If you are charged and arrested for a criminal offence in Brampton or the GTA, you have a constitutional right to reasonable bail. To better help you understand bail, here are some commonly asked questions.
What is bail and why do I need it?
Bail is also known as judicial interim release. A bail is a court order releasing you from custody while your criminal charges are ongoing. A bail will have conditions that you must follow and a breach of those conditions can result in a revocation of bail or new criminal charges. The court may release you on your own recognizance (own bail) or require a surety (someone who will supervise and enforce the bail).
Obtaining bail is a critical start to the criminal case as it allows you to wait for your court dates outside of a jail cell and gives easier access to resources you will need for your defence. People detained without bail may have to wait over a year or more before their trial is heard. Being released on bail also allows you to continue to work and earn an income, in addition to maintaining a degree of normalcy for you and your family.
Do I need to appear in Court to be released on bail?
You do not always need to appear before a judge/justice to be released on bail. For less serious offences, the police can release you on a form of release called an Undertaking to a Peace Officer. If the police decline to release you on an undertaking, you will then be brought before a judge/justice in court for your bail hearing.
What will happen during the bail hearing?
Your lawyer in Brampton will negotiate with the Crown before the bail hearing to try and convince the Crown to release you on consent. If both parties agree to release conditions, those conditions will be conveyed to the judge/justice who will typically agree to the proposed bail and conditions.
If the Crown is contesting the bail, the Crown will first read the details of the charges against you. Both sides may call witnesses on the bail hearing. Typically, the Crown calls no witnesses on a bail and the defence calls any proposed sureties as witnesses.
The objective of the bail arguments is to show that if you are released on bail, you will adhere to the conditions of bail, not commit any further crimes, appear for all required court appearances, and that your release will not bring the administration of justice into disrepute. If a surety is proposed, the judge/justice will assess whether the surety is able to properly monitor and supervise the bail.
After both sides have made their legal arguments, the judge/justice will make a ruling as to whether bail is granted or denied.
Does my lawyer have to prove why I should receive bail?
For the majority of criminal offences, the Crown Attorney is the party that must show a judge why you should not get bail. For more serious charges or where a person has breached an old bail by committing a new criminal offence, the accused may have to show a judge why they should get bail. This is called a Crown onus and reverse onus bail respectively.
Do I need a surety to be released?
There are a lot of factors in deciding if a surety is required for a release. Your lawyer will consider the seriousness of the charges, your past criminal record, the strength of your surety, and the terms of the proposed bail.
What if I do not have someone who will be my surety?
There are court bail resources for individuals who have no sureties available. One can also forgo a surety and run an own recognizance bail. Talk to your criminal defence lawyer to explore those other options prior to your bail hearing.
If you have further questions about the bail hearing process or have been arrested and charged with a criminal offence in Brampton or the GTA, contact bail hearing and criminal defence lawyer, Graham Zoppi at (905) 755-9595 now!