Criminal Defence

 

Arrest

When can You be Arrested?

When police reasonably suspect you of committing a serious offence and wishes to take you into custody for investigations or to charge you in Court, the police may make an arrest.

How is an Arrest Made?

Informing you that you are arrested and by touching or by holding may amount to arrest. If you are likely to attempt an escape, you will be handcuffed. Reasonable force may be used to arrest you. You may ask the officer for his/her official identification and the reason for your arrest.

What Happens After You are Arrested

On arrest, you may be searched and brought to a police station for questioning. Pending questioning, you may be detained in a lock-up. You will be required to surrender whatever you have on you. A list of these things will be made and you will be asked to confirm it. A copy of this list will be given to you.

You may be detained for a maximum period of 48 hours from the time of your arrest. If the officer wants to detain you for more than 48 hours, he must bring you to Court. During this period you may be taken out for searches.

In Court, the officer must tell the Judge why he wants to detain you further. The Judge will consider the reason/s given and then decide whether you are to be further detained.

If the police or other officers do not wish to detain you for more than 48 hours they will let you go on a personal promise or put you on police bail to make sure you go back to the station or attend Court when told to do so.

Being Charged for an Offence After Arrest

You may be arrested before, during or after investigation. You may be required to give a statement. If the police decide to charge you, they will ask you to sign a cautioned statement asking you to state your defence. If you have a defence, you should always say so in the cautioned statement. Your defence may not be believed if you fail to mention it in the cautioned statement but raise it later at trial.

If you are formally charged, you will be produced in Court. If you are to be charged in Court, your fingerprints may be taken by an officer and you may be photographed at the Criminal Records Office, Criminal Investigation Department (CID). This means that there will be a record of you at the CID.

However, if you are acquitted of the offence in Court or if the charge is withdrawn, you can write to the CID for the return of the record of your fingerprints and negatives.

Telling Your Family or Lawyer of Your Arrest

When you are arrested and detained you can request to make a call to your family or a lawyer telling them of your arrest. You may also request visits by your family or a lawyer. These requests may be refused if it will interfere with the investigation carried out by the officers. The law allows you to consult a lawyer of your choice.

Bail

Bail is a security either in cash or by an undertaking given to the Court or to the police to ensure that the person released on bail (the accused) returns to the Court or to the police station as and when required to do so.

The person furnishing such a security is known as a bailor or a surety. When a person agrees to be a bailor or a surety, he is said to be "standing bail".

Depending on the amount, the Court or the police officer may allow more than one bailor for the person bailed.

When May a Person be Released on Bail

While most offences allow the accused the right to bail, some offences are non-bailable. However; a Magistrate or District Judge has the discretion to grant bail even though the offence is non-bailable unless the offence is one where the punishment is death or life imprisonment.

How much is Bail?

The amount of bail depends very much on the seriousness of the offence. Bail may be increased or reduced at any time by applying to the Court. If the police asks for bail in the sum of S$5,000.00 or more, the ability (means) of the bailor to stand bail will first of all have to be checked by the police and reported to the Court before granting the bail. A bailor may show his ability to stand bail by depositing cash, or producing fixed deposit certificates, bank passbooks, car log books, title deeds to a property, share certificates or valuables.

How much is Bail?

The amount of bail depends very much on the seriousness of the offence. Bail may be increased or reduced at any time by applying to the Court. If the police asks for bail in the sum of S$5,000.00 or more, the ability (means) of the bailor to stand bail will first of all have to be checked by the police and reported to the Court before granting the bail. A bailor may show his ability to stand bail by depositing cash, or producing fixed deposit certificates, bank passbooks, car log books, title deeds to a property, share certificates or valuables.

Bail Centre

In the State Courts, all bail applications are processed by the Bail Centre.

Conditions of Bail

The law requires that the person released on bail must not leave Singapore without the permission of the Court or the police officer. Sometimes, the accused may also be asked to surrender his passport to the police.

The bailor or surety must also give his consent before the Court or the police would allow the accused to leave Singapore.

If there is more than one bailor, then the consent of all the bailors or sureties must be obtained.

Consequences of "Jumping Bail"

If the accused fails to appear at the designated time and place (this is also known as "jumping bail"), a warrant of arrest may be issued against him.

Under such circumstances, unless sufficient reasons are given to the Court, the bail may be forfeited and/or the bailor may be ordered to pay a penalty.

Further, unless good reasons are given to the Court why the accused has "jumped bail", he would not be offered bail again if he is arrested.

Return of Bail

The duties of the bailor cease when the Court, has made a decision (e.g. when the accused is found to be not guilty of the offence ("acquitted"), or is found to be guilty of the offence ("convicted")) and sentenced.

The bailor can then take back the items which he has deposited with the Court. This is processed by the Finance Section of the State Courts.

Withdrawal of Bailor

The bailor can withdraw from standing bail for the accused at any time before the case is completed. If the accused cannot find a substitute bailor, he will be remanded in prison until the date of his conviction or acquittal.