Bail by mail. A guide for bail or varying bail if you have been charged with a crime in Queensland
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A guide to applying for bail or varying bail if you have been charged with a crime in Queensland.
When should I use this kit?
What this kit can help you with
This kit can help you if you are on remand and want to apply for bail.
What this kit cannot help you with
This kit cannot help you argue against your charges.
This is an application for bail only.
This kit contains only brief information about bail pending an appeal.
If you are in this situation get legal advice.
The three stages of bail you need to complete:
Complete all the necessary forms, examples of which are included in this kit.
File the forms with the supreme court.
Present your bail application in the supreme court.
Before you begin making your own application, you should ask for assistance from Legal Aid Queensland.
If you are refused legal aid and you still wish to apply for bail, then you should get the bail clerk at your centre (if applicable) to prepare and type your application. The agencies listed in this kit will file your application for you.
Do not post your application directly to the court, as the court will not arrange for service on the Director of Prosecutions Office. You will only delay your application if you do this.
Legal terms used in this kit
Adjourn — This is when a bail application is put off until a future date. When bail applications are adjourned it is usually because the court needs more information.
Affidavit — This is a signed, written statement by a person involved in the case, stating what they know. It is sworn under oath (on the bible) or affirmed (see “Affirming”). The following is the standard legal Oath on an Affidavit. It is always the last paragraph of the Affidavit:
All the facts and circumstances herein deposed to are within my knowledge and belief save such as are deposed to from information only and my means of knowledge and sources of information appear on the face of this my Affidavit.
Affirming — Stating that what you say or write is the truth. Used instead of 'taking the Oath' because your religion does not allow you to take an Oath or you do not have a religion.
Application for Bail — This is a document that tells the court you want to apply for bail.
Application Number — The number given to your bail application by the Supreme Court when you file your application and supporting Affidavit.
Crown/Prosecution — The lawyers who represent the Crown during your bail application and who will argue against your application.
Justice of the Peace/Commissioner for Declarations/Lawyer — These are the people who must watch you sign your Affidavit.
Oath/Sworn — 'Taking the Oath' means swearing on the Bible that you will tell or have told the truth. If you do not believe in the Bible you can affirm the content of your Affidavit is true.
Remand — The time spent in custody if you have been refused bail and are awaiting trial/sentence.
Committal/Mention/Hearing/Summary/Trial/Sentencing/Appeal — Stages of the court process.
Surety — Someone who gives an amount of money or pledges property to the court as a guarantee that you will follow your bail conditions. If you break your bail conditions or fail to appear in Court, then the surety will lose the money they put up for you.
Witness — A witness is a Justice of the Peace, Commissioner for Declarations or lawyer who must watch you sign your Affidavit. Only these people can be your witnesses.
General information about bail
The court will only grant you bail if it is satisfied that you will meet certain conditions, of which the most important are:
- You will appear in court for your next hearing
- You will not break the law while on bail
- You are not a danger to the general public, witnesses or yourself.
The court looks at a number of factors to decide if you will meet these conditions.
Factors the court considers
Seriousness of the offence
The more serious the offence you have committed, the stronger your reasons will have to be to have bail granted. The court must consider the safety of the community.
Previous breaches of bail
If you have breached bail in the past by failing to appear in court, you will need to explain to the court why you did so and convince the court that you will not do so again. The court will probably demand a surety.
Previous criminal history
The court will always have a record of your criminal history in Queensland and interstate. The Crown always supplies this information at a bail application.
Your criminal history will affect your bail application, especially if your previous convictions are similar to your present charge or you have committed offences while on bail. Previous convictions for breaches of bail should be explained.
If you have a history of drug or alcohol related offences the court may order that you undergo counselling and/or urine testing as a condition of your bail.
However, the court looks at each case on its merits. Your criminal history is just one of the factors the court considers.
Ties with Queensland
It will help your application if you can show that you have strong ties with Queensland, either because your family lives here or you have lived here all your life. However, it is possible to be granted bail even if your residence is in another state.
The court needs to know that you have a permanent address if granted bail. You should state who you will be living with and your relationship to them. The court will also want to know where you were living at the time you were arrested.
