2. How long you can be held in custody

The police can hold you for up to 24 hours before they have to charge you with a crime or release you.

They can apply to hold you for up to 36 or 96 hours if you’re suspected of a serious crime, eg murder.

You can be held without charge for up to 14 days If you’re arrested under the Terrorism Act.

When you can be released on bail

The police can release you on police bail if there’s not enough evidence to charge you. You don’t have to pay to be released on police bail, but you’ll have to return to the station for further questioning when asked.

You can be released on conditional bail if the police charge you and think that you may:

  • commit another offence
  • fail to turn up at court
  • intimidate other witnesses
  • obstruct the course of justice

This means your freedom will be restricted in some way, eg they can impose a curfew on you if your offence was committed at night.

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