Has a loved one been charged and taken into custody?
They have a right to a bail hearing and need a lawyer, “the stakes are too high for anything less”.
What Are Your Bail Rights?
- An accused has a right to an attorney.
- An accused has the right not to be denied bail without just cause.
- An accused has the right to reasonable bail.
- An accused must be given a bail hearing within 24 hours of arrest if a justice is available. If a justice is not available within 24 hours a bail hearing must be given as soon as possible.
- Bail conditions must not be imposed to punish or to change the accused’s behaviour.
How Can a Lawyer Help with a Bail Plan?
The release of the accused should come at the earliest reasonable opportunity and on the least onerous grounds. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. A good defence lawyer will remind the Court of the presumption of innocence of the accused and that the burden is on the Crown to prove otherwise. There are certain offences or circumstances which create a reverse onus scenario. This means that the accused bears the burden of demonstrating why they should be released.
At the bail hearing a defence lawyer can call witnesses, cross-examine witnesses of the Crown, and apply appropriate case law to argue for unconditional release and defend the accused from conditions and forms of release that are unreasonable. A common misconception of bail is that a surety must give up money to the court immediately to secure release. Most often a sum is required for bail, but it is taken in the form of a ‘pledge’. A pledge to be liable to the Court for a certain sum of money should the accused breach their bail conditions.
The defence of the accused will include the proposal of a bail plan to the Court that can include:
- Living arrangements while on bail
- Restrictions of contact with certain people and locations/addresses
- Supervision or surety
- Appropriate size of pledge
- Drug or alcohol treatment
- Conditions favorable to release such as work or school exceptions
Importance of Bail
Pre-trial custody “affects the mental, social, and physical life of the accused and their family” and may also have a “substantial impact on the result of the trial itself.” The detention of an accused goes beyond just the immediate loss of liberty and freedom, it puts significant pressure on the innocent to plead guilty or agree to unreasonable conditions in the hopes of getting out of detention faster.
Outcomes of being denied bail or accepting a bail agreement can include:
- Continued detention of months or even years while charges are litigated
- Ankle monitors
- House arrest
- Surrendering passport
- Restricted to remain in Ontario
- Requiring a surety or multiple sureties
A successful bail hearing will not only get the accused home with the least amount of restriction, but it is also the critical first step in mounting a strong criminal defence. If a loved one has been taken into custody, call Norton Law to protect their rights and get them out on bail.