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Bail Undertakings

Important Things to Know About Bail Undertakings

  • If you have been given a bail undertaking, you will have a date upon which you are required to attend court. If you miss this, a warrant will likely be granted against you.

  • If you have been given a bail undertaking, you will have conditions which you have to abide by. This can sometimes include a curfew and will often include the condition that you must not approach or contact a certain person or place.

What is a Bail Undertaking?

When the police arrest you and bring you to the police station, they have to make a decision as to whether or not they are going to keep you there for more than 12 hours. Sometimes, they will release you on what is called 'Investigative Liberation'. This is when they release you without charging you whilst they carry out further investigation into the matter. If they do decide to charge you, they can release you on an undertaking, which means that you agree to return to court at a later date and to abide by certain conditions.

The difference between investigative liberation and a bail undertaking is that, although conditions can be placed upon you in the former case, the conditions which can be placed upon you in the case of a bail undertaking are more onerous, such as having a curfew meaning that you cannot be outside of your home during the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The most important aspect of a bail undertaking is however that you must appear at court on a later date. At this date you will be required to either plead guilty or not guilty to the charges libelled against you. If this date is missed, it is highly likely that a warrant will be granted for your arrest.

What should I do if I have been given a bail undertaking?

If you are unsure whether or not you have been given an undertaking, the most important thing to do is to contact a solicitor and find out whether or not this is the case. The consequences of missing a court date are very serious, commonly ending in you having a warrant granted against you. If you are unsure of this, contact our solicitors today and we will examine your paperwork and let you know exactly what you have to do next.

The Legal Requirements of Bail Undertakings

The law as it pertains to bail undertakings is defined in sections 26-30 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016. Here, it outlines a number of useful things to remember.

  • Section 26(1) states that an undertaking form must be signed for it to be valid. If you have not signed your undertaking form, the conditions do not apply to you. If this is the case, you should speak to a solicitor straight away to find out whether or not you have to do anything about this.

  • Section 26(2) defines the standard terms of an undertaking. These are that you must attend the court on the date specified and that you must abide by the conditions set. These conditions will include that you must not commit an additional offence, interfere with witnesses or evidence, or behave in a way which causes, or is likely to cause, alarm or distress to witnesses. Also under this section, the police are allowed to impose any conditions which they deem appropriate to ensure that the above conditions are not infringed. This typically consist of a curfew. It is crucial to take note of these. If you don't, it is possible that you may accidentally breach your undertaking and this will result in you being remanded instead of allowed bail.

  • Section 29 states that an undertaking, and importantly the conditions which it imposes upon you, expire after the date when you appear at court or when you are arrested for breaching the terms. Remember that if you attend or are brought to court, it is not necessarily the case that the conditions will disappear completely. They might be imposed again by the court. They simply no longer stem from the undertaking agreement.