How to apply for bail in South Africa

Bail is an amount of money paid as well as a set of pre-trial restrictions for a temporal release of the accused in a criminal court.

There are different types of bail in South Africa; therefore, the accused has three options of obtaining bail forms in South Africa. An accused can choose between the following options of pre-trial restrictions for a temporal release:

  • Police bail – Application is done at the police station within 48 hours of being arrested and prior to the first court appearance. Only applicable for minor offense criminals, e.g theft below R2500, possession of particular drugs below certain grams, and common assault.
  • Prosecutor bail – Can be applied at the police post before the first court appearance but made to a prosecutor authorized by the Director of Public Prosecutions who is allowed to grant pre-trial restrictions for a temporal release of the accused for more serious offenses.
  • Court bail- It is mandatory for bail application in court to be done during the initial court appearance. It can also be done during the court proceedings, and it is granted at any moment before the conviction. The court will stipulate the terms and conditions that have to be adhered to when one is released.

Follow the procedure below to apply for bail:

  1. After being locked in a police station following an arrest, the officers will grant the accused a chance to call and inform their loved ones about the arrest.
  2. The accused should contact the criminal defense bail attorney or someone who can help facilitate contact with an attorney.
  3. The criminal defense attorney will respond and initiate the process of applying for the restricted release upon consultation with the accused and their loved ones.
  4. The criminal defense attorney should take the lead in negotiating the amount that one should pay before being released temporarily.

Search online for the various bail application templates and an example of the bail application affidavit in South Africa to succeed in securing the restricted temporal release.

It is noteworthy that money paid before temporal release is refundable as long as the accused shows up on the day of the case. However, the deposited amount will not be refundable under different circumstances that violate the bail conditions. Some of these conditions include failure to show up for the trial and the interference with witnesses.

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