In some criminal cases, after the police arrest you, you will be let out on a promise or what is called a recognizance, to come back to Court at the appointed time. In other cases, the police will keep you in jail until you appear before a Court to obtain bail. If you are arrested for a crime, it is very important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. The outcome of a bail hearing can mean the difference between enjoying your freedom or remaining in custody between the arrest and the trial of your case.
Bail hearings are not treated lightly at my firm, we prepare for them carefully and properly. For example, we may interview and recommend an appropriate surety – who is a person who will be responsible for ensuring that you meet all of the conditions of bail. My goal is to achieve the most positive result – a reasonable bail with reasonable conditions.
In Ontario, it can sometimes take almost a year to get a trial date. Unfortunately, many people who have a good defence end up pleading guilty to charges, before retaining a lawyer, rather than sitting in jail awaiting trial when they’re not granted bail. This leaves them with a criminal record that can impair their ability to get a job, a loan, a place to live or travel outside of the country. A prior record also leaves you vulnerable to stiffer potential penalties for any future criminal conviction.
Defendants can be released on bail for any criminal offence. However, recent changes in the law regarding bail have made it more difficult to get bail for certain offences. An experienced criminal lawyer can increase your chances of a positive result at a bail hearing. You may be detained in custody until your trial if the prosecutor (the Crown Attorney) can show there are reasonable grounds for believing that:
- You might not appear as required by the Court
- The protection or safety of the public is necessary
- You might interfere with the administration of justice (by contacting witnesses), or
- You might commit further criminal offences.
- Length of time at a current job
- The type of job
- Length of time in the province or the community
- Whether he or she owns a home
- Family and community roots
- Relationship to the accused
- Whether or not the surety has a criminal record