How Should I Prepare For My Bail Hearing?
If you know someone who has been accused, charged or arrested with a criminal offence and is granted a bail hearing, it is critical to know that you have 24 hours to prepare for the process as their surety. Securing his or her release as soon as possible is essential. In this article, we will walk you through the bail hearing preparation steps you need to take as a surety to ensure that happens.
How Does a Bail Hearing Work?
During a bail hearing, the court considers the primary, secondary and tertiary grounds that determine the release of a convicted person until trial, according to the Criminal Code. The primary ground refers to the concern of a convicted person fleeing the country, while the secondary ground is related to public safety, and the tertiary ground refers to public confidence in the justice system.
To avoid such scenarios, the Court checks for any connections the defendant may have abroad, and lawyers can build a strong and compelling release plan proving the accused person presents no risks to society.
Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, any accused person has the right to a bail hearing, in which the Crown presents the allegations against the defendant and Court hears the lawyer’s appeal for the individual’s release until trial. Whether an accused is released on bail pending trial or not will depend on several factors, including any previous criminal history; the nature of the current allegations; and, the ability of your lawyer to present bail conditions ( referred to as the “plan of release”) that address the risk factors that are unique to each case.
A surety (an individual who supervises the accused) is sometimes required as part of the plan of release, ensuring that the defendant will follow their bail conditions, such as curfews, travel restrictions, no communication with complainants or house arrest.
The Responsibilities of a Surety
A person accused of a criminal offence in Canada may have Court approval to receive supervision from a surety. Sureties must ensure that the accused follows the rules and obligations imposed during their bail hearing and attends at any court appearances.
Put simply, a surety has the duty of making sure their defendant is strictly following their bail conditions. To do so, sureties have the liberty to take any measures they deem necessary and may even implement new rules the defendant must follow.
During a bail hearing, a surety makes a financial pledge to the Court, with the monetary amount depending on the severity and nature of the offence and the financial situation of the surety themselves. A surety is required to contact the when a defendant breaks – or is about to break – the rules the Court imposed or when an accused fails to attend any court dates.
Preparing to be a Surety
As a surety, you must testify in Court and understand your role as a defendant’s supervisor. You have to be able to present a strong plan of action on how you will conduct your duties. In order to prepare for this role, you must:
- Make sure you fully understand your responsibilities as a surety (enforcing bail rules, calling authorities if necessary, taking the defendant to Court)
- Ensure the accused understand the rules and conditions that they must abide by
- Review the charges against the defendant and their previous criminal record (if any) before attending Court, as the Judge may question your decision to become their surety
- Familiarise yourself with the defendant’s situation in order to build a strong and concrete plan of release that explains why the Court should grant a release on bail until trial
- Seek advice from an experienced criminal lawyer and work closely with them
How a Criminal Defence Lawyer Can Help You During a Bail Hearing ?
If you or someone you know is expecting a bail hearing while awaiting a trial, speaking with an experienced criminal defence lawyer at Fedorowicz Law is vital to address any concerns you may have as a surety.
Richard Fedorowicz has years of experience in criminal defence proceedings and will be able to answer any of your bail hearing critical questions and concerns. Call 249-266-4222 today to find out how we can help you with your bail hearing.
What is a bail hearing?
A bail hearing is held in criminal court to determine whether or not to release a defendant on bail. The hearing usually happens after the defendant has been charged with a crime and has made an initial appearance in court.
How long can a bail hearing take?
In Canada, bail hearings must occur within 24 hours after arrest. The duration of a hearing depends on the gravity of each case.
How much does a bail hearing cost?
A bail hearing is free of charge in the province of Ontario.
What conditions will be imposed by the court?
The type of bail conditions will primarily depend on the nature and seriousness of the allegations, and whether the accused has a criminal record or has any other outstanding charges. For example, if the allegation involves alcohol consumption, the court may impose a condition that the accused not consume alcohol. In the end, an experienced bail hearing lawyer should ensure that the accused is not only released as soon as possible, but also on the least restrictive terms possible.
How much experience does Richard Fedorowicz have in conducting bail hearings?
Richard has successfully defended individuals in court for 20 years. He worked in all levels of criminal cases, including bail hearings. This experience and his extensive knowledge of the law and legislation will ensure the right strategy is employed for your specific case.
While the right to be released on bail applies to all criminal charges (meaning no offence, no matter how serious, is excluded), the practical reality is that being released on bail is much more difficult when you are facing firearm related charges.