Why have I been bailed?

Created on December 29, 2021

Why have I been bailed?

If you are released on bail after your arrest this places you under a legal obligation to return to the Police station or Custody Centre on a certain date and time. It is called Police bail or Pre-charge bail and a bail notice setting out the terms and conditions is given to you by the police when you are released from police custody.

A police Custody Sergeant has the authority to grant bail when there is insufficient evidence to charge at the time of release from police custody or to seek advice on a decision to charge from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).  This allows the investigation to continue and for the police to have further time to gather evidence such as statements, CCTV, forensic evidence including phone analysis, without a person having to be detained. 

There should be an initial presumption that a person being released from police custody without being charged will be released under investigation (RUI) and not be on bail.  Police often prefer bail because specific conditions can be attached,  restricting the liberty of the bailed person where a perceived risk is assumed.    Reasons must be documented on the bail notice for any conditions to be given and these can be in order to protect a person (including the person bailed), to preserve evidence or to mitigate the risk of a person absconding or committing crime.

Bail Fees UK

No fee is charged for being placed on bail in the UK, unless specified as a condition for security, but this is very rare and generally applies only to court bail. 

Since 2017 a person can only be placed on bail for a maximum of 28 days initially, however this period can be extended by a Superintendent by up to 3 months and then extended further by the courts. The bail period may be extended if the work on the investigation cannot be completed within the specified time limits, but this must be deemed both necessary and proportionate. 

If the police feel that there is sufficient evidence they can place a person on bail while they seek advice from CPS for a charging decision to be made, the bail clock is then suspended and bail can be given for any length of time, until the decision is made.  However, it will re-start if further investigation work is requested by the CPS.

Breaching bail by failing to report to the police station at the allocated time is an offence. Breaching bail conditions i.e. failing to comply with any conditions that are attached to the bail is not an offence but provides the police with a power of arrest to bring the person back into police custody.


Whilst bail is an obvious constraint, it can provide some benefit to the person on bail, providing the investigation is concluded within the 28 days or three months.  A fixed time frame and updates are provided on the state of the investigation and can produce a speedier conclusion.  People who are RUI, whilst they would be under no restrictions or duty to report back to police also have no right to know the state of the investigation against them, which can be ongoing for months and sometimes years.  It is not uncommon for the police to place someone on bail and then RUI after the time period has expired.  


Having Legal Advice while you are at the police station can be crucial not only to your defence but to your bail situation.  Your Legal Representative can make representations on your behalf regarding bail or any conditions that are being considered by the police. There is a misconception that having legal advice at the police station suggests guilt or a level or involvement in a crime, but this is not correct.  It is a legal right to everyone and having a lawyer present offers you necessary support whether you are guilty of an offence or not. 


Old Bailey Solicitors will not judge you and will offer you our support regardless of your situation.  Free advice is available under the Duty Solicitor Scheme.  Alternatively, a more involved advice package can be provided on a privately paid basis.  This might include making an application to vary or remove conditions of bail.  

If you need advice on a police station matter please get in contact either via our website, email us at [email protected] or call us on 0207 8464 999

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