If you find yourself in a jail cell after an arrest, or get a desperate call from a loved one who has suffered that fate, getting released from jail is likely the first if not only thing on your mind. That means bail, and that means a bail hearing to determine whether you will regain your freedom or remain behind bars. Bail hearings often constitute the only opportunity to regain freedom right after an arrest, so it is crucial to retain an experienced Ontario criminal defence lawyer who understands how bail hearings work and who can give you or your loved one the best chance of being released from custody.
What is a Bail Hearing?
Because of the presumption of innocence enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, anyone charged with a criminal offence cannot be denied reasonable bail without just cause. As such, you or your loved one should receive a bail hearing within 24 hours of the charge, but quite often only appear before a justice of the peace within 24 hours of the charge.
The main purpose of a bail hearing is to examine the seriousness of the charges, the background of the accused, and determine whether the defendant is fit to be released back in the community on a bail release, otherwise known as a “judicial interim release.” If the Crown determines that the charge is not particularly serious and that the accused isn’t a flight risk, it will set a bail fee – which can vary widely depending on the charge – that must be put up before the accused is released.
The Cost of Freedom
In order to be released, you or your loved one might need someone to act as a “surety,” the person responsible for making sure that the defendant follows the terms of their bail. Terms often include attending court hearings, abiding by a curfew, keeping away from weapons and obeying restraining orders, and a host of other possible conditions.
The surety might be required to deposit cash bail or sign a bond and must be ready, willing, and able to pay a specified amount of money if the accused fails to obey the court order. Unlike the United States, there are no bail bond agents or bail insurance policies in Canada, and it is against the law for a surety to accept payment; for these reasons, the surety is often a trusted friend or family member committed to the best interests of the accused.
An Experienced Criminal Defence Lawyer Can Make All the Difference
If you or your loved one is denied bail, a criminal defence lawyer can help request a review of the decision to be conducted by a superior court judge. Bail review applications take time to prepare and schedule – precious time that your loved one can spend outside of jail, surrounded by people that care about them, along with lawyers who can work with them directly to prepare their case. To see that your loved one’s hearing goes well the first time around, you need lawyers with decades of collective experience in criminal law who will work tirelessly to get you or your loved one home.
Ottawa Criminal Defence Firm Engel & Associates Defends Against Even The Most Complicated Charges
Criminal lawyers Bruce Engel and Elena Davies have represented individuals and businesses charged with hundreds of different offences throughout Canada for more than two decades. From the start of a criminal investigation to the close of a trial, we will take a balanced and forceful approach to your defence. We have the experience and know-how to effectively navigate the constantly changing justice system in Canada.
The materials provided on this site are for information purposes only. These materials constitute general information relating to areas of law familiar to our firm lawyers. They do NOT constitute legal advice or other professional advice and you may not rely on the contents of this website as such.