Breach of Bail in Western Australia
A bail undertaking is a promise in writing made by a person who has been charged with an offence that they will come to court when required to and comply with any conditions included in the bail undertaking. If the person fails to obey any of those conditions they will be breaching their bail. A breach of bail in Western Australia is a criminal offence. Common breaches of bail include failing to attend court without a reasonable excuse, breach of a protective bail condition, giving false information for the purpose of being granted bail or committing a further offence while on bail. This article deals with breach of bail in WA.
Offence of breaching bail
In Western Australia, breaching bail is an offence under section 51 of the Bail Act 1982. The offence carries a maximum fine of $10,000 and maximum prison sentence of three years. If you are convicted, the offence will appear on your criminal record and this will be taken into account in any future bail applications you make.
If you have a good explanation or excuse for the breach of bail alleged, you should bring evidence (such as a medical certificate) when you appear at court or hand yourself in to police. This will be taken into account by the police when considering whether to charge you with breach of bail and by the court when deciding whether to grant you bail again or remand you in custody. If you are sentenced for the offence of breach of bail, it may be taken into account in determining the appropriate sentence.
If your bail has a surety attached to it and you fail to attend court, the person who is your surety may have to pay the amount of money in the undertaking. If it includes a promise that you pay a sum of money if you fail to attend court, then you may have to pay that amount.
Breach of protective bail conditions
Protective bail conditions are conditions that were set to protect persons or property or to prevent interference with evidence. Examples of protective bail conditions include not to contact a person (usually an alleged victim or potential witness), and not to attend a particular address or location.
The court considers a breach of a protective bail condition to be a serious offence. If a person is found guilty of breaching a protective bail condition, it may be very difficult to get their bail re-set.
Other offences relating to bail
There are also several other criminal offences relating to bail in WA. It is an offence to give false information when applying for either a grant of or a variation of bail. It is also an offence for a person offering themselves as a surety on a bail to deliberately or recklessly make a statement which they know is false. The maximum penalty for either of these offences is a fine of $1,000 or 12 months imprisonment, or both.
If a person’s circumstances change and it becomes difficult for them to comply with their bail conditions, they should immediately make an application to vary the conditions of their bail. The court may be agreeable to changing the conditions of bail if the person can demonstrate a good reason why their bail conditions should be changed. For example, if a person is required to report to the local police station every day and then becomes employed on a full time basis and has difficulty fitting in daily reporting to the police around a busy schedule, an application could be made to vary the reporting requirement to once a week only.
It is important to seek a bail variation as soon as you become aware that you will have difficulty complying with bail conditions to avoid being charged with breach of bail.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.