Nicholas Charitsis is a Toronto lawyer specializing in bail hearings for the Toronto and area courts. Consultations for bail hearings are conducted at no charge by calling 416-878-2275 or contacting our office.
Bail Hearing Lawyer
What is a Bail Hearing?
After the accused has been arrested and taken to the police station the police may ask that a bail hearing be held.
Bail hearings are “Court Hearings” before a Judge or Justice of the Peace to see if the accused should be released from police custody after being arrested, before or while awaiting the trial date.
Bail hearings are held for a judge to consider if the accused should be released from custody after they have been charged with a criminal offence.
At the bail hearing the police may suggest that if the court decides to release the accused that the court impose conditions upon them. e.g. curfews, no alcohol etc.
The judge reviews the case and then makes a decision to either release the accused with or without conditions, while awaiting their court date.
The Judge will Consider Four (4) Points in a Bail Hearing
During a show cause bail hearing the judge under the Bail Reform Act of Canada must consider four (4) things;
- If released from custody will the accused commit the criminal act again?
- Is the identity of the accused known to the police and justice system?
- Will the accused return to the court at a later time to appear for their trial?
- Has any evidence required for the trial been obtained?
Reverse Onus Show Cause Hearings
For some bail hearings for criminal charges, the charge may be considered a “reverse onus”.
A reverse onus, means that at a bail hearing the accused, will be held in custody unless the accused or their lawyer can prove to the court why the accused should be released. The accused has to explain to the court why they should be released, not that the police have to prove to the judge that the accused should be kept in custody.
Reverse onus show cause bail hearings are usually for more serious offences.
At the end of the bail hearing the Justice can either release the accused pending their trial date, hold the accused in jail until the trial date, or release the accused with conditions placed upon them.
The Justice may require that a bond be placed by someone acting as a surety for the accused.
A surety is someone who puts up the bond (a promise to pay a set amount of money on behalf of the accused) at a bail hearing.
Why do the Police Want a Bail Hearing?
Bail Hearings are considered necessary when one or more of the following grounds exists in a criminal prosecution;
To ensure that the accused attends court;
- e.g. if the accused has a history of failing to attend court or abide by court orders
- or if there is a risk that the accused would flee the jurisdiction
- The prosecution could ask that the accused be kept in jail to ensure that they appear for the trial
To protect the public;
- e.g. an accused could be kept in jail if they have a criminal record for similar offenses,
- a history of violence, or
- where there is a fear that the accused will return and hurt the victim or another person, or that the accused will commit other crimes.
- to ensure that the accused does not commit other criminal charges.
To maintain confidence in the administration of justice;
- the court will consider the apparent strength of the prosecution’s case,
- the gravity of the offense,
- the circumstances surrounding its commission and
- the potential for a lengthy jail term
To obtain or gather evidence for the court case;
- the police may have requested the accused be held in custody because the case is ongoing,
- the police may be still gathering evidence for the case,
- the police do not want the accused to be able to contact others involved
Since many Toronto area courts are overburdened with trials and have limited resources, this could mean the accused could remain in jail for many months, unless they are released at their bail hearing.
If you or a family member has been arrested and are facing a Bail Hearing in the Toronto area contact me to discuss the bail hearing process.
Getting the Accused out of Jail
After an accused person is arrested and held in custody the police may notify friends or family of the accused that a bail hearing is going to be held.
The bail hearing will normally will take place within twenty four hours of the accused being arrested and taken to jail.
To be properly represented and to get the accused out of jail you should consider retaining the services of a criminal lawyer who is an expert in Bail Hearings.
When you call me about the Bail Hearing I can advise you about the process and how we can get the accused out of jail.
Why a Lawyer for a Bail hearing?
As a well known Toronto bail hearing lawyer many times I can speak to the police once you’re arrested to avoid going through the bail hearing process.
Or if the accused is held in custody and a bail hearing is going to be held, as a lawyer I can;
- Arrange that the bail hearing be held as soon as possible, and
- Ensure that the accused is released from jail as soon as possible.
At the bail hearing a lawyer can;
- Ensure that the court does not put erroneous or strict bail conditions on the accused
- Ensure there are no strict their movements and ability to work, and deal with issues like;
- Such as house arrest, curfews and reporting conditions.
A bail hearing a lawyer assist your family by;
- Explaining the bail hearing process to your family, and guiding them though the hearing
- Information about becoming surety and providing bail.
- Explain and help with any bail conditions that may be imposed.
- Answer any questions you may have at the hearing,
- Give advice on what documents may be needed to present to the court.
- Give assistance on what to say and how to act in court.
For the accused a bail hearing a lawyer helps by;
- Explaining the bail hearing process to the accused.
