What happens at a bail hearing?

>>>What happens at a bail hearing?

After you are arrested and brought into custody prior to trial, a bail hearing will occur within within 24 hours of your arrest. The bail hearing is where it will be determined whether you should be kept in custody, released, or if the hearing should be adjourned. Unless the Crown shows cause why you should be held in custody or given strict bail conditions, at the first hearing you should be released.

What to expect at a bail hearing?

Typically, at a bail hearing the Crown will provide a summary of the allegations against you and explain whether they are seeking your detention or consenting to your release on conditions, and what grounds they rely on for their application. When making their application, the type of evidence that the Crown will usually rely on includes the full circumstances of the offence, your existing criminal record, whether you are in a position of reverse onus (see below for further explanation), and what conditions should be imposed on you if you are released.

If you can afford bail, the defence will then typically present arguments as to why detention or strict bail conditions are not warranted in the circumstances. In doing so, defence counsel will likely suggest bail conditions that will result in minimal restriction, but that will also try to address the concerns of the court.

Show cause and why bail can be refused

One term that is often used in the context of bail hearings is ‘show cause’. Show cause refers to the burden placed on the Crown at a bail hearing to show justifiable reasons why an accused should be kept in custody.

In order to show cause, the Crown Prosecutor must demonstrate that your detention is justified on the basis of one or more of the following three grounds. The three grounds that are considered include:

  • Primary Ground: the detention of the accused is necessary to ensure the accused’s attendance at court;
  • Secondary Ground: the detention of the accused is necessary for the protection and safety of the public from the risk of further crime and to protect witnesses from interference or intimidation; and
  • Tertiary ground: the continued detention of the accused is necessary to maintain the confidence of the public in the administration of justice.

While the burden to show cause for continued detention is placed on the Crown at a bail hearing, there are some circumstances where the burden is reversed and you will have the onus of justifying your release. The conditions that trigger this “reverse onus” are:

  • Where the Crown Prosecutor is in the process of making an application to have bail revoked because the accused was already released on bail, but breached his or her conditions while on bail;
  • Where the accused is charged with breaching bail granted by a judge or justice;
  • Where the accused is charged with breaching a conditional sentence order;
  • Where the accused is charged with an indictable offence while released on bail for another indictable offence;
  • Where the accused is charged with drug trafficking, a serious firearms or weapons offence, a criminal organization offence, a terrorism offence, or a Security of Information Act offence.

The existence of one or more of these conditions will make it significantly more difficult for you to be granted bail prior to trial. It is therefore vital that you seek the assistance of a skilled and experienced criminal defence lawyer to avoid being kept in custody.

What happens after a bail hearing?

If you are granted bail, you will be released on a notice to appear or a recognizance which will stipulate conditions that you must comply with until your matter is resolved. For a detailed discussion on release conditions please see “What conditions will I have if I am released on bail?”

If bail is not granted or the bail conditions that are imposed are found to be too onerous, you can apply for a review of your conditions every 30 days, or more frequently if you are granted permission by the Court to do so. If the Crown Prosecutor and defence are able to reach a mutual agreement with respect to the release conditions, the previous order may be reviewed by the court and replaced.

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All our 30-60 minute free consultations are conducted with one of our Criminal Defence Lawyers and include the following steps:

  1. Gathering of some personal information about you, such as your level of education, occupation, and citizenship status. This information can be crucial for building your defence and seeking a resolution with the Crown Prosecutor;
  2. Careful review of all documents you received from the police. We will explain what each document is, and what you can expect from and need to do for all upcoming appearances;
  3. Critical review of your recollection of events, and any supporting materials you choose to bring with you. This step helps us identify possible defences and avenues for further investigation; and
  4. Discussion of the court process, our fee structure, and what we can do to help.

Beyond these steps, we would be happy to tell you more about us, and answer any questions you may have. If you chose to retain us to help you, we will immediately provide an overview of what steps we plan to take next, and suggestions as to what you should do to improve your chances of a successful outcome.

For the free initial consultation to be as productive as possible, you should bring (or email in advance) the following materials:

  • A written statement (preferably typed) outlining your version of events;
  • All documents that you have been given by the court or by the police;
  • Any disclosure you have received;
  • Photo ID; and
  • Any supporting documents, such as photographs, emails, texts, phone records, medical records, receipts, etc.

Ideally, you will have prepared a copy of these materials for us to keep, but if not, we can always photocopy them during the consultation.

We offer flexible payment options and structures designed to meet our clients’ individual needs. Our lawyers accept all major credit cards, bank drafts, money orders, email money transfers (e-transfers) and, of course, cash.

If you decide to retain us after the free initial consultation, all we need is a retainer (down payment) to get started. The rest of the fee payments for the case can be spaced out over time. We can set you up on a monthly or bi-monthly payment plan, and process payments over the telephone or by email to make it easy for you.

The cost of a criminal defence lawyer will depend on several factors, including:

  1. how complex your case is,
  2. how serious the charges are, and
  3. how experienced the Criminal Defence lawyer is.

The fees of a competent Criminal Defence Lawyer will typically range into the thousands of dollars. The good news is that only a fraction of that amount is due initially. We offer flexible payment schedules so thefees can be paid in monthly installments.

Additionally, we offer flat rate fees, with no hidden costs. It is our standard practice to review all the costs during the free initial consultation. This means you will know exactly what our services cost at the outset and can make an informed decision about how to proceed.