The Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth can assist our clients in jail to get released on bail. This is one of the most crucial parts of your defense strategy.
If the Crown Consents to Release You:
Often the Crown Attorney will agree to release you if the crime is not violent, not very serious or the person is not considered a flight risk. If Crown consents, your release is normally within hours.
A person who was arrested without a warrant will normally be released on the agreement of the Crown with a summons, appearance notice or promise to appear.
Other times, release will be conditional on the entering of a “recognizance” in amount of up to $500.
Undertaking with Conditions
The Crown could also consent to a release based on undertaking with conditions. For example:
- To remain within a certain area;
- To deposit a passport;
- To notify the police of any change in address or employment;
- To attend school (where applicable);
- To abstain from communicating with any person or from going to any place;
- To abstain from possessing a firearm and to surrender any firearm;
- To report to police at specified times;
- To abstain from consuming alcohol or other intoxicating substances; and/or
- To abstain from taking druges except in accordance with a medical prescription
What if the Crown does not agree to release?
The Criminal Code of Canada mandates that someone who is being detained in jail after arrest be brought to court before a Justice of the Peace within 24 hours or as soon as possible. This timeline applies even if the arrest is on the weekend or a holiday. In most jurisdications, Justices of the Peace hold bail hearings on Saturdays and Sundays.
If the Crown doesn’t agree to a release, if the Crown cannot hold a full bail hearing within twenty-four hours, then the Crown may request to postpone the hearing for up to seventy-two hours.
In some circumstances, delaying the hearing makes sense for the person who has been charged. The extra time can permit his or her criminal defence lawyer to assemble a strong case for release and to arrange for sureties.
What is a surety? A surety is someone who consents to be responsible for, and supervise, someone charged with a crime. Sometimes a surety has to put up or promise to pay money to the Court if the charged person fails to obey conditions of release from custody.
Are all Release Plans the Same?
No. Often, the Court’s decision to grant bail or not will depend on how good the decision maker consders the plan of release to be. Important questions to be answered are: does the person have a place to stay, a job to go to, counseling and support as required and appropriate supervision by someone whom the accused person respects. Sometimes, assembling the plan can take time.
Considerations when the Court will consider whether to release someone on bail:
The 3 considerations for the Court at a bail hearing:
- Is the detention necessary to ensure the person’s attendance in court?
- Is the detention necessary for the protection or safety of the public?
- Is there any other just cause requiring detention having regard to all circumstances, including the apparent strength of the prosecution’s case, the gravity of the nature of the offence, the circumstances surrounding its commission and the potential for a lengthy term of imprisonment?
Who has the Burden at a Bail Hearing?
The Crown normally has the onus to “show cause” why the accused should be held. For some offences, or for people who have a record for failure to attend court, the onus or burden can be on the detained person to “show cause” why he or she should be released.
What if Bail id Denied?
Hire a criminal defence lawyer to handle your bail hearing before the Justice of the Peace to secure the best possible result, as quickly and as cheaply as possible.
Where release is denied, a “bail review” can be scheduled before a judge. The same three factors apply, but the judge is not bound by the views of the Justice of the Peace.
Note: If the Justice of the Peace releases the accused person, the Crown can also seek a bail review.
Sometimes it can take several weeks to get a date before a judge where your lawyer, the Crown, the witnesses and a judge are all available. The requirement to obtain (and pay for) the transcript of the initial bail hearing can also contribute to delay.
This can be frustrating and requires patience. You can be assured that Auger Hollingsworth would do everything in its power to move your hearing forward as quickly as possible. However, the possible delay is a strong reason to take your initial bail hearing seriously and hire a lawyer immediately.
Why is Bail so Important?
Apart from the disruption and anxiety of separation from family and friends and loss of employment, there are strategic reasons to seek bail in many cases. For example:
- It is more difficult and costly to meet with your lawyer and to assist in the preparation of your case from the detention centre. Your lawyer is limited as to when he or she can visit you. Telephone access is limited.
- If you proceed to trial, you will be seated in the prisoner’s dock if you are in custody. This can have an impact, particularly on a jury.
- If you are released on bail for months or more prior to trial, and stay out of trouble while out of custody, you will have a strong argument in any sentencing hearing that a jail sentence is not required and that you are rehabilitated.
If you or a loved one needs help getting out on bail, do not wait. Contact a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible. Our Ottawa criminal defence lawyers will handle bail hearings and bail reviews in Ottawa, Smiths Falls, Perth, Cornwall, Hawksbury, L’Orignal, and many other locations. Call 613 233-4529 or email [email protected] today!