3. What happens if I break bail conditions?

We currently receive many calls from people on bail from domestic abuse related offences, asking for help on whether to and how to break bail. Please do NOT call us for these reasons as we will not help where it directly endangers others. Go straight to a solicitor!

Breaking bail conditions is not a crime itself but you can be arrested.

Certain bail conditions can be challenged in court such as if they violate your human rights under Articles 10 and 11. This process can be costly and time consuming. Many people choose to ignore bail conditions, especially in cases of pre-charge bail.

If you are arrested for breaking pre-charge bail, the police must do one of two things:

  1. Release you on bail again with the same conditions
  2. Charge you with an offence, and then bail you or hold you over until you can be taken to court.

Police often don’t charge people because it forces them to present evidence of the alleged crime which takes up time and money. Furthermore, many people aren’t even arrested for breaking bail conditions in the first place; in situations where they have been, it has tended to be when returning to protest sites.

If you are arrested for breaking post-charge bail, you would be taken to court in custody, you could also be held on remand but this is extremely rare.

Failure to surrender, ie. not turning up on the date given on your bail sheet (whether to a court or a police station) is a crime.

The courts are more harsh on cases of people who fail to turn up at their court date than those who fail to turn up at the police station, and the CPS’s own guidance says that prosecution for failing to surrender to police bail should not be pursued when the original case you were charged for is dropped.

If you’re unsure about the specifics of your case or bail conditions, call the Protest Support Line on 07946 541 511 or email courtsupport@protonmail.com.


This guide has been adapted from the Legal Defence and Monitoring Group (LDMG), one of our partner groups.