Released under Investigation vs Bail


26 July 2023

By James Compton

You have been arrested and detained at the police station and you were released under investigation instead of being released on bail, but what does this mean for you? What can you do next? Has this affected your reputation? The answer isn’t so simple.

When the police have arrested and detained a suspect, but do not have the evidence to charge them, the suspect must be released under investigation or released on bail before being charged. If you are released under investigation, you are free to leave the station with no conditions against yourself, however the police may conduct further investigations against you, and there is still a risk that you may face prosecution.

Alternatively, if you are released on pre-charge bail, you are also free to leave the station however you will be subject to conditions imposed by the police. Bail conditions imposed could range from restrictions on your activities, areas you must not enter or people you must not contact or may involve requirements to re-attend the police station at a later date.

It’s essential to understand that although you have been released under investigation this does not mean that you are innocent or guilty. It simply means that the police have insufficient evidence at the time of the arrest to charge you. Unlike police bail, being RUI’d offers no automatic time limit for the police to complete their investigations, meaning this could continue on for months with no outcome or decision to prosecute.

Changes in the Law

As of August 2022, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Court Act put provisions into place to encourage the police to prioritise the use of pre-charge bail where necessary, rather than RUI. Custody officers will now have the power to authorise pre-charge bail for a period of three months in standard cases. Any extension after this point will require an approval from an officer of an inspector level or above, which will then allow pre-charge bail for six months. A superintendent or above will then have the power to authorise a pre-charge bail for nine months. Any further extensions beyond this point will require Judicial approval.

This new change is intended to promote officers to reach a charging decision within shorter time frame or by nine months at the most. It’s important to note that being released under investigation does not mean that you are exempt from being arrested in connection for the same offence again. Should you wish these matters to be settled efficiently and effectively you’ll require a dedicated team of professionals to communicate with the officers regularly and make representations on your behalf and protect your rights.

If you think you’re going to be arrested, be sure to contact Gepps Solicitors or request us upon arrival at the police station.