What are the different types of peace bonds in Canada?
In Canada there are more than one type of peace bond: statutory peace bonds issued in accordance with section 810 of the Criminal Code, and common law peace bonds.
Statutory Peace Bonds or Peace Bonds Issued Under Section 810 of the Criminal Code:
A statutory peace bond is a peace bond that is issued in accordance with section 810 of the Criminal Code. As stated in section 810, this type of peace bond can be issued by the court upon request of a person who has reasonable grounds to that an accused will cause them harm, or will cause harm to someone that they know. The primary distinction between a statutory peace bond and a common law peace bond is that in order for a statutory peace bond to be sworn, the complainant must have an ongoing fear of the accused.
The basic conditions that should accompany a statutory peace bond are also stipulated in section 810 of the Criminal Code. Specifically, in accordance with this section a peace bond should order that the accused does not consume alcohol or drugs except as prescribed; to submit to drug testing as required; and to stay away from and refrain from communicating with the complainant. In addition, under section 810 the Judge hearing the application has the discretion to implement any other conditions that are reasonably needed or desired to ensure the good conduct of the accused. A peace bond issued under section 810 of the Criminal Code can exist for a maximum period of 12 months, at which point it will expire.
If you breach a statutory peace bond, you will be charged with an offence under section 811 of the Criminal Code. If you are charged with breaching the conditions of a peace bond, the Crown can choose to prosecute you either by way of indictment or by summary conviction. If the Crown chooses to prosecute you by way of indictment, if you are found guilty of the breach you will be liable for a term of imprisonment of up to two years. If the Crown proceeds summarily and you are found guilty, you will be liable to a term of imprisonment of up to six month.
Common Law Peace Bond:
Another type of peace bond that can be obtained in Canada is a common law peace bond. Unlike a statutory peace bond, in order to obtain a common law peace bond it is not necessary that the complainant has a present or ongoing fear of the accused. Rather, a common law peace bond has a wider scope as it can be implemented when there is a reasonable basis to believe that the accused may breach the peace generally, not just act violently against a specific person or group of people. Because fear is not a requirement for a common law peace bond, this type of peace bond can be used to resolve criminal matters where the complainant and the accused would like to reconcile and continue to have a relationship.
While a common law peace bond differs in scope from a statutory peace bond, the conditions that accompany a common law peace bond will often be similar to those that accompany a peace bond issued under section 810 of the Criminal Code. That is, like a statutory peace bond a common law peace bond will often contain conditions such as keep the peace and be of good behaviour, refrain from contacting the complainant, and can include weapons and firearms prohibitions. However, unlike statutory peace bonds, common law peace bonds can last longer than one year.
As with statutory peace bonds, if the accused is caught breaching the terms of the order, he or she will be charged with a criminal offence. While the accused will be charged under section 127 instead of section 811 of the Criminal Code for breaching a common law peace bond, the punishment is the same. That is, if found guilty of the breach, the accused will be liable for a term of imprisonment of up to two years if the Crown proceeds by indictment, or six months if the Crown proceeds summarily.
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