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No, the court or the police have released you on bail and failure to comply with the conditions or requirements of the release could lead to your arrest. Signing early, late or not at all is a breach of bail and it is more than likely that you will be arrested and put before the next court.

If you want to change your court bail conditions, you will have to speak to your solicitor who may go to court on your behalf.


You will be arrested and brought before the next court if you do not have a good excuse for missing signing your bail. Acceptable reasons are: already in custody, in hospital or too ill to sign (the last two must be accompanied with a doctor's note). Any other excuses such as you slept in, you forgot, missed the bus, not had enough money to get there etc. are not acceptable reasons and you will be arrested.


When the police release a person from custody (but they have not been charged and the investigation is still ongoing) that person may be released on bail. This means that they are under a legal duty to return to the police station at the date and time provided to them. Sometimes conditions are attached to the bail e.g. not to contact the victim. Bail gives the police time to gather necessary evidence such as statements, CCTV evidence and forensic evidence.

There is no presumption for or against bail; the police need to determine whether releasing the person on bail is necessary and proportionate. With the need to have regard to certain circumstances, such as the need to prevent further offending by the person and to safeguard victims of the crime and witnesses. There is also a duty to seek the views of the alleged victim regarding pre-charge bail conditions. 

There are time limits for how long someone can be on bail. Depending on the case the initial bail period is three or six months respectively; this can be extended further, in some cases up to 12 months, to investigate different types of complex cases.

Breaching bail (i.e. 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 in such circumstances the police do have the power of arrest in order to bring the person back into police custody.


If it is a condition that they must sign in at a police station and are breaching this, then the police will already be aware. If, however, it is another condition, for example, a residence condition or conditions stating that they must not contact a certain person, then please contact your local police (see Q727 for contact details). Please note that you may be asked to give a statement regarding the matter, if appropriate.




If you are on police bail with conditions (i.e. you were given the bail conditions at a police station) and have not yet appeared at court, you must return to the police station where you were bailed and ask the Custody Officer if they are willing to alter your conditions. Alternatively, you may wish to contact your solicitor, to make representations on your behalf.

If the court has given you bail conditions, it is the court who have the power to alter the conditions. The police cannot alter bail conditions given at court. You will need to get in touch with a solicitor who will make an application to the court to vary your conditions.

You will need to explain what conditions you require amending and what changes are requested.

Please note that in both situations your request will not automatically be granted, the court and the custody officer will consider the application before making a decision on whether or not to amend the conditions.

Contact your local police force

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