Bail Hearing Lawyers in Ottawa
Being arrested and charged with a crime is often the worst day of a person’s life. It’s not improved if you are subsequently denied bail.
The job of a bail hearing lawyer is to ensure that you are not placed in this predicament and that you can enjoy relative freedom while your case goes through the justice system in Ottawa.
At Friedman Mansour LLP, we consider it our responsibility to ensure that you are granted bail and will prepare a solid case for your release whatever criminal situation you find yourself in.
Do I need a lawyer for a bail hearing in Ontario?
Navigating a bail hearing without the expertise of a lawyer by your side is inadvisable though not a legal necessity.
Given that your immediate freedom is on the line, the stakes are high and the processes can be confusing for someone not well versed in them. You may also say something that harms your defence at trial.
Depending on the nature of your alleged crime, the prosecution may recommend your detainment while your case passes through the legal system.
It’s not only your release that is in question at a bail hearing but the terms of your release.
Persuasive arguments must be made to ensure that you are granted bail with the least stringent terms possible.
What steps are involved in a bail hearing?
Your bail hearing must be arranged within 24 hours of your arrest and charge in Ottawa. You will be taken from the police station to a courthouse for an appearance before a justice of the peace.
Here, it will be determined whether you can be released from custody while you are awaiting trial.
Your lawyer may consult with the prosecution and negotiate reasonable terms for your release beforehand.
The decision of whether to grant bail is not influenced by your plea of guilty or not guilty. Instead, the judge will consider several key factors:
- Public safety (will you endanger others?)
- Likelihood of attendance in court (are you a flight risk?)
- Maintaining confidence in the administration of justice
The experience of your lawyer will count for a great deal as making persuasive arguments to secure your release on bail can be challenging.
A surety may also be required. This is usually provided by a family member or friend and is in the form of a cash amount if you do not appear in court on the designated date.
What types of bail release are possible?
The main types of bail release are “promise to appear” and “recognizance”.
Your release will depend on the nature of your alleged crime and your criminal record, as explained below.
Recognizance usually applies to more serious criminal charges or where an accused person is considered a flight risk or a danger to the public based on past criminal history.
It requires a deposit of something of value (usually cash) which is returned in full provided the release terms are not breached. It may also require a surety.
With recognizance, bail conditions may be harsh, including restrictions on movements, social interactions, access to media, etc.
Promise to Appear (“Appearance Notice”)
A “promise to appear” is often applicable for lower-level criminal cases where the defendant has no criminal record.
This requires no formal bail hearing and can be granted at the discretion of the police.
Our lawyers will always pursue this avenue of release if possible because it is quicker and there are generally few conditions attached to the release (and no requirement to deposit cash for bail).
What are bail conditions?
Bail conditions are terms associated with your release. These may be many and varied depending on the nature of the alleged crime but typical conditions include:
- Reporting regularly to a police officer
- Not communicating with certain people
- Not traveling outside of Ottawa
- Not possessing a weapon
- Not possessing a cellphone
- An alcohol and/or a driving ban
- Mandatory attendance at counseling
Is bail the same as a bond?
The bond system, which is used widely in the U.S., is usually termed the “surety” system here in Canada.
This has already been detailed above and is used as a pledge by a family member or friend to guarantee your appearance in court.
Bail is different. This is the deposit of a cash payment or other item of value to secure release from detention.
How can you be denied bail?
All but the most serious offences generally result in bail being granted.
However, people can be refused bail at bail hearings. Reasons can vary but the most common ones are detailed below.
Reasons to be denied bail
- You have a criminal record that suggests you may re-offend
- Your alleged offence is serious and you pose a risk to the general public
- You are a danger to another specific person
- You are a flight risk
- The JP is not convinced that you will appear in court on the designated date
Can you appeal if bail is denied?
If bail is denied, you may be detained until the outcome of your trial.
This often creates extra stress and hardship, as it could mean that you are not able to work and support your family, which leads to financial pressures.
It also makes the process of preparing your defence more challenging as you will need to meet with your lawyer in jail.
However, all is not lost if bail is denied. It is possible to apply for the bail review court to reconsider the decision. However, it may be challenging to get your application approved and harder still to receive a positive outcome.
Your bail hearing lawyer must be able to show either that:
- A legal error was made in the original hearing, or
- Your circumstances have changed so that if your hearing was held today, you would be granted bail
Get released on bail affordably and quickly
The presence of an experienced criminal defense lawyer at your bail hearing can improve your chance of release.
It demonstrates to the court that you are acting responsibly, taking the charge seriously, and likely to attend your court appearance.
Your lawyer will be well-accustomed to the bail hearing process in Ottawa and will work with the police, the prosecution, and the court system to help secure your release from the stress of being in custody.
Often, the bail hearing lawyers at Friedman Mansour LLP are able to work with the presenting officer or prosecutor to negotiate your release without a formal bail hearing. This ensures that you spend the least possible time in custody and have fewer restrictions imposed.
Start with a free case evaluation from our legal team.
Get In Touch
Call, text, email, or chat. We answer 24/7 for emergencies.