Canada’s Bail System
Canada’s bail system is an essential component of the criminal justice system. It allows those accused of committing a criminal offence to be released from custody and await their trial out of jail.
If you’re accused of a criminal offence in Ontario, consider consulting a criminal defence lawyer skilled in bail hearings. At Sondhi Defence, we understand the complexity of criminal law and how difficult it is to navigate it without proper legal guidance. Our lawyers have experience obtaining favourable outcomes in bail hearings in Ontario and are ready to help you, too.
Understanding Bail in Canada
A bail is a court order permitting an individual charged with a crime to be released from custody while awaiting trial. However, not all those accused receive bail. Under the Criminal Code, bail may be denied based on the following grounds:
- Flight risk: the court is not confident the accused will attend court
- To maintain public safety: The court believes the accused poses a threat to public safety.
- To maintain confidence in the Canadian justice system: Bail may be denied if the court determines it may undermine the public’s trust in the justice system.
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms recognizes bail as a constitutional right. You may not be denied reasonable bail without a “just cause.” Any reason based on one of the three grounds listed above is considered a just cause.
The Canadian bail system shares, as part of the criminal justice system as a whole, is the responsibility of provinces, territories, and the federal government. While all criminal laws are created and enacted at the federal level, the administration of justice. Managing the bail system, then, falls on the provinces.
Types of Bail in Canada
The court considers the seriousness of the offence and criminal history to determine the type of bail granted. At Sondhi Defense, our lawyers can work to help you get the most lenient and favourable bail possible. Common bail types include:
- Surety bail: A surety is a person who agrees to take responsibility for the accused and ensure their court attendance and compliance with bail conditions. The surety may be required to deposit cash as security or sign a bail bond.
- Own recognizance. It’s a bail where the accused individual is released based on their pledge to appear in court. You may be subjected to certain conditions and be required to sign a document to acknowledge obligations.
- Bail program: A caseworker will be assigned to supervise you and ensure your compliance with bail conditions. You may be required to report to the caseworker, among other conditions.
Common Bail Conditions
Bail conditions imposed on an accused person vary depending on case circumstances and court discretion. Failure to comply with bail conditions can result in bail revocation and additional criminal charges. Some of the bail conditions in Canada include:
- Reporting to a bail supervisor or police officer
- Residing at a particular address and not changing address without permission
- No-contact order prohibiting contact with certain persons, usually the alleged victims and witnesses
- Surrendering any firearms, weapons, or dangerous instruments
- Maintaining employment or attending school
- Undergoing treatment or attending counselling programs for substance abusers
- Geographic restrictions
- Travel ban
The Bail Process
If you have been arrested and not released by the police, you have a right to a bail hearing before a judge. Here is a step-by-step guide on how the bail process works in Canada.
- Arrest: Law enforcement officers arrest the accused based on suspicion of committing a crime.
- Bail plan preparation. The accused and their lawyer prepare a bail plan to address the court’s concerns about a release. A bail plan must include the following:
- Address where you’ll stay
- Your employment of education information
- Plans to address drug or alcohol issues, if any
- Possible sureties
- Plans to attend court dates
- Bail Hearing: The accused appears before a judge or justice of the peace within 24 hours of arrest. The accused is informed of the charges against them and their rights, and then the judge hears both parties to determine whether or not to grant bail.
- Bail hearing arguments: The prosecution and the defence present their arguments at the bail hearing. The prosecution presents evidence and arguments supporting why the accused should be detained if they oppose their release. The defence presents evidence and arguments to support the grant of bail.
- Bail decision: The judge or justice of the peace considers the arguments and evidence presented then decides on whether to grant or deny bail.
- Bail conditions: If granted bail, the court may impose conditions that the accused needs to comply with.
- Bail review: The accused can request a bail review if denied bail, or the conditions are too burdensome. The request to reconsider a bail decision takes place before a higher court.
Criteria for Granting Bail
The decision to grant or deny bail is based on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms principle. Here are the grounds considered for granting or denying bail:
- Flight risk: The court assesses the possibility of the accused failing to appear in court if released on bail.
- Public safety: The court considers whether releasing the accused would threaten the safety of the victims, witnesses, or the public.
- Public confidence in the justice system: The court must assess how the release or detention of the accused affects the public’s trust and confidence in the justice system.
- The severity of the charges: The court considers the nature and gravity of the offence to determine bail and bail conditions, with serious criminal offences less likely to obtain bail.
- Criminal history and background of the accused: A positive history may support the granting of bail.
Your Rights at Bail Hearings
Accused persons have legal rights protected under Section 11 (e) of the Charter of Rights. These rights include:
- Right to reasonable bail
- Right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty
- Right to a bail hearing
- Right to legal counsel
- Right to know reasons for detention
- Right to timely bail hearing
- Right to a fair and impartial hearing
- Right to review bail decisions
The Role of Bail Hearing Lawyers
Bail hearing lawyers are imperative in guiding you through the bail process. They can help you during various stages of bail hearings as follows:
Preparing You for the Hearing
Those accused of crimes rarely know what to expect at bail hearings. At Sondhi Defence, our bail hearing lawyers prepare a comprehensive bail plan to address the court’s concerns. We collect relevant information and proof to demonstrate that you are not a flight risk or a danger to the community.
Bail hearing lawyers are crucial to understand your case, options, and potential outcomes. They are even more important if you want a solid defence plan in case the prosecution opposes your release.
Our lawyers will guide you before, during, and after the bail hearing to ensure you get the best possible legal representation and increase your chances of being granted bail under the most favourable conditions.
Our criminal defence lawyer can build a strong case and advocate on your behalf. We gather evidence and present compelling arguments highlighting the lack of a prior criminal record.
We address court concerns on the potential risks of releasing the client on bail and emphasize the client’s willingness to cooperate with the court and prosecution and abide by bail provisions.
The defence counsel seeks alternative forms of release, emphasizing your right to reasonable bail conditions tailored to your case circumstance.
After the Bail Hearing
Whether you are granted or denied bail, we are your committed allies in the next stages of the criminal process. We will work tirelessly on your case in the pre-trial hearings and the trial, defending you until the very last moment.
Why Choose Sondhi Defence for Bail Matters
At Sondhi Defence, we have experienced criminal defence lawyers who understand the bail hearing process. Sondhi Defence has successfully obtained bail for clients across Ontario.
Seek Immediate Assistance from Sondhi Defence
Navigating the Canadian bail system can be complex, especially for those going through the criminal legal process for the first time. Your chances of obtaining bail are better if you are working with an experienced criminal defence lawyer. They will ensure you have the right release plan and are fully aware of the Crown’s case against you. Knowledge is power, and only with the help of a knowledgeable legal counsel will you be able to navigate the legal process efficiently and smoothly.
At Sondhi Defence, we represent those accused and present their cases in the most favourable light to increase the chances of being granted bail. Contact our Law office today for your free case review.
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.