Understanding Bail Hearings in Ontario

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Navigating the criminal justice system can be a daunting task, especially when you or a loved one is facing the prospect of a bail hearing. Understanding the process and preparing effectively can be the difference between freedom and detention. This blog post will serve as a guide, providing insights on how to prepare for a bail hearing based on information provided by Eva Janta, a criminal defense lawyer with KPA Lawyers in Ontario.


The Importance of a Bail Hearing

When a person is arrested, the Criminal Code mandates that they must be brought before a court within 24 hours, failing which, it’s crucial to seek legal advice. Most charges entitle the arrestee to a bail hearing, where the onus usually lies on the Crown to prove why they should not be released. If the arrestee is already out on bail and commits a new crime, the responsibility to prove their right to release falls on them.

Creating a Bail Plan

An essential step in preparing for a bail hearing is creating a solid bail plan. This plan outlines what an individual intends to do upon their release and serves to address any specific concerns the court might have. There are two primary concerns: ensuring the accused will attend all court dates and ensuring they won’t commit any new crimes.

Components of a Bail Plan

The bail plan should address the following elements:

    1. Residence: Where the accused will live upon release. If they were living with the victim, they would need to have an alternate living arrangement.

    1. Employment: A job can demonstrate that the accused will be productive upon release. A letter from the employer to authenticate the job offer can be very persuasive.

    1. Contact: The accused must typically avoid contact with the victim or co-accused individuals. The court needs assurance that this won’t be an issue.

    1. Weapons and Drugs: If the charges involved violence or drugs, the court will likely require assurances that the accused will not possess any weapons or drugs.

Dealing with Addiction or Mental Health Issues

If the accused has underlying mental health or addiction issues, a plan to go to counseling can be viewed positively by the court. Evidence such as an intake letter or a definitive start date can show that steps have been taken to begin the process. A specific counseling program should be identified.

The Role of Supervision

Supervision is a critical part of securing release on bail. There are two types of supervision: a bail program or a surety.

    1. Bail Program: The accused is responsible for ensuring all conditions are followed and must regularly report to the bail program. This form of supervision is more structured than being released alone but less stringent than having a surety.

    1. Surety: Here, someone known to the accused is responsible for ensuring all conditions are followed. This person should ideally be someone who knows the accused well and is respected by them. While a criminal record is not necessarily a deal breaker, a person without a record is more likely to be approved.

Remember, this blog post is not intended as legal advice. If you or a loved one is in need of a bail hearing in Ontario, it is recommended to consult with a lawyer. The legal landscape can be challenging, but a thorough understanding of the bail hearing process and adequate preparation can make a significant difference.

Stay tuned for more information on the topic of being a surety, and don’t forget to educate yourself continually about legal procedures to navigate the criminal justice system effectively.


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