Many Canadians only know of the bail process by watching American crime TV shows, but the bail process in Canada is quite different from the one in the US. If you’ve been arrested in Canada,you Calgary criminal lawyers can help guide you through the bail process.
- Bail has the same meaning in Canada: you’re released from jail while the court moves to resolve your case. The technical term for bail in Canada is “judicial interim release”.
- The police may feel that they should detain you rather than let you go after you’ve been arrested. If that’s the case, the police needs to bring you to bail court before a justice (judge). This has to happen within 24 hours, although if a justice isn’t available, then it needs to happen “as soon as possible”. Your lawyer can make sure there aren’t any undue delays.
- Your lawyers will then discuss your case with the Crown prosecutors and determine what crimes they are alleging that you’ve committed. The lawyers can then find out whether they can all agree that you should be set free on bail, and the negotiations will determine the conditions that are part of your release.
- Once an agreement has been reached with the Crown prosecutors, you can be released on consent before the justice. You will have to appear in court, although it’s possible that you could do so through video rather than in person. The justice will read the conditions of your release, and make sure that everyone involved agrees with the terms. The justice will set your next court date, and then you will have to go through the paperwork process.
- If your lawyers and the Crown prosecutors can’t come to an agreement regarding the conditions of your release, or if the prosecutors feel that you must not be released on bail, the next step is a show cause hearing. This is more popularly known as the bail hearing.
- At the bail hearing, the general assumption is that you should be released. The Crown must prove (show cause) that there’s a need for you to stay in jail until the resolution of your case.
- However, there are “reverse onus” cases in which it’s the defence’s duty to prove that you ought to be released on bail. In general, these cases involve serious drug crimes, crimes that involve illegal weapons and firearms, terrorism, or crimes for a criminal group. They also happen if you’re accused of committing crimes while you’re on bail or if you’re accused of breaching the terms of your bail.
- Your bail is based on your financial status. It’s an amount deemed significant enough for you to not want to risk losing it, while still being within your means. That’s why it’s often lower than the bail amounts in the US. In Canada, bail bondsmen are illegal.
This is just a general overview of the Canadian bail process. Your best bet is to have your Calgary criminal lawyers handle everything, although you should ask questions so that you’re aware of what’s going on.