach the final court date for trial and/or sentence.
This will ultimately depend on many factors, including successfully getting charges dropped early through negotiations, seriousness of the charge(s), and the complexities of the evidence in the case, as well as the courts’ availabilities.
For this reason, it becomes understandably important to try your best at getting bail as early as possible.
How long is a trial?
It can take up to two years from the time of being charged to the first trial date in court for criminal proceedings in the District or Supreme Court.
Once the case reaches the trial date in court, the trial can take anywhere from 1 day to 3 months, depending on the type of criminal charge(s) and complexity of the evidence involved and number of witnesses.
For example, typically, sexual assault trials go for, between 1 week to 2 weeks.
Trials involving fraud charges can take up to 3 months.
Do you go to jail immediately after court?
When a Judge or Magistrate imposes a sentence of full-time imprisonment, the person being sentenced will be immediately taken into custody by the corrective services officers in court.
The sentenced person will usually be surrounded by the corrective services officers during the end of the Judges sentencing remarks in court.
At the same time, there will also be another corrective services officer guarding the exit of the court room door to prevent any possible escape.
At the end of the Judges’ sentencing remarks in court, once the sentence is completed, the corrective services officers will handcuff the sentenced person before escorting him/her through the door leading to the court cells, usually downstairs. This door is located inside the same court room the sentence occurs.
There will usually be a very brief moment for the sentenced person to say goodbye to any family or friends in the court room gallery at the conclusion of the Judges sentence. The corrective services officers usually allow this, but don’t have to.
How do you impress a Judge in court?
If you enter a court room while the Judge is seated you should be aware of the following court room etiquette:
- Bow towards the Judge as you enter the court room
- Stand up if your matter is called in court, and approach the bar table on the side where there will usually be a microphone (if you’re self-representing). If you’re lawyer is appearing then you simply stand when your lawyer calls out your name when he/she indicates for you to stand, so that the Judge is aware of your presence in court. You may sit back down afterwards.
- When speaking to the Judge, only speak to the Judge if you’re asked a question. When asked a question, only answer the question and do not go on about the case. Answer the question in as little word as possible, but be clear. Look at the Judge when speaking to him/her.
- When addressing the Judge, always talk to the Judge by addressing him/her as “your honour”.
- When exiting the court room door, while the Judge is seated in court, always turn towards the Judge and bow before exiting the court room.
- If representing yourself in court, at the end of your case, do not just walk away. Before walking away, always ask the Judge, “may I be excused your honour?”. If you’re represented by a lawyer, you do not need to say this, your lawyer will say it.
- What to wear? It is good practice to appear presentable. Wear what you would normally wear to a corporate job, such as a suit or something smart casual. Do not wear a hat or sunglasses inside the court room (prescription glasses are allowed). Be well groomed.
- Do not text or take phone calls inside the court room. This can result in heavy penalties.
- Do not record (audio and/or visual) inside the court room. This is a crime that attracts heavy penalties.
- Put your phone either on silent or off. It does not build a good first impression if your phone rings inside the court room, before or during your case is being heard.
- Do not eat or drink inside the court room. The court provides water and glasses inside.
- Be well prepared!
- Do not talk over the Judge.
Will I go to jail on my first court date?
You will normally not go to jail on the first court date. Most people do not go to jail on the first court date.
Usually, the only time a person will go to jail on their first court date is if he/she has been recently arrested, charged and immediately taken to court the same day where bail ends up being refused by the Judge or Magistrate.
Normally, when a person gets charged and granted bail (by police or court), he/she will be required to attend court on the next occasion.
For serious criminal charges (where bail has been granted), the accused person’s next court date will usually be a mention when the Judge or Magistrate in court will issue orders for police to comply with before adjourning the case further and continuing bail.
The case on that occasion will usually be adjourned for police to serve all their evidence before the next time the case is listed.
It’s highly recommended to have a lawyer representing you in court to ensure it all goes smoothly in court, to be able to address any questions the Judge may ask, and to ensure all necessary paperwork are obtained from the prosecution at the bar table in court.