If you will stay in a boarding house, hostel or rehabilitation centre, make sure you confirm these arrangements before you go to court. Include the address of the boarding house or hostel in your 'affidavit', and offer to report to a police station regularly. You should provide a letter confirming a placement in a rehabilitation centre to the court.
The court may demand a surety in your bail conditions if you do not have strong ties with Queensland.
Availability and amount of surety
Generally, it is important to have a surety. A person can only provide surety if:
- they are at least 18 years of age
- they have no criminal convictions for indictable offences (if the indictable offence has been dealt with summarily, ie. in the magistrates Court, it is not classified as a criminal conviction for an indictable offence. An indictable offence is a serious criminal offence, such as rape, break-and-enter, stealing)
- the property or money they offer belongs to them.
Usually the correctional centre will accept either ownership of real estate or cash. Some centres will accept other property of value, such as vehicles or jewellery.
If a person owns property, they can only provide surety for the amount they actually own. If there is still a mortgage, the surety can only cover the amount the person has paid off.
The amount of surety increases with:
- the seriousness of your offence
- the number of times you have previously failed to appear in court when required
- the fewer ties you have with Queensland.
It will help your application if you can provide the court with proof of employment if granted bail.
If you have a condition that needs ongoing or specialist treatment, the court may take your medical history into account.
Drug/Alcohol/Gambling Addiction and Domestic Violence
If you are remanded in custody on drug related charges or have previous convictions for drug related offences, it will help your application if you can provide the court with proof that you are addressing your alleged offending behaviour, ie. a letter confirming placement in a drug rehabilitation centre or counselling for your alleged addiction or behaviour.
Following is a list of centres that provide live-in rehabilitation or counselling.
58 Glenrosa Road, Red Hill
PO Box 81, Red Hill Qld 4059
(07) 3369 0922
497 Parklands Drive, Southport
PO Box 482, Ashmore City Qld 4214
(07) 5594 7288
Lot 1 Kirk Road, Chambers Flat
PO Box 65, Kingston Qld 4114
(07) 5546 3900
191 West Burleigh Road, Burleigh Heads
PO Box 2655, Burleigh Mail Centre, Burleigh Heads Q 4220
(07) 5535 4302
Hot House Youth Counselling
29 Grimes Street, Auchenflower Qld 4066
(07) 3208 6888
Logan Central Community Health Centre
Cnr Wembley and Ewing Roads, Logan Central Qld 4114
(07) 3290 8900
Chermside Community Team
The Prince Charles Hospital, Rode Road, Chermside Qld 4032
(07) 3350 8911
For referrals to your nearest counselling service, including access to naltrexone treatment, call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service on Tel. (07) 3236 2414 or 1800 177 833.
The Alcohol and Drug Counsellor at your centre can also assist with arranging drug and alcohol rehabilitation and counselling.
Stage 1 - completing the forms
The following information will help you fill out the forms you need for your bail application.
Forms you must complete when you are remanded in custody without bail:
- an 'application for bail'
- an 'affidavit' in support of your application for bail with any exhibits (ie. letters of support) with exhibit markings
- 'exhibit markings' (If you have exhibits you have to attach them to exhibit markings. Each exhibit requires a separate exhibit marking)
- a draft 'bail order'
Samples of the documents you need are included in this kit.
If you make a mistake do not use liquid paper. Rule a line through any mistakes and write the correction in neat handwriting. If the mistake is in an 'affidavit' you and the person who witnesses the 'affidavit' must make an initial next to the correction in the side margin.
(If you have bail but you are still in custody because you cannot meet a requirement of bail eg. surety, see Changing a previously granted Bail Order.)
Application for bail
Use the sample Application for bail(PDF, 56KB) in this kit as a guide. There are also practice forms included for you to practice on before putting together your 'real' application.
In your application, you must list all the charges you are remanded in custody on.
Sentence Management at your centre will provide you with details of the charges you are remanded in custody on.
You must also state whether you have applied for bail before in the supreme court.
If so, you must give details of which court, the place and the date of any previous supreme court bail applications.
