What to expect at a bail hearing

What is a bail hearing?


A Bail Hearing is a hearing where the Crown will attempt to convince a Judge or Justice of the Peace why you should not be released. If charged with certain offenses, you may bear the onus of convincing a judge that your ought to be released with or without conditions.


What are the grounds of detention?


There are three overarching considerations or grounds of detention why you should not be released.

1. Primary Grounds – You may not go to court when required.

2. Secondary Grounds – You may commit another crime or the public may be at risk if you are released.

3. Tertiary – The public would feel that the justice system is not working if you’re let out of custody.


Section 515 of the Criminal Code codifies the “Ladder Principle” which requires the least onerous form of release to be considered before stepping up the ladder to a more onerous one. Courts are required to ensure that the form of release and the conditions of release imposed on an accused be no more onerous than necessary to address the risks identified.


What are “Bail Conditions”?


Bail Conditions are conditions imposed by the court if an accused is released. Some example of Bail Conditions include: not to communicate with someone, not to attend a specific address, and live with a surety.


The Bail Conditions intended to be particularized to curtail identified risks posed by a particular accused and are to be imposed with restraint. Restraint is required because bail conditions limit the liberty of someone who is presumed innocent of the underlying offence. Our experienced lawyers work with you to develop a Bail Plan that is workable and addresses any risks that may be identified by the Crown.


What is a Surety?


A Surety is someone who agrees to take responsibility for supervising a person accused of a crime. Being a surety is a serious commitment. A Surety agrees to supervise an accused person that has been released from custody.


What is a Pledge?


A Surety will need to pledge a sum of money to the court. A pledge is a sum of money may be required to be paid to the court if the Surety fails to uphold their duties of a surety.


What are the duties of a surety?


The duties of a surety are to ensure that an accused person attends court when required, abides by their conditions of release and does not reoffend. The responsibility as a surety continues until the case is completely over. This can last a very long time, it can be months or even years.


What to do if you or your loved one is held for a Bail Hearing?


It is important to speak with an experienced criminal defence lawyer to create a bail plan that will be the least onerous on the accused and that will satisfy the court. This can sometimes include a Surety. It is important for your lawyer to begin working on a bail plan as soon as possible. Sometimes this is before the accused steps into police custody.


Why is it important to get the Bail plan right the first time?


It is important to get your bail right initially because you may be detained pending the conclusion of your matter or even if released, you may be placed with onerous conditions. If you are determined not to be releasable, you can try again in the Superior Court of Justice at a Bail Review, if there has been a change in your circumstances, or if there had been an error of law. You may also end up with a long list of restrictive conditions that may be difficult for you to follow and lead to further Criminal Code offenses. If you wish to get conditions changed, you will need to make an application to the Superior Court of Justice if the Crown does not consent.


For further assistance, please contact us at 1-866-720-2245.


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