An experienced criminal lawyer will be familiar with the court processes, procedures, law and the Judges and Magistrates in court.
What should you not say in court?
The following is a guide on what to/not to say in court:
- Avoid addressing the Judge as “You” or by the name. Always address the Judge or Magistrate as “Your Honour”.
- Avoid discussing your case with the Judge. Only answer the question asked by the Judge. The court’s do not like having their time wasted. Only speak when asked to respond by the Judge i.e. if you’re directly asked a question.
- Do not talk while the Judge or Magistrate is talking in court.
- Be polite and respectful, using respectful and polite words.
- Do not shout, but do not talk too softly that it becomes difficult for the Judge to hear.
- Do not be rude or make sarcastic comments to the Judge.
What is the best colour to wear to court?
As a general rule of thumb, it’s advisable to wear clothes one would wear going to a corporate job or smart casual.
It’s best to avoid fluoro colours. But other than that, you may wear any coloured clothing.
Avoid wearing ripped jeans or thongs/singlets.
How do you win a court case?
There are no short cuts.
A court case is won by hard work, commitments and dedication.
The right kind of legal team is required for winning court cases. It’s important to select an experienced criminal lawyer with a track record of winning court cases, who specialises only in criminal law. Experience counts.
In order to win court cases, other than experience and hard work, it’s equally important for a criminal lawyer to be a very good communicator and negotiator.
The right lawyer and legal team will be able to quickly and regularly keep you updated and involved in the case at every step of the way. To pick up your calls day or night, and conduct as many consultations as necessary to get the job done with the sole purpose of winning.
It’s critical for a lawyer to be able to identify all holes in the police evidence, and to explain those deficiencies to the client in an easy to understand way- on how it can affect the case.
To win a case, your legal team needs to be able to come up with a solid strategy on how to move forward and approach the case from beginning to end.
What happens in a court trial?
The following diagram outlines what actually happens in a Court trial in NSW.
Note, if the jury cannot all come to the same verdict, it’s called a hung jury. The prosecution can then run re-run the trial with a new jury (they don’t always do this).
What is Bail?
This is when you are allowed to be released from custody, and are allowed out into the community, usually with conditions until the end of your court matter.
How Do I Get Bail?
The court will grant bail if it’s satisfied with the following 2 tests:
1) Show cause test: Here you are required to show cause why it’s not justified to keep you in prison. Your specialist bail lawyer should present your bail hearing in the most favourable and persuasive way for you. This includes telling the court about the weakness of the police evidence against you, how long you will be in prison for if not given bail until the end of your court case, and any further needs you have in order to be free to prepare your case which can include the need to attend a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program as an inpatient to address drug or alcohol problems.
This test only applies for a select few offences called show cause offences listed in section 16B of the Bail Act. If your offence is not a show cause offence, then you do not need to satisfy this test, instead you can go straight to the second test.
2) Unacceptable risk test: Here a specialist bail lawyer should persuasively and succinctly, with strong reasons convince the court that the following risks that the court has can be adequately addressed by imposing appropriate conditions:
a) You failing to appear in court
b) You committing a serious offence
c) You Endangering safety of victims, or community
d) You Interfering with witnesses or evidence
To convince the court that the above risks can be adequately addressed, an expert bail lawyer will talk to the court about the following factors that the court will look at to assess whether bail should be granted:
a) Your current or upcoming job; close relationship with family or partner; criminal history, background
a) Strength or weakness of police case
b) Seriousness and nature of offence
c) History of violence
d) Whether you have previously committed a serious offence while on bail
e) Whether you have previously breached any past bail conditions, AVO’s, parole of good behaviour bonds
f) Length of time you will likely spend in prison if bail not granted
g) Likelihood of going to prison if you end up being found guilty or plead guilty
h) Your criminal associations
i) Any special vulnerability such as medical condition
j) Your need to be free to prepare for your case and obtain legal advice
k) Any other need for you to be free for a lawful reason
l) Your conduct to victim or family member after the offence
m) Safety of the alleged victims and community if released
o) Any bail conditions that court can impose to address any of the above concerns in accordance with section 20A of the Bail Act.
