If you are arrested and charged with a criminal offence in Alberta, you may be wondering how you can get out of custody and return to your normal life until your trial. The answer is bail, which is the legal process of obtaining your release from detention before your case is resolved.
However, getting bail is not always easy or straightforward, and you may need the help of a criminal defence lawyer to secure your freedom and protect your rights.
In this blog post, we will explain how bail works in Alberta, what factors the court considers when deciding whether to grant bail and how a criminal defence lawyer can help you get bail.
What Is Bail And How Does It Work In Alberta?
Bail is the temporary release of a person who is accused of a crime, subject to certain conditions and restrictions. Bail can be granted by the police or by the court, depending on the seriousness of the offence and the circumstances of the accused.
The purpose of bail is to ensure that the accused will attend all their court appearances, obey the law, and not pose a danger to the public while awaiting trial.
Types Of Bail
There are different types of bail in Alberta, such as:
- Officer Release: This is when the police release the accused without having to appear before a court, usually for minor offences. The accused may have to sign a promise to appear in court on a certain date and follow some conditions, such as reporting to the police, staying away from certain places or people, or abstaining from alcohol or drugs.
- Release Order: This is when the court releases the accused after a bail hearing, which is a formal proceeding where the Crown prosecutor and the defence lawyer present their arguments and evidence.
- The court may impose a variety of conditions on the release order, such as paying a deposit or a surety (a person who guarantees to pay a certain amount if the accused fails to comply with the bail terms), residing at a certain address, abiding by a curfew, wearing an electronic monitoring device, or attending counselling or treatment programs.
- Detention Order: This is when the court denies bail and orders the accused to remain in custody until their trial. This can happen if the court finds that there is a substantial likelihood that the accused will not show up for court, commit more offences, or endanger the safety of the public or the administration of justice.
Factors Affecting The Court’s Decision To Grant Bail
The court has to balance the presumption of innocence of the accused with the protection of the public and the integrity of the justice system when deciding whether to grant bail.
The court will consider various factors, such as:
- The nature and seriousness of the offence: The court will look at the type and severity of the charge, the potential penalty, the evidence against the accused, and the impact on the victim and the community. Generally, the more serious the offence, the harder it is to get bail.
- The criminal record and history of the accused: The court will look at past convictions, outstanding charges, breaches of bail, warrants, or failures to appear of the accused. Generally, the more extensive and recent the criminal record, the harder it is to get bail.
- The personal circumstances of the accused: The court will look at the age, health, employment, education, family, and community ties of the accused. Generally, the more stable and responsible the accused is, the easier it is to get bail.
- The strength of the defence case: The court will look at the possible defences, alibis, witnesses, or other evidence that the accused may have to challenge the Crown’s case. Generally, the stronger the defence case, the easier it is to get bail.
- The public interest: The court will look at the public confidence in the justice system, the need to deter and denounce crime, and the risk of reoffending or interfering with the investigation or the witnesses. Generally, the higher the public interest, the harder it is to get bail.
How Can A Criminal Defence Lawyer Help You?
A lawyer with experience in various areas of criminal defence can help you get bail by:
A criminal defence lawyer can explain the bail process, the possible outcomes, and the consequences of your decisions. A criminal defence lawyer can also advise you on how to comply with your bail conditions and avoid further trouble with the law.
A criminal defence lawyer can communicate with the Crown prosecutor and try to reach an agreement on the terms and conditions of your release. Moreover, an experienced lawyer can also persuade the Crown to withdraw or reduce the charges or to consent to your release without a bail hearing.
Bail Hearing Representation
A criminal defence lawyer can prepare and present your case at the bail hearing by highlighting your strengths, challenging the Crown’s evidence, and proposing reasonable and workable bail conditions. Having an experienced criminal defence lawyer by your side is important so that they can cross-examine the Crown’s witnesses, call your own witnesses, or introduce other evidence to support your release.
A criminal defence lawyer can appeal the bail decision if you are denied bail or if you are unhappy with the bail conditions. They can file an application for a bail review, which is a hearing before a higher court where you can ask for a different decision or different conditions.
About Slaferek Law
At Slaferek Law, we are committed to helping you get bail in Alberta. We are one of the most trusted criminal law firms in Edmonton, with years of experience in providing reliable legal services to clients facing criminal charges.
Our criminal defence lawyers are passionate about defending your rights and freedoms and ensuring that you receive fair and just treatment from the criminal justice system. Whether you need help with officer release, release order, or detention order, we can assist you with the bail process and represent you at the bail hearing. We can also help you prepare for your trial and defend your case.
Contact us todays for a consultation, and let us help you create an effective defence strategy.