Bail, or Judicial Interim Release, is the release of individuals charged with a crime into the community prior to a trial on the charges. All individuals charged with an offence have the right to reasonable bail, a right guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In practice, if you have been charged with a less serious offence, you may be released by police with a promise to appear or an undertaking without the need for bail. If you have been charged with a more serious offence, or if the police do not want to release you, then you are entitled to a bail hearing within 24 hours of being charged.
In Alberta, a first bail hearing takes place in front of a Justice of the Peace, or a Provincial Court. There are important differences depending upon the jurisdiction you have been charged in, which is why it is important to speak to an experienced criminal lawyer about your matter.
At the bail hearing, the Crown will present evidence indicating why you should not be released. This evidence can include a summary of the allegations, the criminal record of the accused, and in some cases, testimony by witnesses or other parties. A criminal defence lawyer can be crucial in defending you against accusations, making representations on your behalf, and in getting you timely and reasonable bail.
A bail hearing is not a trial of the charges, and the presiding justice will not determine whether the allegations are true or not. Instead, a bail hearing is held to determine if you can and should be released into the community, and if so, whether bail money is required or whether conditions are necessary to bind the accused person.
The bail conditions imposed can be extremely restrictive in certain cases, and it is important to have experienced and knowledgeable counsel present at a bail hearing to defend your liberty and reduce the restrictions imposed while you are out on bail. Bail conditions can include conditions that you not contact certain people, not attend at certain places, or attend for counselling or treatment. Other conditions may restrict your ability to possess a cellphone, use the internet, or even leave your home.
If you have been released on bail only upon the posting of bail money, then you will not be released until this money is paid. Bail money is returned to the person who posted it when the criminal charges are resolved if the bail was not breached. If your bail is denied, you may be kept in custody until the criminal charges are resolved.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence, bail is a crucial and urgent first step in the criminal justice process. It is important that your interests are represented by an experienced criminal lawyer from Bottos Law Group at your bail hearing. The lawyers at Bottos Law Group speak to bail 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and collectively have spoken to the release of thousands of individuals charged with serious criminal offences.
If you are in custody, have been charged with an offence, or are looking for a lawyer to speak to bail, please call us immediately at 780-421-7001.