What Is A Surety?

A surety is a person that knows the accused personally, is a friend or family member, who agrees to supervise the accused when they are released on bail.  The surety must present themselves at court and tell the court that they will be responsible for supervising the accused individual.  The role of the surety is to make sure that the accused complies with all of the conditions of their release.  They also ensure that the accused stays out of trouble while awaiting trial.

A surety plays an important role during the period in which an individual is released on bail.  The job of surety is not to be taken lightly, but should be regarded as important and serious.  The primary duties of a surety include making sure the accused attends their court dates and ensuring that the individual complies with all of their bail conditions.  Sureties are often required to provide a monetary amount for the release of an individual.  Sometimes the court requires a cash deposit, but most often a surety will sign a bond for a certain amount.

A surety should be someone who knows the accused well and is confident that they can adequately supervise the individual.  It is important that the surety maintain a close relationship involving frequent updates and visits with the accused to ensure that bail conditions and court dates are being met and attended.  If you are in a situation where you require a surety in order to be released on bail, you will likely discuss possible sureties with your lawyer.  In the end, the court will decide if a particular person will be able to act as a surety.  The court will take into account the details of the case, including the nature of the charges and the accused person’s criminal record.  The court will also consider the potential surety’s character and background, as well as their financial situation and the amount of time they have available to supervise the accused.

If you are wondering if you might be eligible for bail or how the process of getting a surety works, contact the lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth to obtain the legal advice you are looking for.

Have You Been Asked to Be A Surety for Someone Seeking Bail?

If you have asked to be a surety for a friend of loved one who is detained in custody (in jail) following an arrest, you should be asking the following questions:

  • What is a surety?
  • What are a surety’s duties?
  • Does a surety have to deposit money and if so how much?
  • What if the accused person does not comply with the bail order?
  • What if I no longer want to be a surety?
  • Who is eligible to be a surety?
  • Can the accused person’s lawyer give me advice about being a surety?

Read moreHave You Been Asked to Be A Surety for Someone Seeking Bail?

Getting Released from Jail on Bail – NEED TO GET OUT OF JAIL ON BAIL?

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.

Recognizance

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.

Sureties

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:

  1. Is the detention necessary to ensure the person’s attendance in court?
  2. Is the detention necessary for the protection or safety of the public?
  3. 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.

Bail Review

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!

So You Want to Be a Surety – What is a Surety? Seven Important Facts

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?

  1. To ensure the accused person comes to courts on time when required;
  2. 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:

  1. You can bring the accused person to court and ask that you be relieved of your responsibilities, or
  2. 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.