In South Africa three ‘types’ of Bail exist, namely, Police Bail, Prosecutors Bail and ‘Court’ Bail.
For minor offences ’Police Bail’ can be granted or the police may release you on a warning. You can normally successfully apply for Police Bail after you are arrested for drinking and driving (DUI) or drunken driving.
In practice, Police Officers normally do not oppose bail for these types of offences, but if you were involved in an accident or you became aggressive with the Police Officers, it becomes more difficult to arrange bail.
With Police Bail the Investigating Officer will normally propose an amount as bail or if the Investigating Officer is not available, the Charge Office Commander will decide on the bail amount of bail.
After payment of the bail money the arrested person will be released from custody. Only Officers with sufficient rank can make the decision to grant or refuse police bail.
When you ‘make Bail’ you will be warned to appear in Court on a specific date for your first Court appearance.
If you cannot get Bail, you must be brought before a Court as soon as reasonably possible, but not later than 48 hours after the arrest. If the period of 48 hours expires outside the normal Court hours (or on a day which is not an ordinary Court day) the Police must bring you before a Court by the end of the first following Court day and no later.
Your first Court appearance.
If you were granted Police Bail you must appear personally on the first Court appearance date as set out on your Bail Receipt. You also must appear on all further occasions that the case is postponed to. If you are still in Custody at the time of your first Court appearance, you may apply for Bail. If you fail to appear on the Court date the Court will most likely issue a warrant for your arrest.
The first Court appearance will most likely be traumatic for you and your family, but do not worry about it too much, nothing bad will happen to you at this time if you are released on bail.
The Court will postpone the matter at this time for one of many reasons such as giving the State an opportunity to finalise the investigation and for the State to obtain the blood analysis back from the Police Forensic Laboratory.