In Canada, even those accused of the most serious offences are entitled to reasonable Bail. Therefore, under Canadian law, a defendant has the right to apply for release from custody pending the completion of a criminal prosecution. This is called bail. And being released from custody has enormous advantages for a criminal defendant. First, being released permits a person to continue employment, provide for themselves and their family, and to remain connected to their support network. Second, being out of custody allows a defendant to participate more actively in constructing a viable defence to any charges. Lastly, being out on bail allows a defendant to engage in counselling, substance abuse treatment, and other activities that might eliminate the underlying causes of any criminal behaviours. Such treatment may also serve to reduce any potential sentence a person might face.
Bail is so important to the criminal process that it is essential to engage the services of experienced criminal defence lawyers as soon as possible. At Bulwark Law, we have the skills, experience, and reputation for providing high-quality legal services with compassion and rigour.
What Is Bail in Calgary?
Bail is a judicial interim release from custody while criminal charges are processed through the courts. For many crimes, the release is immediate and can be secured through the arresting officer and the signing of an appearance notice. However, when charged with more serious crimes, and depending on whether the defendant has a prior criminal record, a formal bail hearing soon after an arrest is held before a judge.
Various factors are considered when deciding whether to release a defendant on bail. This is a critical phase of any criminal prosecution. Your rights are best protected, and your participation in constructing your defence is best secured when represented by experienced bail lawyers. If you run a bail hearing without the proper representation, you may be detained until your trial, with no ability even to appeal that decision for at least a month.
What are the Types of Releases?
The court decides whether a defendant can be released pending trial after examining several factors. These include the seriousness of the charges, past criminal record, financial status, reputation in the community, and employment status. Ordinarily, the release is secured in one of three ways:
- Appearance Notice: This is a form completed by police at the time of arrest informing the defendant of the charges and the date, time, and location of a first appearance before a court. Many defendants are released with an appearance notice, so they do not require a formal bail hearing.
- Undertaking: In addition to notifying the defendant of the charges and the date, time, and location of the first judicial hearing, an undertaking imposes conditions on a defendant during this time of release, pending disposition of the charges.
Conditions might include mandatory reporting to police or a probation officer; remaining within a specified geographic area or avoiding specific locations; notifying police, a social worker, or a probation officer of any changes in residence, employment, or occupation; no contact with any victim or witness; depositing all passports to prevent foreign travel; abstaining from possessing firearms and other weapons; and securing release with a promise to pay up to $500, if any conditions of release are violated or the defendant fails to appear in court.
- Release Order: After a bail hearing, release from custody can be secured in various ways. Release orders might merely require an appearance in court or might impose conditions on the defendant when returned to the community. The release might be on the defendant’s own recognizance (with no financial obligation), secured by a promise to appear. A release order might also be secured by the imposition of a surety, where someone else promises the court to supervise you once released, with a financial consequence if they fail to do so. Finally, a release order may require you to agree to a number of conditions, such as a curfew or house arrest, with you either promising to pay a certain amount of money if you breach the conditions or with you first depositing cash bail, which would be lost if you breach the conditions.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer for Bail?
When facing the full force of the Crown’s authority, you should remain silent and contact an experienced criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights. Your lawyer will then work to secure your release and begin constructing a viable defence.
Remaining in custody pending trial greatly inhibits your ability to remain employed, connected with family and community, and participate in constructing your defence. Therefore, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to secure your release if you have been formally arrested and not released with an appearance notice.
If you run a bail hearing with inexperienced counsel or by yourself, you risk being denied bail and being kept in custody until your trial. If you are denied bail, you have to wait at least a month before you can appeal the decision to a higher level of court.
Experienced bail lawyers know how to create a narrative based on who you are and what crimes are alleged that can persuade the prosecutor, and the judge, to issue bail with the fewest and least onerous conditions. Bail presentations require time to develop and experience in understanding how courts make bail determinations. Bail is still available and feasible even when charged with drug offences or violent crimes because of the presumption of innocence.
Contact Bulwark Law Today
When the charges you face are serious enough to warrant a bail hearing, your future and freedom are on the line. Consider hiring Bulwark Law. Our lawyers are compassionate and skilled. We have a strong reputation amongst judges and prosecutors in Calgary, and throughout Alberta for aggressive representation, and we’re known for our integrity and full understanding of criminal law and procedure. We always seek to obtain the best results for our clients. For a free initial consultation, call 403 678 7360 today or complete the contact form.