If you’ve been arrested on criminal charges in the Toronto area, mount your defence efforts immediately by securing the services of a highly skilled bail hearing lawyer. The Judicial Interim Release (bail) process in Ontario is among the first of many legal proceedings you will have to address in resolving the criminal charges. Efforts to gain pre-trial release without the assistance of legal counsel could result in an unfavorable bail outcome, including lengthy incarceration while you trial.
In fact, the quicker you secure the services of a Toronto-area bail hearing lawyer, the sooner your release from custody and the more likely you’ll be released under the most favorable conditions. Depending upon the nature of the charges, jurisdiction, and other relevant factors, your bail hearing lawyer may be able to negotiate a best-outcome release without a contested bail hearing.
The bail hearing lawyers at the Greater Toronto Area law offices of Mass Tsang are highly skilled in helping their clients achieve the best bail outcomes possible. This can mark a positive start to your criminal defence efforts and make it easier for your criminal defence lawyer(s) to strategize the handling of your defence going forward.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, get a jump start on mounting a successful defence by contacting the bail hearing lawyers at Mass Tsang immediately. Read on to learn more about the legal complexities involved with the Judicial Interim Release process and how your bail hearing lawyer can help you.CONTACT US
Regardless of how legal courtrooms and trials are portrayed in the media, the majority of those summoned to stand before the judge have two options when it comes to their accommodations whilst their case is being processed by the criminal court. These are the local jail awaiting your trial or being allowed to go free and live in your own home on bail.
This decision making between whether or not to allow someone to go free or to jail them until the trail date is called a bail hearing.
These bail hearings can be unbelievably stressful and nerve- wracking for the average person unfamiliar with the Ontario legal code since you are given less time to prepare. You need to be entirely aware of the evidence for the charges laid out against you and ways to counter it prior to the trail. This lack of information for someone not experienced in the field of law can easily become overwhelming, doubly so if an individual is obliged to spend their time in a detention centre or a jail cell awaiting their trail.
Detention facilities are not the ideal environment to formulate a legal defence and/or raise funds. This results in those held under remand (i.e. detaining an individual who has been arrested or charged with an offense until their trial) dealing with enormous pressure to plead guilty which they often resort to doing when it seems to them that there is no other option.
Trends involving the use of remand across Canada have steadily increased from 2004/2005 to 2014/2015 according to Statistics Canada reporting an average of 24,014 adults per day in sentenced custody, 57% of those were in pre-trial custody (i.e. remand). The problem with these alarming numbers is that these people on remand are sent to maximum security facilities, either jails or detention centres in which an individual is lumped in with other convicts regardless of the crimes committed. This means a young adult who stole some valuables from a store can be in the same enclosed space as a seasoned serial killer. Needless to say, these facilities are gross violations of people’s liberty and human rights for those that do not deserve to be there. As the legal landscape of our courtrooms becomes increasingly risk-averse and more chaotic due to overcrowding, long waiting lists and deadlines, more and more people find themselves isolated while awaiting their trail.
However, it doesn’t mean you have to suffer this fate. Your bail hearing is a time to make right and prevents you from having to deal with the unfortunate reality of the incarceration system. Those in remand are rendered more likely to plead guilty, have less access to legal aid in the form of counsellors and advisors and thus receive longer and more severe sentences on average.
Courthouses do offer free duty counsel (i.e. Government- funded lawyers and paralegals) through Legal Aid Ontario however these advisors are once again subject to the over crowded, chaotic, and stringent timelines as the judges before which they stand and often simply lack the time to come, meet with and interview their clients. This unfortunately results in those who need the help most having subpar bail hearings, higher rates of remand and thus higher rates of conviction and longer sentences.
An experienced, reliable lawyer: one that instead of rushing from one client to the next but instead takes the time to get to know, meet with and interview each of his clients scrupulously and with attention to detail is one that can help get you through the hurdles of the legal system. MassTsang has been successful with thousands of bail hearings with an experienced team servicing clientele across the GTA so you can leave the courtroom and go home with peace of mind.