- Having witnesses and having people appear at the hearing to testify on your behalf.
- Explain to the accused how they need to act and present themselves
- Guide the accused on what not to do in court
Many times at a bail hearing the crown attorney will want to know about issues such as treatment for alcohol and drugs use, or counselling.
Why Not Duty Counsel for Bail Hearings?
While the accused does not have to retain a bail hearing lawyer, and “duty counsel” (the free lawyer appointed by the government) is available, there maybe reasons why hiring your own independent lawyer for a bail hearing maybe more in your interests.
- The duty counsel lawyer has numerous case given to them that day and doesn’t have much time to give individual attention.
- The duty counsel lawyer does not have the time to go and speak to the police prior or during the bail hearing.
- The duty counsel lawyer has no vested interest in best interests of the accused at the hearing.
- The duty counsel lawyer won’t explain to the accused how they need to present themselves.
Having a lawyer representing the accused will ensure that the bail hearing is conducted in the best interests of the accused.
Bail Hearing Reviews
Where the accused was not properly represented at the bail hearing initially and the accused is held in custody, we can apply to a higher court for a review of the bail hearing and any detention order.
A bail hearing review requires that a separate application be made to the court where upon the lawyer properly represents the accused, brings forth any witnesses for the hearing and presents the accused in the best possible light to either have the accused released from custody or request changes in the bail conditions.
The Bail Hearing is Part of the Criminal Defense.
It is much harder to prepare for a trial where the accused is being held in custody, and many times accused persons are pressured to plea guilty to secure a quick release from being incarnated, due to family or work issues.
Being held in custody will frustrate the communication with your family and legal counsel, as well once released the accused can obtain counselling and/or treatment that may assist counsel in obtaining reduced charges, a favourable disposition to the case, or having the criminal charge dropped completely.
What Happens at a Bail Hearing
At a bail hearing, the hearing will be held in a court room at the court house in front of a Justice of the Peace.
A Crown Attorney will represent the police at the hearing and explain to the Justice or Justice why the accused should be kept in custody prior the trial being held.
The Crown Attorney may suggest that the accused could be released from custody but would ask the court to impose bail conditions upon them while on release.
As many of the courts have a backlog of trials, not being released at the bail hearing could mean that the accused remains in jail for many months.
As a Toronto criminal lawyer who has appeared in Bail court hundreds of times I know the procedures for Bail Hearings to ensure that your family member has the best opportunity to be released from custody with or without bail conditions.
Bail Conditions May Include;
At the bail hearing the court may insist that the accused if released from custody have conditions, (bail conditions) placed upon them, such as;
- Not to leave the country, and to surrender any passport.
- To reside a certain address, including curfews.
- To be of good behaviour, not to commit any further criminal acts.
- Not to attend certain places, or to stay away from addresses, e.g. places known for criminal activities, or a matrimonial home in the case of a domestic assault.
- Not to communicate with persons, e.g. spouses or witness.
- To report to the police daily, weekly, or monthly.
- To abstain from the consumption of alcohol or drugs
The court may want someone to assume the role of a surety. The term surety is the term used in court to describe someone who bailed out an accused person out of jail at a bail hearing.
The court may also ask that the surety provide a bail bond.
To qualify to be a surety for a bail hearing you must meet the following criteria;
- You must be a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant,
- You should not have a criminal record, and
- You cannot be a surety for more than one person at the same time
The court will want the accused to live with the person who is the surety from the date released from jail to their court date.
The surety should come to the bail hearing prepared with proof of identification and documents showing they sufficient assets to sign the bail bond. Assets which qualify for the bail bond are:
- Canadian savings
- A deposit account with a chartered bank
- GICs other investments or;
- Real property (ownership of a home, apartment, condominium, cottage).
- A line of credit or credit card or other assets such as a car do not qualify as proof of assets for the bail bond.
Once the bail hearing is heard, and the accused has been through the bail hearing process the Justice will grant bail to the accused person and they will be released from custody pending the trial.
Upon being released the accused may have certain conditions attached to the bail. Should the accused violate any of the conditions of the bail or commit a further crime the bail would be revoked and the accused would be returned to custody (jail).
As an experienced Toronto Criminal lawyer I will ensure that you receive the best possible legal defense to successfully represent you in court.
After years of experience in the Criminal Courts representing clients in criminal law I am the expert that can help you and best defend you.
I offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case in detail without charge.
Contact me to discuss your case free of charge I have years of experience appearing at bail hearings and I can help you.
About Bail Hearings
Criminal Law Practice
The crown wanted to keep me in custody on the Bail Hearing. Nick was through, professional and explained my situation to the judge. The judge listened to Nick and granted me bail without conditions. Thanks to Nick everything worked out fine!
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