Police Procedure: Detention at the Police Station & Bail

Drink Driving Police Procedure - Detention & Bail

Detention at the Police Station & Bail for Drink Drivers




Detaining Arrested Drink Drivers at the Police Station

Once a breath, blood or urine specimen has been provided or a person has failed to provide a specimen. s. 10 The Road Traffic Act 1988 [1] provides the police with the power to detain that person in police custody.

s. 10 The Road Traffic Act 1988 [1] states:

(1) [...] a person required [...] to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine may afterwards be detained at a police station (or, if the specimen was provided otherwise than at a police station, arrested and taken to and detained at a police station) if a constable has reasonable grounds for believing] that, were that person then driving or attempting to drive a [mechanically propelled vehicle] on a road, he would [commit] an offence [...]

Depending upon the type of specimen provided and/or the results of the evidential alcohol breath test, a person can either be released without charge, bailed to attend the police station at a later date or charged and bailed to appear at a Magistrates Court.


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Police Bail

After a person has been arrested and processed by the police. Police bail can be granted to a suspect by a custody officer at the police station. They can be released on police bail with or without being charged for any alleged alcohol related motoring offence.

The meaning of police bail in criminal and alcohol related driving proceedings is defined in s. 1 of The Bail Act 1976 [2] which states:

[...] "bail in criminal proceedings" means:

  1. bail grantable in or in connection with proceedings for an offence to a person who is accused or convicted of the offence, or
  2. bail grantable in connection with an offence to a person who is under arrest for the offence or for whose arrest for the offence a warrant (endorsed for bail) is being issued.

[...]

[...] Bail in criminal proceedings shall be granted (and in particular shall be granted unconditionally or conditionally)

The type of bail a person is granted will depend on if they are charged with an offence or not.


Police Bail Without Charge - Bailed to Appear at a Police Station

Police bail without charge is usually granted to suspects who provide blood/urine samples as opposed to breath samples upon their initial arrest or in cases where a back calculation is to be carried out.

The (PACE) The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 [3] makes provisions that where there is insufficient evidence to charge a person then they can be released on police bail pending further inquiries.

In cases where a person has provided a blood or urine specimen for analysis they are usually released on bail without charge and will be bailed to attend the police station at a later date when the police laboratory specimen analysis results should be available. They are released without charge because there is insufficient evidence as to their blood alcohol content for charges to be brought against them at the time the specimen was provided.

Once a person returns to the police station on the specified date they will be informed of the blood/urine specimen analysis results.

If the blood/urine specimen results DO NOT exceed the maximum legal prescribed limit then they should be released without charge.

If the blood/urine specimen results DO exceed the maximum legal prescribed limit then they will be charged accordingly and re-released on bail to appear at a magistrates court at a later date (see below).

In some cases a person may be released by the police without charge and without bail pending any laboratory specimen testing. If the laboratory test results show that a person was over the legal prescribed limit then they may simply be issued with a summons or requisition to attend court on a specified date. This will arrive through the post.


Police Bail after Charge - Bailed to Appear at Court

Police bail after charge is usually granted to suspects who provide breath, blood or urine specimens that exceed the maximum legal prescribed limit.

If a person is charged with a drink driving related offence either upon their initial arrest or at a later date after surrendering to police bail without charge then they will be re-bailed to appear at a magistrates court at a later date.

When a person is released on bail after being formally charged, their is a statutory requirement upon the custody officer to appoint a date for their court appearance. The court date will usually be within a few weeks of being charged.

Helpful Guide to Appearing at Magistrates Court for Drink Driving Related Offences


Failing to Surrender to Bail

Failing to surrender to police bail by not attending the police station on the specified date will allow police officers to arrest a person without warrant.

Failing to appear at a magistrates court, after bail has been granted and when required to do so on the specified date and time may see a warrant issued for a persons arrest and further charges may be brought against them.

Penalties for failing to surrender to bail could include fines, community orders and in some cases imprisonment. This will be in addition to any penalties imposed for the original charge(s).


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Reference:

[1] Road Traffic Act 1988

[2] Bail Act 1976

[3] Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984

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