Bail Hearing – Ontario: A Comprehensive Guide by Sondhi Defence

Explore the intricacies of bail hearings in Ontario with Sondhi Defence. Understand your rights, the process, and how our expert legal team can support you.

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An Overview of Bail Hearings in Ontario

When arrested for a criminal offence, a bail hearing is your first court appearance before a judge to determine whether you will be released before trial or held in jail. The importance of this hearing cannot be overstated, as it can affect your entire case.

Criminal defence lawyers Sondhi Defence can assist you in navigating the proceedings properly. Our team offers solid defence strategies in navigating bail hearings across Ontario.

If you need help understanding how Ontario bail hearings work, this guide is for you. Read on to understand what to expect during a bail hearing in Ontario.

Understanding Bail Hearings in Ontario

A bail hearing is a legal proceeding that follows an arrest where the accused is not released by the arresting police officer. It determines whether to release the arrested individual pending trial or keep them in custody. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms acknowledges reasonable bail as a constitutional right. If you are accused of a criminal offence, you have a constitutional right to reasonable bail and a timely bail hearing. 

If you are in police custody, appearing in court within 24 hours of your arrest is mandatory. Section 515 of the Criminal Code outlines that persons charged with criminal offences have the right to be released on bail. However, the release may be denied if the Crown prosecutor establishes reasons for detention based on the following grounds:

  1. Ensuring the accused person attends future court appearances
  2. Protecting public safety
  3. Maintaining confidence in the administration of justice

Factors Considered in Bail Hearings

Before your hearing, the Crown must decide whether or not they consent to your release. If not, the bail hearing will be of a contested nature. A consent release may be agreed upon by your defence and the Crown, where the two parties agree on your eligibility for bail as well as the conditions. The presiding judge or justice of the peace has the discretion to accept or deny the consent release. They will listen to the criminal allegations and review your prior criminal charges, if any.

If the Crown prosecutor opposes your release, they must prove why you must be held in jail. However, if you are accused of a serious crime, such as murder, the burden of proof may shift to you. In this case, you will have to explain why you should be granted bail.

Your lawyer or duty counsel can represent you during the bail proceedings. Your lawyer will present your release plan and all the supporting arguments for your release. They will also propose bail conditions that have the potential of securing your release. They may also address any potential substance-related issues related to your arrest. 

Your lawyer may propose supervision by a surety to ensure you will comply with bail conditions and attend court. The surety will lose deposited or promised money if you violate the terms of your bail.

How the Bail Hearing Process Works in Ontario

The bail hearing process in Ontario follows steps outlined in the Ontario Court of Justice Protocol. Here is a brief breakdown of the process:

  • Arrest: A police officer arrests you and books you in jail awaiting a bail hearing.

  • Timely Bail Hearing: Ontario law requires a bail hearing within 24 hours. The bail hearings usually take place in the Ontario Court of Justice. 

  • Evidence and Submissions: The Crown prosecutor and the defence present evidence and submissions during the hearing. They may also propose conditions to address any concerns.

  • Decision: The judge decides based on the evidence and legal arguments. They may grant a release with or without conditions or detention until trial.

  • Bail Review: If you disagree with the bail decision, you may request a bail review by the Superior Court of Justice.

Factors Considered in Bail Hearings

During a bail hearing, the judges consider various factors when deciding bail. These may include:

  • The nature of the alleged offence

  • The accused’s criminal history

  • Ties to the community

  • The likelihood of attending court proceedings

It is crucial to seek legal presentation during your bail hearing. A skilled defence lawyer from Sondhi Defence can negotiate with the Crown for your release under favourable conditions or present compelling evidence during the hearing to convince the judge.

What Are the Common Bail Conditions in Ontario?

A release order may include specific conditions that you need to adhere to. Some of these conditions include:

  • Avoiding contact with the alleged victim or witnesses

  • Geographic restrictions

  • Travel ban

  • Reporting to a bail officer

Failure to comply with the bail conditions may result in an arrest, detention, or more criminal charges.

Types of Bail in Ontario

There are different types of bail in Ontario, each with conditions and requirements. Examples include:

  • Own Recognizance: In this form of bail, the accused is released based on their written promise to appear in court.

  • Bail programs: The Bail Verification and Supervision Program (BVSP) offers supervision for qualifying individuals who lack the necessary resources to fulfill bail obligations. An assigned caseworker oversees the accused’s adherence to bail conditions.

  • Surety recognizance: A Surety is a person who commits to the court to oversee the accused and ensure they comply with their bail conditions. The surety must pledge a specific amount of money to the court, which will be recovered once the case is closed.

  • House arrest: A house arrest is the most restrictive form of bail. It involves the release of the accused to remain inside their house under the supervision of a surety or ankle monitor.

How to Prepare for Your Bail Hearing

Preparation is the key to a successful bail hearing. Therefore, consulting with a criminal defence lawyer immediately is recommended. They can guide you on your specific situation and possible bail conditions while helping you understand the legal process.

Collecting Evidence in Bail Hearings

Collecting all relevant information to support your case for release is crucial. Get letters of support or character references from family, employers, or community members. These should highlight your positive attributes and emphasize your ties to the community.

Your lawyer will guide you on what evidence is needed at this stage.

Creating a Release Plan

You need to create a detailed release plan while preparing for your bail hearing. Outline where you will reside if released and how you intend to comply with proposed bail conditions. Your plan must address any drug issues or potential obstacles to your release. You should also include information on possible sureties.

What Are My Rights at the Bail Hearing?

According to Section 11 (e) of the Charter of Rights, you have specific rights during a bail hearing. Here are some rights you have at a bail hearing in Ontario:

  • Presumption of innocence until proven guilty

  • Reasonable bail

  • Legal counsel

  • Not to be denied bail without just cause

  • Timely bail hearing

  • Present and cross-examine evidence

  • Interpreter services

  • Appeal the decision

Our Approach to Bail Hearings At Sondhi Defence

We adopt a comprehensive approach to bail hearings. From preparation to presentation, our team has the skills and experience to increase your chances of release. Our defence strategies for bail hearings involve various elements, including:

  • Offering legal advice
  • Developing a solid release plan
  • Presenting evidence
  • Proposing reasonable bail conditions
  • Leveraging legal precedents
  • Negotiating with the prosecution to explore consent releases or less restrictive bail conditions
  • Keeping you informed every step of the way

Secure a Faster Release Today With Sondhi Defence

If you or your loved one is facing a bail hearing in Ontario, seeking legal advice is crucial. Securing effective legal counsel can be the key to freedom. We are ready to guide you in navigating these legal complexities at Sondhi Defence.

Remember that knowledge, preparation, and effective representation are your greatest allies. We stand by your side, supporting you to ensure a favourable outcome for your case. For more help, do not hesitate to contact Sondhi Defence and schedule a free consultation.

Get In Touch

If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offence, call us right away at 1 (855) 4-SONDHI and get our team on your side. 

Andrew George Cowan
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