If you have been refused supreme court bail previously you must inform the court of your change of circumstances
Your 'affidavit' needs to include the following paragraphs:
- a paragraph on your charges
- what you intend to do with your charges (ie. defend the charges)
- the time you have spent remanded in custody
- your proposed residence
- your previous residences for the past two years
- your proposed employment (if any)
- your previous employment or social security status
- your proposed reporting conditions (frequency and location)
- amount of surety (if any)
- explanations for previous breaches of bail
- personal information (if any)
- any counselling you are prepared to undertake
- if you are young, ie. 20 or under, whether you will abide by a curfew
You must follow the content and layout guidelines of the attached sample and practice Affidavit(PDF, 162KB) when you are putting together your 'affidavit'. They are set out the way the court wants. Make sure that the person typing up your 'affidavit' follows the format shown.
If you are unable to type the forms the Registrar will accept neatly handwritten forms.
The following layout guidelines must be followed:
- You must put the footnote at the bottom of each page, except for the final page.
- Bolding and capital letters apply to all the names of the people referred to in the 'affidavit', eg: JANE HELENE PLAIN.
- Each paragraph is numbered. If a paragraph does not apply to you and therefore you do not include it in your 'affidavit', you need to renumber the paragraphs. For example if you take out paragraph 9, renumber the old paragraph 10 as 9.
- Any exhibit to your 'affidavit' (ie. letter of support) must have an exhibit marking attached (see sample Exhibit marking(PDF, 21KB))
Below is listed out some of the things you need to include in your 'affidavit'. Refer to the sample and practice Affidavit(PDF, 162KB) to see how it all works.
Paragraph 3 - your charges
You must list all the charges for which you want bail. Ask your correctional centre to give you the exact charges for which you are being held.
They will give you either long or short title charges. Copy these charges onto your 'affidavit'.
A long charge will look like this:
That on the nineteenth day of December 1998 at Brisbane in the State of Queensland, one JANE HELENE PLAIN stole from one KANE
LAYNE with actual violence, $100 and at the time aforesaid the said JANE HELENE PLAIN was in the company of another person.
A short charge will look like this:
1 x stealing with actual violence whilst in company.
The court will accept either type of charge, providing it is correct and you include all the charges you want bail for.
Your correctional centre will not release you if their records show that you are being held on remand for a charge that is not in the bail order.
Ask your correctional centre which court and what date your next appearance will be held. If you are currently serving a sentence but you are on remand for other offences, you should make your application after your sentence is complete. If you are serving a period of imprisonment for unpaid fines you do not need to finish the sentence before applying for bail.
Paragraph 9 - residence
Remember that the court wants to be sure that you will have a permanent place to live, if you are released on bail. You should tell the court who you will be living with and your relationship with them. If you have lived in Queensland for an extended period of time before you were arrested, make sure you include this in your 'affidavit'.
Put this information in paragraphs 9 and 10 of the 'affidavit'.
You should also include a letter from the person you will be living with as an exhibit with its own exhibit marking.
Paragraph 11 - employment
List details of your employment history. For example:
- I was employed by Brain's Construction Company between 1992 and 1996 as a secretary.
- Between 1996 and 1997 I was employed by Dane Lane's Paint Producing Factory as an administrative assistant.
Include all your previous jobs. You are not limited to mentioning one or two. It is important you include those jobs you held for a long time.
Put this information in paragraphs 11 and 12 of the 'affidavit'.
Paragraph 13 - surety
Before you write the name of the person you have in mind to provide your surety, phone or write to that person to make sure they are willing to do so. Ask the person to write a letter confirming this agreement.
Put this information in paragraph 13 of the 'affidavit'.
Paragraph 15 - previous breaches of bail
Fill in this section if you have breached bail in the past. It is important to give reasons for every time you failed to appear. For example:
'At the time I was required to appear in the magistrates court at Brisbane, I was in hospital with appendicitis.'
Put this information in paragraph 15 of the 'affidavit'.
Paragraph 16 - personal information
Include any personal information you think should be brought to the attention of the judge, for example a serious medical condition that you or someone that you care for has, such as your child, de-facto, husband/ wife, or mother.
Paragraph 19 - general statement
If you intend to go to trial on the charges, include a paragraph in your 'affidavit' stating that you will be defending the charges.
Draft bail order
You should have a draft 'bail order' to hand to the judge hearing your application.
