Bail in Thailand – The Facts
- In 90% of criminal cases the amount of bail for a particular crime is pre-set by the court. (example: rape is pre-set at 200,000 Thai baht) The remaining 10% represents the most serious crimes for which bail is not set.
- A defendant is not automatically released from custody by paying the pre-set bail amount. Prior to the defendant’s release the presiding judge must approve the defendant’s release. The presiding judge can deny the release of the defendant even when payment has been made of the pre-set bail amount based on a number of factors, including but not limited to: (i) the judge’s opinion that the crime committed and the way it was committed warrants a higher amount of bail, (ii) that the defendant is a flight risk, (iii) the prosecutor or police have recommended the prisoner not be released.
- When bail is deny, the judge will never state an alternative bail amount. The judge will simply deny the bail request. It is incumbent upon the defendant or his lawyer to offer the court an amount of bail that is acceptable to the court.
- The defendant can not be released from prison until the presiding judge approves the amount of bail to be paid, and approves the defendants release.
- Once bail is denied, all subsequent (second or third) bail requests are much more difficult and have a greater chance of being denied. It is wise to extend ones best efforts from the beginning.
Getting Bail in Thailand with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
- A bail request is submitted in all cases, even when the bail amount has been pre-set.
- Bail requests that are submitted to the presiding judge with compelling written and oral arguments of why bail should be granted have a greater likelihood of being approved. In addition we must submit an offer of the amount of bail to be paid. This may be the pre-set amount or another amount. The court will not grant a bail request and state the amount to be paid. We must submit an offer. When submitting the offer we must consider your ability to pay and the minimum amount the court will accept based on our experience.
- Bail requests that are submitted by an experience criminal defense attorney with extensive bail experience have a greater likelihood of being approved.
- Bail requests that are submitted without the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, can and often do, result in repeated denials and the defendant remaining in prison through the trial (1-2 years) and for long periods of time if convicted.
- In some cases an experienced criminal defense attorney can obtain “International Bail” permitting the defendant to travel home. Extradition from other than Asian countries is uncommon.