A bail hearing in Ontario is a court proceeding at which a judge decides whether or not to grant bail to an accused person. This critical decision is based on several factors. They include the seriousness of the offence, the strength of the prosecution’s case, and the accused person’s criminal history (if any). Preparing for a bail hearing can be an incredibly stressful time, especially when you’re not sure what to expect.
Bail Hearings in Canada
If you’ve been charged with a crime in Canada, you may be wondering what to expect at your bail hearing. Read on to learn more about how bail hearings work in Canada, and for other helpful information you won’t want to miss.
The Bail Hearing Process: Overview
When you arrive for a bail hearing, you will be asked to take a seat in the courtroom. Then, the judge will enter and take a seat on the bench. After everyone is seated, the Crown prosecutor will present their arguments for why you should not be granted bail.
The criminal lawyer will then have an opportunity to present their arguments for why you should be granted bail. Once both sides have a chance to speak, the judge will decide whether or not to grant bail.
Visit this post next to explore other key components of a Canadian criminal trial.
Steps in a Bail Hearing in Ontario
The first step in any bail hearing is for the Crown prosecutor to show cause why the accused person should remain in custody pending their trial. The prosecutor does this by suggesting the accused person is a flight risk or poses a danger to their community if released on bail.
If the Crown prosecutor successfully shows cause, the burden shifts to the accused person (and their criminal defence lawyer) to show why they should be released on bail. They can do so by presenting evidence demonstrating that they are not a flight risk and will abide by any conditions set by the court.
Once both sides have presented their evidence, the judge makes a decision about whether or not to release the accused on bail. If bail is granted, the judge will set conditions that must be met before the accused is released from custody. These conditions may include things like reporting to a police station regularly, abiding by a curfew, or remaining within a particular geographical area.
Understanding Bail Conditions
As previously mentioned, if the judge decides to grant bail, they will set conditions that must be met in order for you to be released from custody.
These conditions may include things like:
- Surrendering your passport to the court: If you are granted bail, you be required to surrender your passport to the court. This is meant to ensure you do not leave the country while your case is ongoing.
- Reporting to a police station: One
- Residing at a specific address: You may also be required to reside at a specific address while your case is ongoing. This is to ensure you do not flee and can be easily located by the court.
In some cases, you may also be required to pay a cash deposit as part of your bail conditions. This deposit is typically returned to you at the conclusion of your case, provided you adhere to all of the conditions set by the court.
In Ontario, this is typically done if:
- You live over 200 km away from where you are in custody
- You do not usually reside in Ontario
How to Prepare for Bail Hearings in Canada
Being prepared for bail hearings can help you feel more confident and in control during this stressful time. Here are some tips to help you prepare:
- Speak to a lawyer: This is perhaps the most important thing you can do to prepare for your bail hearing. An Ontario criminal lawyer will be able to advise you on what to expect and help you build a strong case for release on bail.
- Gather evidence: You’ll need to present evidence to the court that demonstrates why you should be released on bail. This may include character references, employment information, or proof of ties to the community.
- Be prepared to follow conditions: If bail is granted, you’ll need to adhere to any conditions set by the court. Make sure you understand these conditions and you’re prepared to follow them.
- Be respectful: It’s wise to remember the judge is just doing their job. Be respectful of the judge’s decision, even if it’s not the outcome you were hoping for.
Bail Hearings in Canada: FAQs
Next, here are a few common questions people have about bail hearings in Canada:
Do I need a lawyer for a bail hearing?
You are not technically required to have a lawyer for a bail hearing, but it’s highly recommended. Your lawyer can offer expert guidance on what to expect and help you build a strong case for release on bail.
What happens if you violate the conditions of your bail?
If you violate any of the conditions set by the court, you will be guilty of an offence under the Canadian criminal code. The punishment for breaching bail conditions can range from a fine to imprisonment. You will be arrested and brought before a judge if you are accused of violating your bail conditions. The Crown prosecutor can then present evidence you breached your bail conditions. If the judge finds there is adequate evidence to convict you, they will impose a sentence.
Can you be denied bail?
Yes, you can be denied bail if the judge believes you are a flight risk or pose a danger to the community. If you are denied bail, you will remain in custody until your trial.
Bail hearings are an integral part of Canada’s criminal justice system. If you’ve been charged with a crime, it’s useful to know what to expect when you go before a judge for your bail hearing. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better prepared to present your case and fight for your release on bail.
If you have any questions about bail hearings in Canada or need help preparing for one, speak to the criminal defence lawyers at KIVLaw in Ontario today.