The draft order sets out the charges that you are seeking bail on.
It contains standard conditions and any other conditions you think the court may impose, for example a condition to reside at a drug rehabilitation centre.
Below is listed out some of the things you need to include in your draft 'bail order'. Refer to the sample and practice Bail order(PDF, 120KB) to see how it all works.
Paragraph 1 - requirement to attend court
You need your court dates and the court that you are required to attend, for example, the magistrates court at Brisbane on 5th July.
Paragraph 2- non-contact condition
A standard condition not to communicate with the complainant or witnesses.
Paragraph 3 - residential condition
A standard condition stating where you intend to reside.
Paragraph 4 - reporting condition
A standard condition that you will report to police while on bail.
Changing a previously granted bail order
You can apply to the supreme court to have a bail order from any court varied (changed). The procedure is the same as applying for bail, but you will need to provide information of the earlier request on your signed 'application for bail' and you will need to include extra paragraphs in your 'affidavit' stating when you were granted bail, by which court, and on what conditions.
People usually want to change a bail order because a surety has been set which they cannot meet. If a magistrate or judge sets an amount for surety that is greater than the person providing the surety for you can give, you can apply to the supreme court to have the surety removed or reduced.
The forms you must complete:
Samples of the documents you need are included in this kit.
'Application to vary bail'
Use the sample Application for variation of bail(PDF, 55KB) as a guide.
The application must list all the charges that you are remanded in custody on.
You must provide details of the existing court order (court, place and date).
'Affidavit' (in support of application to vary bail)
Use the sample Affidavit (in support of application to vary bail)(PDF, 116KB).
Your 'affidavit' needs to include the paragraphs in the 'affidavit' used in support of a bail application (see affidavit) as well as extra information about the existing conditions of bail.
You should also include the reasons why the existing conditions for bail cannot be met and what alternative arrangement you have in place.
For example: 'I have contacted all family members that live in Queensland and they have advised me that they are unable to raise the amount of the surety. I have also contacted a number of other friends who also cannot raise this amount. I do not know anyone else I can ask to provide a surety.'
You then request the court to change the conditions of bail:
'I request that this Honourable Court vary my conditions of bail by removing the requirements of a surety/reducing the amount of surety.'
'I am prepared to report to the police each weekday.'
The court may impose other conditions if a bail order is changed, such as reporting to your local police station every day.
Sample form 1: Application for bail(PDF, 56KB)
Sample form 2: Affidavit(PDF, 162KB)
Sample form 3: Exhibit marking(PDF, 21KB)
Sample form 4: Bail order(PDF, 120KB)
Sample form 5: Application for variation of bail(PDF, 55KB)
Sample form 6: Affidavit (in support of application to vary bail)(PDF, 116KB)
Sample form 7: Bail order (in support of variation of bail)(PDF, 86KB)
Letters of support
Arrange to get letters from people who can support your application. Copies of your letters of support need to be exhibited to your 'affidavit'. Each exhibit must have an exhibit marking attached. See the sample Exhibit marking(PDF, 21KB). Take the original letters with you to court on the day the application is heard.
Surety - Ask your surety to write a letter to the court confirming their offer of surety.
The letter should include:
- How much they are offering as surety.
- Proof that they can afford this amount.
- A statement showing they understand that they lose the money if you fail to appear in court at the next scheduled time.
- A statement showing they know of the charges you are facing.
Employment - If someone has offered you a job, arrange for that person to write a letter of confirmation. The letter should include:
- Whether you have worked there before.
- What work you will be doing.
- Whether the position is permanent or casual.
- The hours and days of the week you will be working.
Residence - Get a letter from the person you will be living with confirming the details in your 'affidavit'. This person should also state that they are aware of your charges, their relationship to you and whether they are willing to report any breaches of bail to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Medical condition - If you have a medical condition and feel you cannot be treated properly while on remand, get a doctor’s letter detailing your medical history/condition and the name of your regular doctor. If you have access to a more detailed report, you can hand it to the judge at the your bail application hearing.
