Bail and Bail Bonds
It can be extremely distressing when your loved one gets arrested and imprisoned, particularly when that happens in a foreign country. The first and immediate action to take is to contact a trusted lawyer to help obtain a provisional release by applying for bail. By law, anyone accused of a criminal offense in Thailand shall have the right to receive bail and remain free temporarily with a requirement that sufficient securities are lodged to guarantee his or her presence in court.
Being in the custody of law enforcement officials makes it difficult for the accused to prepare for trial. It is common to apply for bail in Thailand as in other countries, but the mechanism may not be that straightforward depending on the nature of the associated case. It is also important to note that not all offenses are qualified for bail.
In addition, if the accused is a foreign national, there may be complications in regard to visa and immigration. Therefore, choosing the right lawyer to assist in the bail application and represent the defendant in the criminal case is essentially significant.
Definition of Bail and Bail Bonds
In simple terms, bail or bail bonds refer to the money or other forms of sureties that the accused must provide to the court in order to be released from prison. This is considered as an assurance that after the release, the accused will return and be present in court to defend the case on a scheduled date. Should the individual fail to adhere to the arrangement, the bail will be forfeited.
Though bail and bail bonds are often used interchangeably, they are not exactly the same. Bail is the amount paid to the court by the defendant to secure his or her release while bail bond is posted on behalf of the defendant by another individual or entity, such as insurance providers.
Criteria for Bail Application
In Thailand, the accused or the defendant cannot be released without approval from the ruling court. The Thai Criminal Procedure stipulates the criteria that will be considered by the court in deciding whether to grant the defendant a release on bail. These criteria include:
- The severity of the offense
- The availability and credibility of the evidence and the witness
- The circumstances of the case
- The trustworthiness of the applicant and the validity of the bail
- The tendency of the defendant to escape the trial
- The possibility of harm or injury that may occur to the victim or the witness, or any tampering with the evidence following the release
- Any objection by the victim, plaintiff, prosecutor, or the inquirer
Nonetheless, the granting of bail ultimately depends on the court’s discretion and analysis. In the event that the bail request is denied, the defendant will have an opportunity to make arguments before the court.
When to Apply for Bail?
The accused or the defendant may lodge an application for temporary release at different stages as follow:
- When the request for incarceration is submitted to the court by the police or the public prosecutor
- When the accused is at the stage where the charge is filed against him or her and the accused becomes the defendant, the application for provisional release can be submitted to the court of the first instance.
- When the defendant is sentenced to imprisonment and intends to appeal, he or she may lodge the application to any court of appeal prior to filing the appeal request depending on the circumstances at hand.
What are the Forms of Guarantee for Bail?
By law, there are three forms of securities that are used to request temporary release.
- A deposit using cash
- A deposit using assets, such as bank accounts or title deeds as financial security
- An individual binding his or herself as the guarantee, such as using the public official status or employment title
In any case, whether the securities for the bail are sufficient will be settled by the court.
What is the Minimum Amount of Bail Required?
Unfortunately, there is no stipulated minimum amount of bail prescribed in the law as the amount varies from case to case.
The minimum bail amount is decided by the judge of the presiding jurisdiction. The judge will take into account the severity of the crime, the nature of the case, the evidence, and the quality of the application.
In most criminal cases, the bail amount is pre-determined for particular crimes. However, in case the defendant is unable to meet the expected amount, he or she may ask for a bail reduction by proposing a reasonable and acceptable sum to the judge for deliberation.
The Right to Request for Bail
Having the right to bail means the ability to remain at liberty before the court issues a verdict on the associated criminal charge.
In Thailand, the core principle of the law is that the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Thus, an individual accused of a criminal offense in the Kingdom is entitled to apply for a temporary release regardless of nationality.
Can the Bail Application be Denied?
The court may decide to refuse the granting of bail to the accused or the defendant considering the accusation and the details of the case. If the followings apply, the request for temporary release may be denied.
- The accused or the defendant is inclined to escape.
- The accused or the defendant tampered with the evidence.
- The accused or the defendant may inflict harm or injury to others.
- The individual posting for the bail or the security offered is deemed unreliable
- The temporary release, if granted, will impede the court’s trial or the officials’ inquiry.
What Happens After the Provisional Release?
In every case, a bail receipt will be issued by the court upon granting the temporary release. If the defendant is proven innocent or conforms to the court’s verdict if found guilty, the security posted as a guarantee will be returned to the entitled person once the final ruling is made.
Applying for bail is time sensitive and, in some cases, negotiation with the court is necessary if the bail is refused or the preset amount is unacceptable by the defendant. It will be challenging to comprehensively understand the bail mechanism and your entitled rights in Thailand. That is why having a well-rounded and experienced lawyer to represent you can help prevent undesirable time in prison.
Siam Legal is ready to assist you with bail applications and prepare for defenses in trials. We have advised Thai and international clients on bail requests and complex criminal cases on the optimal approach to pursue. Our lawyers will be able to provide insights into the court’s assessment of the bail application to ensure the request is credible and sufficient for approval.
If you have questions related to bail applications, feel free to contact us.