Peace Bonds in Canada
What is a Peace Bond?
A peace bond is a criminal court order that sets out specific conditions to protect the safety or property of others.
A judge can order that a peace bond be imposed if there is a reasonable fear that an individual will cause injury to another person, their family, or their property. Section 810 of the Criminal Code of Canada (the “Code”) sets out where a peace bond may be imposed:
If injury or damage feared
810(1) An information may be laid before a justice by or on behalf of any person who fears on reasonable grounds that another person
(a)will cause personal injury to them or to their intimate partner or child or will damage their property; or
(b) will commit an offence under section 162.1.
A peace bond is a more serious form of restraining order because breaching the conditions may result in criminal charges.
Breaching a peace bond may also result in a financial penalty, whereby the accused is required to pay the government a substantial fee.
Will a peace bond show up on your criminal record?
While a peace bond may show up on certain kinds of “enhanced” police background checks (for example, a vulnerable persons check), it is not entered into the national criminal record database.
This means that you can honestly say you have never been found guilty or been convicted of a criminal offence, and you do not have a criminal record.
Peace bonds do not require the accused to plead guilty. The only legally binding criteria is that there is a reasonable fear that an offence may be committed.
When is a Peace Bond Appropriate?
For accused persons charged with family/domestic violence offences where there has not been serious injury, a peace bond is often the best possible outcome.
If the Crown consents to ordering a peace bond, the criminal charge will be withdrawn. However, it is critical to remember that breaching the conditions of a peace bond can result in criminal charges.
A peace bond will only be available where the Crown consents. It is important to have an experienced criminal defence lawyer to convince the Crown that it is “not in the public interest” to proceed with charges.
Negotiating with the prosecution to prevent a criminal record is one of the best results we seek for our clients.
When deciding whether to agree to a peace bond, the Crown will consider whether:
- The offence involved a serious injury;
- There is a substantial history of abusive behaviour against the victim;
- The accused has a criminal record;
- The accused will admit what happened; and
- What conditions will be appropriate.
Typically, only simple assaults will be eligible for a peace bond. However, under the right circumstances and with proper legal representation, more serious offences can also result in peace bonds.
Our dedicated criminal defence lawyers have had success securing peace bonds for the following offences:
- Simple assault;
- Domestic assault, including choking and hair pulling;
- Domestic assault causing bodily harm;
- Domestic assault with a weapon;
- Unlawful confinement;
- Threats in a domestic context;
- Criminal harassment; and
- Possession of child pornography.
What are the requirements and conditions of a peace bond?
A peace bond generally lasts between 6 and 12 months. The main condition of a peace bond requires that a client “keep the peace and be of good behaviour.”
The length and specific conditions of a peace bond are decided on a case-by-case basis, and it is important that you have a criminal defence lawyer to negotiate these with the Crown.
Conditions may include:
- Having no contact with the victim(s);
- Not attending the victim’s home or workplace (also called a “no go” condition);
- A prohibition on carrying firearms or weapons;
- Not purchasing or consuming alcohol;
- Not attending establishments where the primary business is the sale of alcohol; and
- Counselling requirements.
The conditions of a peace bond can be changed over time with the help of an experienced criminal defence lawyer who can present an application before a judge.
To find out whether your case is eligible for a peace bond resolution please contact our office for a free consultation. It is important to get legal advice regarding your case as soon as possible.
You will receive advice regarding the merits of your case, and what you can do to maximize your chances of receiving a peace bond resolution.
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