You might be wondering how to get bail in Canada. Bail is a written order granted by the court.
This order allows an accused person charged with a criminal offence to be out of jail.
Such a person awaits trial or some other resolution by the court, like guilty or withdrawal of charges.
The Criminal Code of Canada allows persons charged to be out on bail, subject to certain conditions that the person charged shall meet.
Before filing for bail, one must fully understand these four things to know about bail in Canada.
How Does Bail Work In Canada?
Section 515 (1) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides that when an accused is charged with an offence other than an indictable offence under Section 469, the court may release the accused through a bail order.
This provision applies, except when the accused pleads guilty.
Indictable offences are the most serious criminal offences, which include murder, robbery, terrorism, treason, drug trafficking, and other serious crimes. Summary conviction offences
are bailable. These offences are least serious, including illegal possession of marijuana and being found in a common bawdy place.
- Getting out of jail
- Making a plea agreement
What happens in a bail hearing?
A bail hearing is not a trial. Here, the judge will not decide whether the accused is guilty or not. Instead, the judge will decide whether you can get out on bail or not.
If approved, then you can go back to the community while waiting for trial. If not, then the authorities will keep you in custody while waiting for trial.
First, the Crown, or the government lawyer, will present its allegations before the court. He or she will “show cause” as to why the accused shouldn’t be released under bail.
In some cases, the Crown will call for a witness to testify in court. Usually, the witnesses called are the police officers in charge of the investigation of the case.
Get Bail In Canada
Below are the requirements to get bail in Canada.
After the Crown’s presentation before the court, the defence lawyer will present its allegations before the court. He or she will present evidence as to why the accused should be released under bail.
Usually, the lawyer calls for the accused or the bail surety to testify. The defence lawyer will try to persuade the court that the accused will follow bail conditions and that the accused will show up for future hearings.
If both sides are finished, then the judge will decide whether to approve the bail application or not.
Once granted bail, the accused will follow certain bail conditions under the surety’s supervision and with the promise of appearing for hearings. If the bail application is not granted, then the accused will stay in custody.
Conditions If Out On Bail
As mentioned above, if the bail is granted, the accused will get out of police custody and be with the community. However, being out on bail does not mean the accused is free.
He or she must follow certain conditions while the court is deciding on his or her case.
Bail conditions prohibit certain behaviours from the accused when released from custody. Section 515 (4) of the Criminal Code provides that the justice may impose one or more of the following conditions to the accused:
● Report to the specified police officer at specified times
● Remain within a specified territorial jurisdiction
● Notify the proper authorities of any change in address or employment
● Avoid any type of communication to the victim, witness, or any specified person in the order
● Avoid any type of communication with the co-accused
● Abstain from possessing any firearm
● Avoid going to places specifically mentioned in the order
● Appear during hearings
The accused must comply with all the conditions set by the justice in the bail order. If the accused does not comply, then he or she will be arrested for not following the conditions of the bail order. Such is a criminal offence.
Once this happens, it will be more difficult, if not impossible, to get bail for the second time.
A surety is someone who will become responsible for the accused who is out on bail. He or she comes to court and assures that he or she will supervise the accused.
He or she will also pay an amount, some type of bond, called a recognizance. By setting up this bond, the surety risks losing his or her money if the accused does not follow the conditions of the bail order.
The surety should be an adult Canadian with no criminal record. However, the surety might still be allowed if he or she has a minor criminal record.
An alleged victim of the accused cannot be a surety. Also, a person who is related to the alleged victim cannot be a surety. The surety may be asked to testify in court about his or her ability to supervise the accused.
If the surety does not want to be the surety anymore, he or she can go to court and ask to be removed as the surety for the accused.
If this happens, then the accused will go back to jail or there will be an issuance of a warrant for the arrest of the accused.
Get Bail In Canada
A bail review is a type of appeal for the outcome of the bail hearing. If the accused does not get out of jail, then he may seek review from a Superior Court of Justice. A bail review is not a second bail hearing.
The bail review must show that there is a significant legal error in the original bail hearing.
The accused must show that there is an improper application of law or misapprehension of evidence or evidence in determining whether the accused can get out on bail or not.
Bail is a matter of right to those who are qualified for it. If you have someone close to you who has been arrested or jailed, you can discuss with this person and a lawyer an application for bail.
Talking to a lawyer is the best way to be informed of your options and rights. If you want to know how bail works, you should speak to a criminal lawyer today. Reach out to us for a free consultation with a lawyer.
Author: Alistair Vigier, CEO of ClearWay Law