As with everything else in the justice system, the Canadian legal system stipulates presumed innocence until proven guilty. This right has been constitutionally enshrined since the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was made constitutional law as of 1982. One of these rights is the right to reasonable bail conditions, this does not however mean that they will be the bail conditions you are looking for.
There are also two separate types based on whom the onus falls on. The onus is a legal term used to describe the burden of a defendant or prosecutor when it comes to their respective cases.
Cases in which the Crown or the prosecutor carries the responsibility to justify the detention of the accused. Their goal is to prove the accused must remain in custody until the trail due to the threat of them posing a danger to society. These are the majority of cases unless posted otherwise as...
Cases in which the accused or defendant holds the responsibility to justify their release on bail before the date of the trail.
The cases for which a bail hearing is held in a Superior Court are those for indictable offences. If you have ever had a charge for speeding or parking where you weren't supposed to, these are examples of summary offences and are usually handled by municipal courts. Indictable offences on the other hand are more serious and vary greatly from one scenario to the next.
As previously mentioned, courts recently have tended to become increasingly risk-averse. Therefore, to meet their criteria for having you released on bail, it’s important to know exactly what characteristics they are looking for in the accused prior to making their decision.
This is considered a primary ground of detention. In this case, the court is concerned that if you were to be released on bail, you wouldn’t return of your own volition to your trial and instead try to escape the law.
This is labeled as a secondary ground of detention and is determined if the court deems you capable of committing further crimes and/or rendering the public not safe whilst out on bail.
This is quite rare and is the tertiary ground of detention. This involves the public losing faith in the justice system due to an individual being left out of custody which naturally depends on the circumstances of the offence as well as the publicity of the event.
The unfortunate reality is that the law is meant to be interpreted, it is after all, naturally, a subjective matter. This can sometimes become a danger as what classifies or does not classify as public outrage towards a case alongside a loss of faith in the justice system may and has increasingly resulted in those who might have deserved a chance in bail being denied.
Remember, most cases have the onus set on the Crown. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the crown’s prosecutors to prove why you should not be allowed to go free on bail. This is why it is essential to draft up a bail plan to deal with the concerns the crown may have about releasing you. Before your hearing, the judge will inform you and your lawyer of the type of risk that the crown is concerned with as it pertains to you. That subsequently leaves you with your lawyer the opportunity to draft up your bail plan to articulate exactly why those concerns are invalid and why your release should not be a cause for concern.
A recognizance acts as a form of bail in which a party ‘recognizes’ that they owe a duty to the state. It is granted by a court and requires you to promise to not breach the conditions and acknowledge that doing so will result in criminal charges. There are 2 different types of recognizance; one in which you solely are liable for your actions and put up a liability, usually a cash deposit, which you lose if you breach the court order. On the other hand, the second type requires that you need another person to supervise your bail.
When cases are dealing with indictable offences and/or criminal offences, there will almost always be some concern on the Crown’s side as it pertains to allowing you to go free on bail. It will often come to pass that the crown will recommend to the judge or justice of the peace that the accused be released on certain terms or conditions. These terms or conditions laid out by the Crown by which the accused must abide are known as consent releases. While they might seem attractive to someone hoping to settle the legal matter as quickly as possible, it takes someone with know-how by your side to be able to get you the least restrictive bail conditions to give you the freedom to live your life while preparing for your trail.
These conditions often stipulate restrictions related to your case such as being prohibited from consuming alcohol, having a curfew, being prohibited from contacting an individual and/or requiring the accused to attend an educational institution or otherwise seek employment. At times, these can severely limit the family dynamic and work life of the accused and cut you off from what’s most valuable.
When being held in police custody, the police department carries with it the sole discretion of whether or not to keep you in custody or let you go without any bail hearing. This generally occurs for smaller, usually summary level convictions. The threshold between what is considered a summary level and indictable conviction can be found . If you are allowed to go free after being taken in, the police will generally have you fill out and sign a Promise to Appear form in which you vow to come to your trial hearing.
