On a regular basis we are contracted by members of the public who wish to ascertain whether bail can be granted after hours at a police station. The following should always be kept in mind when the issue of after hours bail is considered.
What is the charge for which you have been arrested?
You can only get bail for offences listed in specific schedules of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977. Should you be arrested for offences listed in Schedule 5 or 6 of the Act, you cannot get bail after hours. You can however still get bail in court, but not over the course of weekend i.e. after hours.
For offences listed in schedule 5 and 6 of the Criminal Procedures Act, the right to after hours bail has been retracted and the individual cannot get bail after hours and has to wait for his first appearance at Court when a formal application for bail can be lodged. Schedule 5 and 6 offences include offences of theft and fraud where the value is in excess of R500 000.00, murder, rape and robbery, to name but a few. Also if the individual was previously arrested for an offence and was granted bail prior to the current matter for which he has been arrested for now, he cannot get bail after hours either.
For certain offences listed in Schedule 7, the investigating officer concerned cannot grant bail but a prosecutor from the Director of Public Prosecutions, who is usually on standby in the specific district over a weekend, has to attend the police station in order to grant bail. In those offences the police official or the officer in the charge office has got no right to grant bail except when the prosecutor so ordered. In practice however the prosecutor is always guided by the attitude of the investigating officer and would never grant bail unless the investigating officer consents thereto.
Each Magistrates Court has prosecutors specifically designated to be on standby and those numbers are usually available at the police stations for bail applications. The offences resorting in this category are fraud and theft where the amount is less than R20 000.00, robbery in circumstances where it is not aggravated and where the amount also is less than R20 000.00, arson, culpable homicide or assault involving the infliction of grievous (serious) bodily harm.
Many of the minor offences like driving under the influence of alcohol, being found in possession of a very small quantity of drugs and shoplifting, the police have authority in terms of Section 59 of the Criminal Procedure Act to grant bail at the police station without the assistance of a prosecutor. In those instances a person above the rank of Sergeant i.e. Inspector and higher, has to grant the bail and the bail money will be deposited at the police station.
Bail money will be refunded to the person who deposited the bail money, provided that the accused adhered to his condition of bail and he/she attended court on each and every occasion.
Should you require any of our legal services please don’t hesitate to contact us on 012 664 9400 for more assistance.