1. What is a surety?
A surety is a person who agrees to be responsible for someone who is accused of a crime and out of custody while waiting for trial. It is a big job, not to be taken lightly.
2. What are a surety’s duties?
- To ensure the accused person comes to courts on time when required;
- To ensure the accused person obeys each condition of the bail order or recognizance. For example, the accused person may have to report to police or may have a curfew. He or she may be prohibited from drinking alcohol.
3. Does a surety have to deposit money and if so how much?
Sometimes a cash deposit is required if someone is a surety.
More often a surety signs a bond for a certain amount.
There is no fixed amount of money that a surety must pledge. The amount will vary based on the accused person and the charges and also based on the amount that the surety pledges relative to his or her net worth.
In other words, if you only have $10,000.00 to your name the amount you may be asked to pledge could be less than if you are a millionaire.
4. What if the accused person does not comply with the bail order?
You should not accept to be a surety unless you are sure you can supervise the accused person.
If the accused person disobeys a condition, he or she may be charged with another criminal offence.
You may lose the money you pledge as a surety.
5. What if I no longer want to be a surety?
The obligations of a surety last until the case is completely over. This may take a long time.
If you wish to end your role as a surety before the case is over here are your choices:
- You can bring the accused person to court and ask that you be relieved of your responsibilities, or
- You can come to court and apply in writing to be relieved of your duties. The court will then issue and order for the arrest of the accused person.
It is also sometimes possible to substitute one surety for another, but this must be done on an application to the Court.
6. Who is eligible to be a surety?
Whether or not the judge or justice of the peace accepts you as a surety is dependant on the specific situation, including the type of charges and the accused person’s criminal record.
The Court will consider your finances, your character and background. Although it is not impossible, it is unusual for someone with a criminal record to be a surety.
The Court will also consider whether the surety has the time to properly supervise the accused person. Someone whose schedule is full may not be a suitable surety.
7. Can the accused person’s lawyer give me advice about being a surety?
No. The accused person’s lawyer cannot give you legal advice. Sometimes a surety will obtain independent legal advise ensure that he or she is fully aware of the rights and obligations.
If you or a loved one need help getting out of jail on bail, you need an experienced criminal defence lawyer. A criminal defence lawyer at Auger Hollingsworth can assist you. Contact us by clicking here or by telephone at 613 233-4529.