After assessing the risks and bail conditions that can be imposed to address those risks, the court will make one of the following decisions:
1) If the Court finds there to be no “unacceptable risk”, especially where appropriate bail conditions can be imposed to address those bail concerns noted above, the court will:
a) Grant bail with or without bail conditions, or
b) release you without bail, or
c) dispense with bail
2) If it considers there to be an “unacceptable risk”, the court will refuse bail.
3) For certain offences, the court is not allowed to refuse you bail. These offences are considered to have a “right to release” when the court must release you.
What Offences Have A "Right To Release"?
The court must grant you bail if charged with the following offences, known as the right to release offences:
1) A fine only offence- These are offences that do not carry a punishment of imprisonment.
2) An offence under the Summary Offences Act 1988, other than an excluded offence.
a) An excluded offence include the following:
i) Offence of obscene exposure if you have previously been convicted for that offence.
ii) An offence of violent disorder if you have previously been convicted for that offence or of a personal violence offence
iii) An offence relating to knives and offensive implements if you have previously been convicted for those offences or of a personal violence offence.
iv) An offence of custody or use of laser pointer in public place.
v) An offence of loitering if you are a convicted child sexual offender near premises frequented by children.
3) An offence being dealt with by conference under part 5 of the Young Offenders Act 1997.
If charged with a right to release offence, you will not have that right to be released if you have previously failed to comply with a bail acknowledgment or bail condition of that offence.
What Conditions May I Be Required To Comply With?
The court may grant your bail either with or without conditions.
Some conditions you may be required to comply with include:
- Reporting at the police station 1-7 days per week between 8am-8pm
- You or an “acceptable person” to deposit a sum of money to the court during your bail conditions (known as a surety) which may be returned to you if you do not breach your bail conditions.
- To provide a character reference from an “acceptable person” stating that he/she knows you, regards you as responsible who is likely to comply with your bail acknowledgment.
- Surrender your passport to police
- To reside at your home between 8pm-6am
- Not to approach a point of international departure such as airport
- To enter into a residential rehabilitation (for example, for drugs or alcohol)
- The court can only impose bail conditions that the court considers are safe enough to adequately address the bail concerns it has, they must be: reasonable and proportionate to the offence, they must be appropriate to the bail concerns, they must be no more onerous than necessary, they must be reasonably practicable for you to comply with the conditions, and there must be reasonable grounds to believe that the conditions are likely to be complied with by you. (these are considered s20A factors of the Bail Act).
Who Is An Acceptable Person?
An acceptable person can help persuade a court to grant you bail if the acceptable person agrees to provide a character reference or agrees to deposit a sum of money/property to the court (“surety”) on condition that you comply with your bail conditions. The money is returned if your bail conditions are not breached at the end of your case. If you breach bail, the court may keep the money.
An acceptable person is someone who knows you for a decent amount of time, who does not have a criminal conviction/record or outstanding criminal charges or bankruptcy proceedings.
How Do I Change My Bail Conditions?
Sometimes it is far too difficult, impossible or simply unnecessary for you to continue to comply with your bail current conditions.
You may have moved homes, making it almost impossible to be able to report to the same police station. You may need to travel past a particular area that your bail condition prohibits you from going near in order to get to work.
You may have changed work place making it too difficult to report to your police station with your time curfew.
You may be planning a holiday or required to travel interstate or overseas.
Sometimes, your bail conditions are simply far too strict in reporting every day at the police station, especially when you have been reporting every day for a long period of time without breaching the conditions.
Whatever your situation, bail conditions should be practical and appropriate for your situation. Our experienced specialist bail lawyers can have your matter listed in court urgently before a Magistrate for a “bail variation” to change or even delete your bail conditions.
