The Bail Hearing Process for Criminal Offences in Calgary

If you or a loved one has been arrested, an essential part of criminal due process is the bail hearing. This process is sometimes referred to as Judicial Interim Release. The purpose of bail is to allow the accused the opportunity to prepare their defence to the criminal charges and not be required to remain in police custody until their actual court trail. Securing bail is always vital to ensuring you are able to properly prepare your defence with assistance from your criminal defence lawyer in Calgary.

The Criminal Code of Canada allows for several types of bail and temporary release for criminal offences. The bail processes can vary from one police agency and province to the other. Some agencies do provide a bail hearing immediately after being arrested and charged with the offence. Other agencies require a person to remain in custody until they are able to appear in front of a judge for the hearing. In the event a person is detained, they are normally taken downtown to the Calgary Court Services Section until their bail hearing.

Finding out whether someone has been detained is often difficult, as the police normally do not release any information to individuals. If you believe your loved one has been arrested and is being detained, the best thing you can do is contact a criminal defence lawyer, as police will release information to lawyers. The only other exception, where police will provide you with information is in cases where a youth offender was arrested and you are their custodial parent.

Two of the most common types of release the police and courts use in Calgary are called Promise to Appear/Appearance Notice and Recognizance. The circumstances, criminal offence and evidence the police have will determine which form of release someone is offered.

Promise to Appear/Appearance Notice Release

This type of release is normally used for people with no prior criminal history or only minor infractions on their criminal records, as well as those charged with minor criminal offences. Securing this form of release is entirely at the discretion of the arresting police department. It does not require a formal bail hearing in front of judge. There are several conditions the police could require in order to grant release, as follows:

  • Promise to Appear
  • Promise of Identification/Report to Police
  • No Contact with Specific Persons
  • No Visiting Specific Addresses or Locations
  • Adhering to a Curfew
  • Keeping the Peach
  • No Further Criminal Offences
  • No Alcohol Consumption
  • No Traveling

Even if you do not entirely agree with the conditions for this type of release, it is often better to accept them, then discuss them in greater detail with your lawyer. Your lawyer can request they be reviewed and changed by the judge at your initial court hearing

Recognizance Release

This type of release is used for more serious criminal offences, where the police and court believe there is a higher risk of the accused fleeing, the accused poses risks of committing further offences, or has a substantial criminal record. You will be required to secure your release with some form of cash deposit or cash surety. In some cases, the judge may grant release with a no cash deposit option, where the cash only has to be paid in the event the conditions for the release are violated. The judge does reserve the right to impose additional terms for the release, similar to those imposed by the police for a Promise to Appear release. However, getting the conditions changed is much more difficult.

With both types of releases, the police and judge look at three factors to determine whether release should be granted. These include:

  1. Whether detention is necessary to ensure the accused will attend all court appearances.
  2. Whether detention is require to protect the public from the accused or prevent the accused from committing further criminal offences.
  3. Whether the Crown has a strong case and the seriousness of the offence and detention is necessary to maintain the public’s confidence in the justice system.

Keep in mind, this information is a generalization into the bail hearing processes and should not be used as actual legal advice. There are always exceptions and specific circumstance for every single case. As such, it is always in your best interests to consult with a Calgary criminal defence lawyer, like Paul Gracia, to discuss your case in further detail. For help with your bail hearing and criminal charges, call Mr. Gracia at 403-975-4529 now.