The conditions on which the police will release you and a document that you might have to sign upon leaving police custody is known as a police undertaking. It is drafted up by either the police department or the court.
Your criminal record history is generally a major factor as to the police department’s decision making and a person with a lengthier or more serious criminal record is more likely to be held in police custody until their bail hearing. The police department is concerned with safety above all else and if they believe that you pose a threat, they will be opposed to letting you out of their custody. By law, your bail hearing must take place within 24 hours of a person’s arrest or otherwise, as soon as possible thereafter according to section 503 of the Criminal Code of Canada. Making sure that your rights are upheld and understood is foundational to our legal system. That is why MassTsang offers a team of lawyers for all communities speaking Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi and more to make sure that you are informed of them and able to protect your self interests to the best of your abilities.
These are involved during an individual’s bail period as well as bail hearings and are, at times, hard to get due to the level of responsibility which they have to carry. A surety is an individual that assumes responsibility for the actions of the accused during a bail period. This is used to offset the concerns a court may have about letting a suspect go free on bail due to one of the three grounds for detention. These are generally family members or otherwise very close friends and are obliged to be aware of the accused bail conditions, keep you up to date with them and ensure that you are following them.
A surety is financially tied to you. If you fail to live up to any of your bail conditions such as not coming home by the time of your curfew or being in possession of alcohol when you are forbidden to do so, or of course, not showing up to your trial hearing, the surety is fined a specific amount of money as a consequence and can range anywhere from $500 to several thousand.
If an individual breaches a court order, they and the surety will be given advance warning of at least 10 days and be granted a hearing at which they can try to explain why they should not lose their money. This hearing process is called estreatment. If you’re having trouble putting up the money for these legal procedures, MassTsang offers easy financing options to finance your legal defence to make sure you receive the service you deserve.
If you’re not happy with the terms of your bail, whether you find them too restrictive or for any other reason, you can request for the crown to change the conditions. This is referred to as consent variation. This is where a lawyer becomes crucial since it is the lawyer who talks with the Crown and provides them with the documents necessary to convince them that the change is necessary. There are legal procedures that everyone must follow and involve multiple options:
Bail Variation Form: This occurs when the Crown agrees to your request to change the terms of your bail and you are obliged to go to court of your own means to fill out a bail variation form. You will also need to be accompanied by your surety(ies) if you have any. An important thing to remember is that the changes do not come into effect until the judge or justice of the peace has signed the form, so be cautious.
Bail Review: When the Crown does not agree to your request for a variation in your bail condition, you might decide to have the case reviewed by a higher third-party. In this case, filling out a Notice of Application to the Crown so they can be informed of the decision you have taken and going to the Superior Court of Justice to plead your case (i.e. the highest ranked legal body in the province). But be prepared to have clear evidence in one of three grounds:
The ways to present this are through providing transcripts of your original bail hearing certified by the reporter and a collection of court documents related to the case known as an Application Record. One can never be too careful because the Crown itself may also apply for a judge to review your bail conditions under section 521 of the Criminal Code of Canada. Keeping a lawyer on hand to manage your case and ensure that your civil liberties are respected and bail terms lenient is a top priority.
Contested bail hearings as well as show cause hearings are all various ways of describing a bail hearing. The ‘show cause’ in show cause hearings is meant as an indicator for the legal onus placed upon one party to prove why they should be released on bail (i.e. the onus is on the defendant) These reverse onus scenarios generally occur when an individual:
As can be seen in these scenarios, the risk of letting the accused out on bail is greatly heightened, thus the legal onus is shifted onto the defendant which makes having an experienced lawyer with you becomes all the more important. With more than 30 years of combined experience, MassTsang is your go-to destination to prove your credibility to the court.
