U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Absconding on Bail

NCJ Number
Marilyn Chilvers; Jacqui Allen; Peter Doak
Date Published
May 2002
12 pages
This study obtained information on the bail status and general profile of persons granted bail in cases finalized in the New South Wales (Australia) criminal courts between 1995 and 2000.
The information reported addresses the proportion of persons who had been formally charged by police and who were on bail at the time of their final appearance before a court. Data also show trends in the likelihood of persons charged with a particular offense or having a criminal history being granted bail. Other issues considered were the incidence of failure to appear before the courts by defendants who had been granted bail, as well as the conviction and imprisonment rates of persons who were in custody (refused bail) at the time of case completion. The study found that the proportion of persons on bail in cases finalized in both the local and higher courts generally decreased between 1995 and 2000, while the rate of bail refusal increased. In 14.6 percent of local court cases in 2000, persons on bail failed to appear at court, and the court issued a warrant. This constituted 14.9 percent of all persons on bail at the time of case completion. Persons with prior convictions were far more likely to have a warrant issued against them for failing to appear at court while on bail; and in the local courts, persons with multiple concurrent offenses were more likely to have a warrant issued for failure to appear at court. Persons charged with theft offenses, receiving stolen property, breaking and entering, and disorderly conduct in the local courts were more likely to fail to appear at court while on bail. In the higher courts, the highest probability of failing to appear at court while on bail occurred for persons charged with serious drug offenses or burglary, although the number were small in each category. For the local courts, more than 85 percent of persons refused bail were eventually convicted; and for the higher courts, the average conviction rate for such defendants was almost 88 percent. For the local courts, 51 percent of those refused bail and convicted were sentenced to imprisonment. For the higher courts, the figure was 81 percent. 14 tables, 6 figures, and 13 notes