How bail works in Ontario
Dec 15, 2016
If you have been accused, charged or arrested for a criminal offense in Ontario, bail is the process that can allow you to be released from police custody while you wait for your trial. The police will decide whether or not to bring someone to bail court, they may otherwise decide to release an individual from custody.
The decision to bring someone to bail court is often determined by a number factors, including the seriousness of the crime or a previous criminal record. Below is a breakdown of how bail works in Ontario.
What to expect at bail hearings
If an individual is not released by police until their court date, they will be brought to court for a bail hearing. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom allows anyone is Canada charged with an offense the right to bail unless just cause is otherwise proven. At the bail hearing, a judge or justice of peace will make a decision on whether the accused should be released on bail. Bail is written permission for an individual to be released from jail until their court date. Under the conditions of bail, the accused is assigned a surety who is then responsible to ensure the accused attends their court date and follows the conditions set for their bail.
During a bail hearing, the Crown will present the allegations against the accused to the court. This may be a police report (a synopsis) or a witness. Once this process is complete, the accused’s lawyer can present their evidence to the court, the accused may be required to testify at this time. The purpose of this evidence and the following arguments from either party is to convince the court, the accused will meet the conditions of their bail, if released. Once this process is complete, the judge will make his or her decision to keep the accused in jail or release them on bail until their trial.
The role of a surety
A surety is an individual who promises the court that they will supervise the accused while on bail and pledges money to the court, signing a bond or a recognizance. If the conditions of bail are not met or the accused is not present at the trail, the surety risks losing this money to the court.
Conditions of bail
The conditions of bail vary based on the accused’s situation and the charges they are facing. These conditions are rules that must be followed by the accused while out on bail and until their trial comes to an end. An example of a condition for an individual accused of assault, might be the accused must not contact his or her victim.
Your criminal defense attorney will protect your rights and interests throughout your case. To learn more about the criminal process in Ontario, contact one of Chown Cairns renowned St. Catharines criminal defense lawyers.