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No, the court or the police have imposed bail conditions and failure to comply with them will 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 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, for example, not to contact the victim. Bail gives the police time to gather necessary evidence such as statements, CCTV evidence and forensic evidence.

There is an initial presumption that a person being released from police custody without being charged will be released under investigation (not on bail). However, there are situations where bail is appropriate, for example if the person has no permanent address and will be difficult to locate in order to conduct further enquiries, or if conditions need to be applied because the person is likely to abscond or intimidate victims or witnesses.

A person can initially only be put on bail for a maximum of 28 days (the applicable bail period), however this period can be extended by a Superintendent (by up to 3 calendar months) and extended further by the courts. The applicable bail period may be extended if, for example, the work on the investigation cannot be completed within the specified time limits. When granting bail, the bail date cannot fall beyond the applicable bail period.

If the case is sent to the CPS for a charging decision to be made, the applicable bail period is suspended, and bail can be given for any length of time, until the decision is returned. However, it will re-start if further work is requested by the CPS.
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 a 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.

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.

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