Drug/alcohol rehabilitation - It may help your application if you are on, or would like to join, a rehabilitation program for drug or alcohol abuse, which would continue while you are on bail. Some programs offer live-in accommodation to people on bail. If you are prepared to reside at a drug/alcohol rehabilitation centre as a condition of your bail ask the drug and alcohol counsellor at your centre to arrange an assessment. Once you have been assessed as suitable for a live-in program, ask the rehabilitation centre to provide written confirmation, which you can provide to the court.
The following section contains sample letters and reports. Use these as a guide to the types of information that should be included by people who write letters supporting your application.
If the people writing letters to support your application are unsure about how or what to write, send them a photocopy of the sample letter that relates to them. Tell them to use this letter as a guide.
(name of employer)
(address of employer)
(phone number of employer)
To whom it may concern
I have offered (your name)a full time position as a (job, eg, motor mechanic) if he is granted bail. I understand that (your name) is charged with (enter charges).
His duties will include (describe, eg. servicing engines).
(Your name) was previously employed by me from (date) to (date).
(signature of employer)
(name of employer)
(name of surety)
(address of surety)
(phone number of surety)
To whom it may concern
I offer to provide (amount of surety) as surety for (your name). I understand that (your name) is charged with (enter charges).
I understand that this amount is forfeited by me if (your name) does not appear at court at the next scheduled date.
This surety is offered against (object of value, eg: the value of my home at the above address. This house is valued at $130,000 and has $35,000 left owing in repayments).
(signature of surety)
(name of surety)
Stage 2 - filing your bail application
Now that you have completed the practice forms included with this kit, there are several steps you need to follow before lodging them with the supreme court.
Step 1 - Preparing your final forms
Spend time checking that all the information on the practice forms is correct.
Mistakes may stop you getting bail.
When you are sure all the forms are correct then include the information in the final form. These forms need to be typed. Arrange access to a typewriter through your Unit Officer, Welfare Counsellor or the bail clerk at your centre.
Make sure you have your 'application for bail' and 'affidavit' forms.
Make sure your name and address are in the footnote of the first page of 'application for bail' and in the footnote of the first page of your 'affidavit'.
If your forms are not completed exactly as in the samples, the court will not accept them.
If you find a mistake in your 'affidavit' after it is typed, rule a line through it and write the correct information. Do not use liquid paper. When having your 'affidavit' witnessed, you and the person witnessing must write your initials beside any changes.
Step 2 - Getting your final forms witnessed
You must sign your 'application for bail'.
Your final 'affidavit' must be signed in front of a Justice of the Peace, Commissioner for Declarations or a lawyer before it is filed in court.
The draft 'order' is not signed by you. It is signed by the Deputy Registrar if you are granted bail.
Do not sign your 'affidavit' until it can be witnessed by either of these people. Ask your Unit Officer, Welfare Counsellor or the bail clerk to help you organise these signatures.
Step 3 - Getting your bail application to the supreme court
After the final forms are signed and witnessed, make three photocopies of all your forms. Keep one copy of all the forms for yourself and give the originals and the two other copies to the bail clerk at your centre who will arrange for collection or delivery to the filing agents.
If there is no bail clerk at your centre then:
- On the front of the envelope write the name and address of the agent filing the documents for you (listed below).
- On the back of the envelope write your name and address of your correctional centre.
- On the front and back of the envelope write 'Private and Confidential Legal Correspondence'
When an agent has filed your documents at the court registry, the court will tell your correctional centre the hearing date so that your correctional centre can arrange to transport you to court. Applications are usually heard in court within one week of the documents being filed.
Arrangements have been made with the following agencies to file your documents at court:
- For inmates at Lotus Glen Correctional Centre:
Far North Queensland Family and Prisoners Support Inc (FNQFAPS)
PO Box 359
MANUNDA Qld 4870
Tel. 4051 4485
Documents are filed and served on Wednesdays
- For inmates at Townsville Correctional Centre:
Townsville Community Legal Centre
PO Box 807
TOWNSVILLE Qld 4810
Tel. 4721 5511
Documents are filed and served on Wednesdays
- For inmates at Rockhampton Correctional Centre:
Legal Aid Queensland
PO Box 442
ROCKHAMPTON Qld 4700
Tel. 4927 5277
Documents are filed and served once a week
- For inmates at south-east Queensland correctional centres:
Prisoners' Legal Service Inc
GPO Box 257
BRISBANE Qld 4001
Tel. 3846 3384 Tuesday and Thursday 9am to 1pm
Documents are filed and served on Fridays
Stage 3 - at court
What to bring to court
It is important to dress cleanly and neatly when you go to court.
