The importance of being proactive when released on pre-charge bail or released under investigation

Arrests for most offences carry a custody time limit of 24 hours, although extension to 36 hours can be authorised by a high-ranking police officer or longer by magistrates. This means the police usually have only a relatively short time to decide whether to charge or release a suspect.


Where the police have insufficient evidence to pursue a charge but wish to continue investigating the offence, the suspect is often be released on Pre-Charge Bail (PCB), but they can also be Released Under Investigation (RUI).

Being RUI means that the individual is released from police custody without conditions or any idea of whether or when the police will want to speak to them again. The police cannot impose any conditions on an individual subject to RUI.


Being released on PCB means that there is a time limit by which the police must decide whether to press charges, not to charge or further extend bail. This may follow a further police interview. It also means that the individual may be subject to a variety of conditions (commonly in relation to residence, contact, curfew or foreign travel). Importantly, unlike RUI, the PCB process is subject to oversight by the court.


The impact of being RUI or subject to PCB

Being RUI or released on PCB can have a significant impact both for the individual concerned and their family and friends. It may, for example, mean they are unable to use property seized by the police such as a vehicle, laptop, mobile phone or cash. In some cases, it may mean considering any contractual or other obligation to tell an employer or prospective employer about the ongoing investigation.

The impact will obviously be more marked for those individuals who are subject to bail conditions such as those mentioned above.

In all cases there will be the stress of being under police investigation.


What you can do – be proactive

Taking a proactive approach and ensuring that you are doing everything you can to help your defence is critical.


This could involve following up with the police regularly to ensure that the investigation is being progressed and gathering or preserving evidence such as documents, photos, CCTV footage, text messages, tracing witnesses and taking statements.


Being RUI or subject to PCB can be a stressful and challenging experience. Taking action can help you to feel more empowered as you know you have done what you can to protect your position.


Speak to us

Individuals subject to PCB or RUI need to be proactive and should seek specialist legal advice about the case against them.

Get in touch with us if you would like to know more about how we can look after your interests and help you achieve the best outcome possible.