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Fail to appear in court

What happens if person on bail does not turn up in court for their hearing.

Duty to appear at Court

If bail is granted, the accused is under a duty to appear at the next court date and surrender into custody. This is part of their bail conditions.

If the person fails to show up at court when they are supposed to (answer bail) and surrender themselves into custody at the appointed court date, they will be guilty of an offence unless they have a reasonable excuse for failing to appear.

It is up to the accused to show that they had a reasonable excuse for failing to appear.

Any security deposit is forfeited if the person fails to appear. The person who failed to appear or their bail guarantor could make an application to vary or rescind this forfeiture.

Penalty

The penalty is 2 years jail.

See s. 30(1)—Bail Act 1977 (Vic).

Warrant to arrest

If a person on bail does not appear in court on the date of their hearing the court may issue a warrant for the police to arrest the person.

What to do if a person on bail misses Court

If the person realises that they have missed their hearing date they should contact their lawyer immediately (if they have one).

They should consider attending the police station to hand themselves in before the police come to arrest them. If they do this, they will be considered to be less of a risk. It is best to do this early in the day so that they can apply for bail on the same day.

The person should have copies of any documents they need to take that will help to explain why they did not show up. For example, if they have mental health or drug issue, they should take copies of any medical or counselling reports, or numbers of any doctors or counsellors who have treated them in relation to their health issue.

If they have not yet sought to do this, then it is advisable to make an appointment to see a counsellor or doctor.

The person may be arrested and held in custody until they can get bail. A duty lawyer may be able to assist them with their bail application on the day.

Legislation

Bail Act 1977 (Vic)

  • s. 30—fail to answer bail
  • s. 32—security is forfeited if fail to appear
  • s. 6—duty to attend court

Updated