Make sure you bring all copies of your documents to court. These include:
- your 'application for bail'
- your 'affidavit'
- letters of support
- draft 'bail order'
Prepare a checklist for your bail hearing listing the main reasons why you want bail.
If you are asked whether you have something to say, have your important statements written on one page ready to present. This is easier than flicking through the pages of your 'affidavit' and 'application for bail'.
What to do in court
- You will be escorted into the court room and shown where to sit.
- The Crown will provide you with a copy of the material they intend to rely on.
- The judge will ask the Crown to indicate what material they have for the judge to read, and may ask if you have further material such
as supporting letters to give the court.
- The judge will ask everyone to be seated and will read the material.
- The judge will ask the Crown to make their submissions. This means they state why they think you should not get bail, or the Crown may tell the judge your bail application is not opposed.
You should address the judge as 'Your Honour'.
If the prosecutor says something you disagree with, do not interrupt. You will be given an opportunity to state your case later.
The judge will ask you for submissions to support your application. This means you have to repeat the important information included in your 'affidavit' and highlight any letters of support you have. It is not enough to rely on the fact that this information is contained in the 'affidavit'.
Stress the important parts of your application and explain these in detail. Do not argue whether you are guilty or not guilty of the charges or what your defence is.
Anything you say at your bail hearing can be used against you at your trial.
The judges decision
The judge has three options.
1. The judge can grant you bail
If the judge grants you bail, certain conditions will follow. For example, you may have to provide a surety and report regularly to your local police station. You will be taken back to the correctional centre to be released.
If you have to provide a surety, the person providing the surety must come to the correctional centre or the local magistrates court to sign an 'affidavit of justification'. People providing sureties must sign this 'affidavit' and the surety must bring with them at least two forms of photo identification and all relevant documents - for example, bank statements or copies of property deeds.
The judge may use your 'bail order', add or delete clauses from your 'bail order', or require a new 'order' to be drafted by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
2. The judge can refuse bail
If the judge refuses to grant you bail, you can apply again if your circumstances change. For example, you may not have had a surety for this application but you may be able to organise one now.
3. The judge can adjourn the application
The judge may adjourn the hearing of your application because they may need further information from you or the Crown. For example, are you able to obtain a place in a live-in drug rehabilitation program?
If the judge fixes a date for the hearing, you will attend court on that date.
If the judge adjourns the hearing of the application to a date to be fixed, you set the next court date by writing a letter to the supreme court (see sample), attaching a copy of your 'application for bail' to the letter and requesting another court date. The supreme court will inform you of the date. You must then write to the Director of Public Prosecutions to tell them the new court date.
Letter to the supreme court
Registrar of the supreme court
(address of Registrar)
I attended before the supreme court on (date) where it was ordered that my bail application be adjourned to a date to be fixed. I am now ready to proceed with my application and request a chamber date as soon as possible.
Bail pending an appeal
If you are appealing against a conviction or sentence you can apply for bail until the appeal is heard if you can show exceptional circumstances.
The application for bail is the same as for an ordinary application.
The Affidavit you need to complete for a bail application pending an appeal is almost the same as the one in this kit, but there are a few extra things you need to do. It is best that you seek legal advice if you are in this situation.
You can apply for bail pending an appeal after a sentence or a trial, however the court will usually only grant bail if the sentence you are serving is for six months or less.
The court considers:
- The nature of the offences you are appealing, and the sentences you received.
- Whether there is a risk that you will have served all or most of your sentence before your appeal is heard.
- Whether there are special circumstances which show that an error was made in the proceedings in the lower court, so that there is a good chance that your appeal will be successful. As with normal bail applications, the court will not want to hear all the arguments for the appeal.
Appeal bail is only granted in exceptional circumstances and decisions are usually treated as correct unless they are proved wrong by the Court of Appeal.
Last updated 14 July 2022
If you have a general question for Legal Aid Queensland, please use the general question form or call 1300 65 11 88, Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm.