If the police have reasonable belief that a person has, is or is about to commit an offence, that person can be arrested. This means they are taken into custody until they are bailed. Bail can be granted in some cases by the police, otherwise the person will be in custody until they appear in a Magistrate’s Court.
An arrest may be effected by either physical restriction or words alone.
Once arrested the police must take the person to a police station and afford them the opportunity to apply for bail.
In serious matters the police may detain a suspect for up to four hours to conduct their investigations. In rare cases the time may be extended by a magistrate.
Once charged, a person has a right to apply for bail. The officer in charge of the police station (usually a Sergeant) may refuse bail. The arresting officers will make their recommendation for bail to the station Sergeant.
Bail may be granted with restrictions. The conditions of the bail may include where the accused must reside, may include curfew conditions, restrict areas or premises where the accused is not to attend or restrict contact directly or indirectly with another person (usually a co-accused or alleged victim). One or more guarantors may be required or home detention conditions may be required.
A guarantor is someone who promises they will make all efforts to ensure the bailee complies with the condition of the bail agreement. They are required to advise the authorities if they become aware of an impending breach of bail.
If the court decides it requires home detention conditions it will usually require the accused to remain in custody for at least 4 working days to allow time for a Home Detention Report to be prepared. A Bail Assessment Report is sometimes sought before a person is released on bail and a similar delay is required.
A cash surety may a condition of bail. Generally this is only required in more serious cases. A specified sum of money must be lodged before release. Should the accused breach a condition of the bail the sum may be forfeited.
For minor offences, instead of being arrested, the police may proceed against a person by way of summons or infringement notice.