If you’ve been arrested, you may be held for a bail hearing. This is where the judge or justice of the peace decides if you will be held over for trial or granted bail. Bail usually has conditions that you will have to follow until your criminal matter has been dealt with in court. Keep reading to learn how to prepare for your bail hearing.
1. Get a Lawyer
If you don’t already have a lawyer, you should get in touch with a criminal defence lawyer. You will need to tell him or her what the charges are, and that you are being held for a bail hearing.
If you need one, you can get a duty counsel lawyer at bail court to represent you for free. If you don’t have a lawyer at this time, you will have an interview with the duty counsel lawyer at the courthouse and help you to prepare a bail plan before you get called into the courtroom.
2. Tell Your Lawyer the Details
You should tell the lawyer if you have a criminal record, your medical and personal history, if you have any outstanding charges, and if you have a place to go if you are released from jail on bail. Tell your lawyer if you have mental health, addictions, or other medical conditions.
Your lawyer should talk with you about what you have on your criminal record, what the police say you did, what your plan is for bail, and what will happen if you don’t follow your bail conditions.
The lawyer should also ask for name and contact information for anyone who can act as your surety. He or she should then get in touch with them and have them come to your bail hearing if they need to.
In bail court a person can be released with an undertaking without conditions; an undertaking with conditions; on your own recognizance; under the supervision of the bail program; under a surety recognizance; and under a residential surety recognizance.
3. Consent Release Plan
If the Crown agrees you can be released, a consent release plan is proposed to the court. If the judge or justice of the peace don’t have any reason to think the agreement isn’t acceptable, you can carry through with the bail hearing and might have your surety testify.
If the judge or justice of the peace has any concerns at all, he or she will turn down the proposed consent release. In this case, you will have to meet with your lawyer again to decide on a better release plan that will satisfy the court’s concerns.
4. Contested Bail Hearing
If the Crown attorney disagrees with you being released on bail, there will be a show cause or contested bail hearing. The Crown has to show cause as to why you shouldn’t be released from jail while you wait for trial.
In some cases, you will have to prove why you should be released. This is called a “reverse onus” bail hearing. This happens when you are arrested for a new crime while out on bail for a different matter, you were charged with a drug offence, you were out on bail and breached your conditions, or you were charged with a certain serious offence.
5. Release or Remand
After the judge or justice of the peace listens to the evidence, he or he will decide if you will be released on bail with conditions or if you will be remanded into custody while your matter is in criminal court.