As criminal defence lawyers in Edmonton, we are often asked about bail. It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot in crime-related TV shows and movies, but what is it exactly, and how does it work in Alberta, Canada?
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a criminal offence in Alberta, understanding what bail is and how it works is critical to secure your release from custody.
In this blog post, we’ll provide you with a detailed explanation of bail, including what it is, how it works, and what your rights are.
What Is Bail?
Bail is a process that allows a person who has been arrested and charged with a criminal offence to be released from custody until their trial. The purpose of bail is to ensure that the accused appears in court for their trial and to protect the public from any potential harm that the accused may pose.
In Canada, the right to bail is protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 11(e) of the Charter states that “any person charged with an offence has the right not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause.”
How Does Bail Work?
When a person is arrested and charged with a criminal offence, they are brought before a judge or justice of the peace for a bail hearing. The purpose of the bail hearing is to determine whether the accused should be released from custody and, if so, what conditions should be imposed on their release.
The judge or justice of the peace will consider several factors when making a bail decision, including:
- The seriousness of the offence
- The accused’s criminal history
- The likelihood that the accused will appear in court for their trial
- The safety of the public
What Are Bail Conditions?
When a person is released on bail based on the factors above, they will be subject to several conditions. These conditions are set by the justice of the peace or judge and are designed to ensure that the accused shows up for their court appearances and does not commit any further offences while out on bail.
Bail conditions can include the following:
- Reporting to a bail supervisor
- Staying away from certain people or places
- Surrendering travel documents
- Abstaining from drugs or alcohol
- Following a curfew
- Not possessing any weapons
If the accused does not comply with the conditions of their bail, they may be arrested and brought back before the court for a bail revocation hearing.
Bail In Edmonton, Alberta
In Alberta, the Criminal Code of Canada sets out the rules and procedures for bail hearings. Section 515 of the Criminal Code outlines the factors that must be considered by the court when making a bail decision. These factors include:
- the nature and gravity of the offence
- the strength of the evidence against the accused
- the accused’s criminal history
If you are facing criminal charges in Edmonton, it is important to work with an experienced criminal defence lawyer who can help you navigate the bail process. At Slaferek Law, our team of lawyers has a deep understanding of the bail process in Alberta and can provide you with expert advice and guidance throughout your case.
Types Of Bail
In Canada, there are two types of bail: police bail and judicial interim release (JIR).
Police bail is granted by a police officer at the time of arrest and allows the accused to be released from custody with certain conditions until their court appearance. Contrarily, JIR is granted by a judge or justice of the peace at a bail hearing.
If the accused is granted JIR, they may be required to enter into a recognizance, which is a legal agreement that requires the accused to comply with certain conditions in exchange for their release. The accused may also be required to provide a surety, which is a person who agrees to pay a specified amount of money if the accused fails to comply with the conditions of their bail.
What Are Your Rights If You’re Denied Bail?
If you’re denied bail, you have the right to apply for a bail review. This means that a higher court will review the decision to deny bail and determine whether it was reasonable. If the court finds that the decision to deny bail was unreasonable, they may grant you bail.
It’s important to note that if you’re charged with certain offences, such as murder or certain drug offences, you may be subject to a reverse onus. This means that you will have to show why you should be released on bail, rather than the Crown having to show why you should be detained.
What Happens if You Don’t Show Up For Court?
If you fail to show up for your court appearances, a warrant can be issued for your arrest. You may also be charged with the criminal offence of failure to appear. This offence can result in additional penalties, including fines and jail time.
If you’re unable to attend a court appearance for a legitimate reason, such as illness or a family emergency, you should contact your defence lawyer as soon as possible to explain the situation. Your lawyer may be able to arrange for a new court date or make other arrangements on your behalf.
The Importance Of Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer For Bail Proceedings In Alberta
During a bail hearing, a criminal defence lawyer can provide valuable advice and guidance on how to present yourself in court and what to say or not say during the hearing. They can also help you gather and present evidence that supports your release from custody.
Additionally, having a lawyer can help to demonstrate to the court that you are taking your charges seriously and are committed to complying with any conditions of your release.
About Slaferek Law
We are a team of experienced criminal defence lawyers dedicated to providing our clients with the best possible legal representation. We understand the stress and uncertainty that comes with being charged with a criminal offence, which is why we are committed to guiding our clients through every step of the legal process. Learn more about Slaferek Law.
Need legal representation in Edmonton? Contact us now.