Let’s assume that the court deemed you, the accused, a danger to society or otherwise too risky to be let out on bail and resolved to keep you in custody. Your options become quite limited unless you are under 18 in which case the YCJA (Youth Criminal Justice Act) puts the legal onus on the crown prosecutor instead of the defendant. In the case of a legal adult, the reverse onus of many cases (i.e. laying the legal responsibility on you to prove your credibility to the court) severely restrains your ability to win your freedom.
Bail hearings are very much a make it or break it scenario which is why ensuring you have the most competent confidants beside you to protect your interests is essential. It’s important to keep in mind that until a case has been completed, a person is still bound by their bail conditions. If you want to pose the question of how long you’ll be staying on bail, the answer might be a year, if not more depending on the case. Unless your charges are withdrawn due to overwhelming evidence towards the contrary, the verdict comes in or you plead guilty and are automatically sentenced, this intermediate zone which is plagued by delays is going to be a part of your life whether you like it or not. Getting your bail and with it, the terms and conditions that suit you renders a bad situation at the very least, manageable.
Sureties act as a line of defence when it comes to risk-averse courtrooms and accountable if the rules of your bail are breached and that you follow them as meticulously as possible. However, for more minor cases and depending on a crime’s severity as well as an individual’s criminal record, the court may release suspects on bail on a simple undertaking without a cash deposit or surety. For those that require a surety but aren’t able to provide one, public organizations such as the Toronto Bail Program provide a replacement body that acts as a supervisor and financial backer on your behalf.
As outlined previously, youth cases differ largely in part due to youth cases being cases where the legal burden falls on the Crown. Therefore, the fact that the Crown needs to prove that you must be kept in custody rather than you needing to prove that you are reliable and trustworthy enough to be released on bail makes the bail hearing far more lenient for minors.
An Escape Route: Unlike for adults who have very limited resources to work with after a bail hearing, minors have the right to request a new hearing in front of a youth court judge if the previous justice of the peace denied the individual a right to bail. Adults do not have this right and can only apply for a bail review.
Lawyer: Responsible to make sure your rights and liberties are upheld and acts in protecting your interests. Convincing the crown that you are trustworthy enough to go out on bail or to reach an agreement with them if possible through a consent release. Otherwise, when in the courtroom, they bring up evidence on your behalf proving you should be released with the least restrictive bail conditions that are reasonably possible as it pertains to your case.
Crown: Responsible for advocating for the interests of the general public by ensuring their safety and security. If they have reason to believe you will infringe on one of the grounds that will justify your detention, they will push for it to guarantee that justice is served to the people.
Judge/Justice of the Peace: The ultimate lynchpin, the negotiator and the ruler who takes in evidence from both sides and makes the decision for an appropriate ruling as it pertains to the accused. It is their interpretation of the law that has the final say in the courtroom.
After arrest for a crime, you are entitled to the rights of knowing what you’ve been arrested for, the right to hire and instruct a lawyer, the right to speak with a lawyer, in private and as soon as possible as well as more. A lawyer is not only helpful but necessary in:
Everyone is similarly entitled to a bail hearing 24 hours after arrest or as soon as possible if delays occur. If the police who keep you in custody oppose your release, you will have to wait until a bail hearing.
At a bail hearing, the allegations against you will be read out from a police summary report, this is known as the synopsis
Your lawyer on the other hand will present evidence advocating for your release. The more serious the allegations, the greater assurance a judge needs to ensure you will meet the requirements of the law whilst on bail. This is where cash deposits and sureties come into play. Sureties will supervise your actions and be financially responsible if you breach the terms of your bail. Both you and your surety are usually required to put up a cash deposit which is only payable if you breach the conditions of your bail. Getting a bail that allows you the space to sit back, reflect and plan your next steps is important for making sure that your preparation for sentencing is robust enough to withstand the crown’s prosecution. A legal confidant, one with experience, a perspective of the other side and one that’s willing to listen is key to making your legal process as painless as possible. With a flat rate, no hidden costs and flexible payment plans coupled with an experienced team of over 30 years of combined experience, MassTsang is here to help and put you back on track.
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