We will also speak to the police officer and obtain their attitude to it. In some cases, if police agree to our application, the court will too.
Our specialist lawyers will guide you, prepare your application, advise you of your chances of success, explain how to increase those chances and appear in court for you.
What Happens If I Breach My Bail Conditions?
The police officer can do any of the following if you breach your bail conditions:
- Take no action
- Issue you a warning
- Issue you a notice requiring you to attend court
- Give you a court attendance notice –if the breach amounts to an offence such as failing to appear in court.
- Arrest you, without a warrant, and then take you before the court as soon as possible
- Apply for a warrant for your arrest, find you and take you to a court as soon as possible
What determines which of the above options a police officer will take depends on the seriousness of the breach, whether you had a reasonable excuse for breaching the conditions, your personal circumstances, and whether the police officer can take another option other than arresting you.
If the police arrest you, with or without a warrant, you will be taken straight to the court who will then re-determine whether or not to continue your bail or keep you in custody during your court proceedings. Once at court, you are required to provide an explanation to the court as to why you breached your bail conditions in order to persuade the court to continue your bail either with the same conditions, or more stricter conditions.
If the court refuses bail, you will then be locked up in custody during your court proceedings. Any money that was deposited as security by you or an acceptable person may then be forfeited to the court. The court will notify you of this by letter, given you then, 28 days to file an objection to that order. If the court confirms the order, and there are any unpaid amounts, the state debt recovery office (SDRO) can take action against you or your ‘surety’.
A failure to appear before the court, without a reasonable excuse for it, amounts to a criminal offence with heavy penalties under the law.
The law imposes a maximum term of 3 years imprisonment with a maximum fine of $3,300. Although these are maximum penalties, you generally will not get the maximum penalties for first time offenders.
For some breaches, such as forgetting to report at the police station, or if you were too sick to report, you can avoid an arrest if you immediately call the police station as soon as you realise, and/or provide a medical certificate. Our specialist bail lawyers can call the police station on your behalf to explain the situation.
What Can I Do If Refused Bail?
You generally only get once chance at making a bail application in the Local Court. This is why it is very important that you prepare and present it properly to get the best chances at getting bail. Most people come to our specialist bail lawyers after their previous lawyers have ruined their application in the local court and bail refused.
You can make a second bail application in the local court only in certain situations, such as:
A change in your circumstances. For example: your health has worsened and require the kind of care not available in prison.
New information or evidence that was not previously provided to the court the first time you did the bail application. For example: an acceptable person willing to deposit a sum of money, or put up the equity of their home as surety.
Where you did not have a lawyer appear for you in the first application. You can make the second application if you now have a lawyer.
If you are unsuccessful in the local court for a bail application, we can take your matter to a higher court called the Supreme Court who will re-determine your bail application in more detail.
We are proud to have the best specialist bail lawyers in NSW who regularly prepare and appear in local and Supreme Courts all around NSW and Australia with a very high success rate. We guarantee you will get the best fighting chance at bail from only the best in the industry.
Supreme Court Bail
You can apply for a bail application in the Supreme Court if you have been unsuccessful in the Local Court.
You generally only get one shot at applying for a Supreme Court bail application unless you can show there are further grounds for a second application.
Usually when applying for bail at this level, far more work is required to be done. Preparation and filing of documents such as affidavits, title deeds, bank statements, and character references will all be done by our specialist team of experienced bail lawyers and barristers.
You may be required to give evidence in the witness box, and if so, we will advise you before-hand so that you are aware of the questions you will likely be asked.
Most importantly, after reviewing all of your police documents, and criminal record, you will be given accurate advice about the prospects of succeeding in your application, and how it can be improved further.
Having appeared in countless numbers of Supreme Court Bail applications in NSW, our experience and expertise has led to an outstanding track record of success across all serious criminal charges. Our specialist bail lawyers will ensure to maximise your chances of getting bail, and guide at every step of the process.