What Are Bails In Singapore? 9 Must-Read Facts

by | Oct 15, 2023 | Blog

What Is Bail In Singapore? 9 Key Things To Understand

If you’re a fan of procedural dramas, you’ve likely heard of the term “post bail” mentioned once or at least a couple of times. But what exactly does it mean to “post bail”? What is bail, for that matter?

Bail happens when law enforcement officers temporarily release an accused person from custody and entrust them to an individual (known as the bailor or surety) who will ensure the accused’s presence in Court or attendance in investigations when needed.

When the accused person is released on bail, the bailor releases a certain sum of money to the Court for the purposes stated above.

It’s important to remember that the security bond pledged by the bailor must belong to them and not the accused. In short, the bailor must use their own money or property in exchange for holding the accused person in remand to assist further investigations.

1. What Are Bailable And Non-Bailable Offences?

Generally, an accused person can be released on bail by law enforcement or police before they are charged in Court. However, the accused will not always be granted bail for every offence.

For instance, capital offences like murder fall under non-bailable offences. Police also won’t offer bail for heinous crimes such as drug trafficking, rape, extortion, terrorism, unlawful use of firearms, kidnapping, etc., since these are punishable by death or life imprisonment.

It’s also in the Court’s discretion on whether or not to grant or refuse bail to an individual (especially for non-bailable offences).

You can find out whether an offence is bailable or not in the First Schedule of the Criminal Procedure Code. Examples of bailable offences include:

  • Assault
  • Voluntarily causing hurt
  • Disobeying quarantine rules
  • Dangerous driving
  • Cheating
  • Misappropriation of property
  • Trespassing
  • House-breaking
  • Forgery

Again, the Court decides whether or not they will allow the accused to post bail. Their decision will depend on the specifics of the case and the circumstances surrounding the individual.

2. What Happens When Someone Commits A Bailable Offence?

What Happens When Someone Commits A Bailable Offence?

Being granted police or Court bail is only one of the few scenarios that can take place when a person commits any bailable offence.

Aside from posting bail, they may also be released on a personal bond or both bail and personal bond:

When The Accused Is Released On A Personal Bond

The police or Court may also release an accused person from custody if they sign a personal bond without sureties.

When The Accused Is Released On Bail And On Personal Bond

In other cases, the Court can also release the accused on bail and personal bond. This requires the accused to post bail and sign a personal bond without sureties or guarantees.

3. What Happens When Someone Commits Non-Bailable Offences

A non-bailable offence does not mean the police cannot offer release on bail or personal bond. This only means that the Court or police will use their discretion before deciding.

The Court will consider multiple factors:

  • The seriousness of the offence
  • Grounds to believe the accused person is guilty of committing the offence
  • The severity of the punishment
  • The accused person’s moral standing and character
  • Length of police detention
  • Probability of delay in court proceedings
  • Whether the bail is crucial in allowing the accused to prepare their defence

Nevertheless, the Court can issue an order for the arrest or imprisonment of anyone who has been accused of committing a non-bailable offence, even if they have already been released on bail and/or personal bond.

4. When Can The Court Refuse Bail?

Just because an offence is bailable doesn’t automatically free the accused from police custody. There are cases where the Court has denied release on bail and/or personal bond in instances such as:

  • The accused is facing a criminal charge for an offence not only punishable by a fine;
  • The Court has reason to believe the accused individual will not submit to custody, be present during investigations when needed, or show up to the scheduled Court hearing.

The Court will consider several factors in refusing bail, such as:

  • Residency status – Bail will most likely be denied to a defendant who is neither a Singapore Citizen nor a Permanent Resident.
  • Personal background – The Court may also deny bail after assessing the accused’s criminal background, employment history, social ties, financial situation, etc.
  • Nature of the offence – The defendant may be refused bail based on the gravity of the offence they’ve committed.
  • Likelihood of jumping bail – There is strong evidence or proof that the accused will jump bail (fail to assist in police investigations or show up to Court hearings).

5. What Is The Bail Amount?

What Is The Bail Amount?

The police or Court will decide on a fixed bail amount (whether it’s a Court or police bail). Ideally, the bail is not meant to punish the accused but rather to assure their presence and attendance in Court.

Likewise, the Court (or police) have many considerations before deciding the amount of the bail:

  • Likelihood of the accused leaving or jumping bail if the amount is too low
  • Whether the accused has shown willingness and diligence in cooperating with the police and other law enforcement authorities;
  • Whether the accused has turned over their passport; and
  • The nature and seriousness of the offence

A Judge, Court, or police officer will put up the bail or surety at the Bail Centre located at the State Court Towers. After the bail (or bond) is executed, the accused will be released from custody.

