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Bail Hearings

Bail Hearings Explained

Does or someone you know, have an upcoming bail hearing in Toronto, Brampton, Newmarket, etc?

Checklist of things you can do

1)      Immediately get into touch with a criminal defence lawyer who practices in or near your geographical location.

2)      Contact the police to determine

  1. The detention centre in which the accused is being held, and
  2. The Courthouse where the accused will be taken to for a bail hearing

3)      Determine who would be able to act as a suitably surety for the accused, should one be required as a condition for the bail (the criminal defence lawyer you retain will be able to assist you with this)

4)      Show up at the bail hearing, early if possible, but definitely on time, to show the Court your support for accused.

What happens when the police charge and detain someone?

When the police arrest and charge someone, they have one of two options.  They can either release the accused on a promise to appear.  Or they can detain them, and present them to either a Judge or a Justice of the Peace for a Judicial Interim Release Hearing, more commonly known as a bail hearing.   If the police chose the latter option, the accused must be presented to a Judge, or a justice of the peace, depending on the charge, within 24 hours of their detention, or as soon as possible thereafter, for a bail hearing.

Bail hearings are one of the most pivotal and crucial aspects of a criminal law case.  If bail is denied, the accused may be held in jail pending the outcome of the charges.  This is called pre-trial custody.  This is not only very personally trying for the accused, it also makes preparing for the case very difficult.  What’s worse, if the accused is ultimately found innocent of the charges, there is no legal recourse to make amends for the time that was spend in pre-trial custody.  If, on the other hand, the accused is found guilty of the charges, the time spend in pre-trial custody can be used to credit the sentence handed to the accused at a sentencing hearing.

Because Bail Hearings are very important, and can be very complicated, you should contact a criminal defence lawyer immediately upon arrest.  The lawyer can advise you of your or your loved one’s rights, and can prepare the case for a hearing, if one is required.

What happens at the Bail Hearing?

When an accused is arrested and detained, they must be presented in front of a Judge or a Justice of the Peace for a bail hearing, or a show-cause hearing. Depending on the particular circumstances of the accused and the charges against him/her, bail may be granted or denied.  If most cases, the Crown bears the onus of showing that the accused should be detained in jail pending the outcome of the charges against the accused.   For more serious allegations, the onus is on the accused.  Regardless of which party bears the onus, the Crown can always seek the detention of the accused at the bail hearing.  If the accused is held in jail pending the outcome of the charges, in addition to disrupting the accused’s day to day life and being physically and emotionally trying for the accused, this makes it very difficult for the criminal defence lawyer to prepare for the case.

In almost all cases, a surety will be required to post bail for the accused.

What is a surety? 

In most cases, the Crown and the Court will want a surety to post bail for the accused.  A surety is essentially a community-based supervisor for the accused.  The conditions of the accused’s release will often require that they be regularly monitored by the surety, and that they listen and obey the surety’s rules and wishes.  In addition, the surety will most likely be required to provide some security to the court, usually in the form of a promise to pay a certain amount of monies into the court, in the event that they were to fail in their duties as a surety.  Whether someone is a suitably surety will depend on their personal background and relationship to the accused.  Your criminal defence lawyer can help you assess whether a person is a suitable surety.

At all times, the surety must be willing and able to impose the terms of the bail on the accused.  If at any time, the surety is no longer able to supervise or monitor the accused, they can apply to the court to be removed as a surety.  In such cases, the accused will be taken back into custody, pending the court approval of another suitable surety.

If the accused breaks the conditions of his/her bail, it is the surety’s legal responsibility to inform the police and surrender the accused to the proper authorities.  If the surety is unable to properly perform their legal duties, they may be required to pay into court the money they posted for the accused’s bail.

As a surety, you can obtain the advice of a lawyer to help you understand you understand and uphold your legal obligation, or to assist you in being removed as a surety, should you no longer wish to be one.

If you, or someone you know, have been arrested and detained by the police, you should contact a lawyer immediately.  Our lawyers represent clients all around the Greater Toronto Area, including Toronto, Brampton, Scarborough, Mississauga, North York, Oshawa, and Newmarket.