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Breach of Bail in South Australia

In South Australia, an application for bail is governed by the Bail Act 1985. If a person is granted bail, they will have to sign a bail agreement. This is an undertaking or promise that you will come to court when required and comply with any other conditions in the agreement. If a person breaches bail in South Australia, without having an excuse acceptable to the court, they are guilty of an offence. This article deals with breach of bail in South Australia.

What happens if bail is breached?

If a court believes that you have broken a condition of your bail, it can revoke your bail and issue a warrant for your arrest. However, if the police find out that you have breached your bail, or that you are intending to abscond, you can be arrested without a warrant and taken before a court.

If you fail to appear in court on a date that you are required to, a warrant for your arrest can be issued. If a warrant is issued, it is in your best interests to go as soon as possible to the police station and ask to be taken before a court to explain why you did not attend. You can make a fresh application for bail when you are at court. You should take with you medical certificates or other evidence that you want to rely on to explain why the breach occurred.

It will be more difficult for you to be granted bail in the future if you have a history of breaching your bail.

Varying bail

If at any time you find that you can’t comply with all of the conditions of your bail, you can apply to the court to vary your bail. Your matter can be bought forward to an earlier court listing day if you need to make your application urgently.  In order to apply to vary bail, you will need to complete an Application to vary or revoke a condition of bail and lodge it at the court. The application form is available from the court registry or online at the South Australian Magistrates Court website.

You must continue to comply with all of the conditions of your bail until such time as the variation is approved.

Offence of breach bail

Breaching bail is a criminal offence, as well as a breach of a court order. The maximum penalty that the court can give you for breaching your bail in a fine of $10,000 or two years imprisonment. However, the penalty that the court gives for breaching bail cannot be more than the maximum penalty that it could give for the most serious offence for which you are on bail.

If you are found guilty of breaching bail, the penalty the court imposes for the breach of bail will be imposed in addition to any penalty that you receive for the original offence. You may also be ordered to forfeit a sum of money that was specified in your bail agreement.

Guarantors on bail agreements

If you are a guarantor on a person’s bail agreement and you find out or suspect that the person has failed to comply with a term or condition of their bail agreement, you must tell the police immediately or you could be fined. An order can be made to forfeit money that was promised or lodged under your bail agreement can be made whether or not you are charged with breaching your bail. If an order is made, it means that you and any person who guaranteed you under the bail agreement will have to forfeit the amount of money that is set out in that guarantee. This order is called an estreatment order.

The person against whom an estreatment has been made (you or your guarantor) can ask the court to either reduce the amount that you have to forfeit or that the estreatment order is rescinded (cancelled). The court can also make an order that allows time to pay the amount, or allows it to be paid by instalments. If the amount is not paid, it can be recovered by the court as a fine.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.


Michelle Makela

Michelle Makela is a Legal Practice Director at Go To Court Lawyers. She holds a Juris Doctor, a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and a Master of Criminology. She was admitted to practice in 2006. Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning. 

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