Difference Between Monetary And Non-Monetary Bail

A bail is not always monetary and can be in the form of property so long as it’s posted by the bailor. Here are the two types of bail:

  • Non-monetary bail – The bailor can pledge personal property like jewellery or anything of value that has been fully paid. (Such is the case if the bail amount is less than or equal to $15,000). The bailor isn’t required to surrender these personal items. But they need to sign a declaration stating their ownership of the items and that their total value is enough to cover the bail sum.
  • Monetary bail – Monetary bail applies to cases where the bail amount exceeds $15,000. The bailor must offer a surety or security in cash or cash equivalents (fixed deposits). These assets will be frozen to prevent the bailor from withdrawing or exhausting them.

6. Who Can Be A Bailor?

As previously discussed, the person who posts bail is called a bailor (also known as surety). They will be responsible for executing the bail for the accused individual.

A person can only become a bailor if they meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • They are a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident aged 21 and above.
  • They have not filed for bankruptcy;
  • They don’t have any pending Court cases.
  • They are prepared to accept the responsibilities of securing the accused in their custody until Court proceedings conclude.
  • They are prepared to pledge security for the bail, as ordered by the Court or police.

Duties And Responsibilities Of A Bailor

Bailors face several responsibilities that include:

  • Ensuring the accused person surrenders to custody is available during investigations and shows up at the appointed Court hearing.
  • Frequently communicating with the accused person and filing a police report within 24 hours of not hearing from them.
  • Ensuring the accused person does not abscond or remain in Singapore unless authorities have allowed them to leave.

7. What Happens After An Accused Is Released On Bail?

What Happens After An Accused Is Released On Bail?

A person released on bail does not mean they are free from legal obligations. Like the bailor, they must show up in Court on the scheduled date and answer law enforcement as needed.

Persons released on bail must also surrender their passports. Refusal to do so can lead to their arrest or hearing before a Magistrate Judge.

Other Restrictions And Conditions For Persons Released On Bail

Unless otherwise stated by the Court or police, the accused should also ensure they don’t commit criminal offences when released.

They must not also obstruct the investigation in any form (i.e. intimidating witnesses, refusing to cooperate with the police, lying in Court, tampering with evidence, etc.)

To ensure the accused’s full cooperation, the police or Court may impose other requirements, such as electronic monitoring of the accused’s whereabouts, ordering a House Detention Order (HDO or house arrest), etc.

8. Is It Possible To Appeal Bail Decisions?

Police or Court-ordered bail cannot be appealed. However, the bailor can appeal to the General Division of the High Court (via a criminal motion) to alter the bail amount/bail restrictions.

This is possible if new evidence has shed more light on the case or if other circumstances arise during the investigation which can affect the bail decision.

9. What Happens To The Accused If They Jump Bail?

Bail jumping leads to the forfeiture of the surety or personal bond and may also be considered a criminal offence. This is especially true if the accused has jumped bail and fails to abide by the conditions.

If a person has been caught jumping bail without any reasonable excuse, the police can arrest them without a warrant. Any posted bail or personal bond will have to be forfeited thereafter.

Anyone found guilty of violating the terms of their bail will be required to pay a fine or face up to three years of imprisonment. In such cases it’s best to have legal representation from a top criminal lawyer in Singapore.


Conclusion On Bails In Singapore

Bail is the amount of money or property pledged on the release of an accused person from police custody, provided they cooperate in the ongoing investigation and attend Court hearings as scheduled.

The Court or police often have the final say on the bail amount, but the bailor can appeal before the High Court to lower the amount and/or modify the bail terms.

If you need more advice on getting released on bail in Singapore, contact any of our criminal lawyers in Singapore. We will assist you in navigating criminal proceedings and ensure the best representation for you and your interests.


Frequently Asked Questions About Bails In Singapore

Do You Get Bail Money Back In Singapore?

Yes. Your bailor will get a refund in three weeks if the Court does not end up forfeiting the bail. This is only possible after the case’s conclusion when the Court grants permission to discharge the bailor of their duties.

How Much Will It Cost To Bail Someone Out In Singapore?

There is a cap for bails relating to non-serious offences. Lawyer fees may also be covered wherever applicable. For more information on the cost of bailing someone out in Singapore, you may reach out to our criminal lawyers. We will work within a reasonable and fair budget for all our clients after assessing each case’s circumstances.

Can I Leave The Country While On Bail In Singapore?

If you’re an accused person on bail in Singapore, you must abide by the bail’s rules and restrictions. You are only allowed to leave the country after applying for and getting permission from the Court.

How Long Can Police In Singapore Detain You?

Singapore Police can only ordinarily detain an accused person for 48 hours. They will need to present their reasoning before a Magistrate if they wish to hold you in custody longer.

What Happens When A Bail Is Revoked In Singapore?

The Court can revoke the bail if they find the accused (defendant) has violated the conditions after being released on bail. This means the person will return to police custody until the next Court hearing.

About the author

About the author

Jonathan Wong

Jonathan is the Founder and Managing Director of Tembusu Law. He is also the founder of LawGuide Singapore, a prominent legaltech startup which successfully created and launched Singapore’s first legal chatbot in 2017.