If you have been arrested and charged with a criminal offence in Canada, you have a right to bail. The conditions of that bail, however, can be subject to interpretation.

Courts are supposed to require a “reasonable” bail, but what is reasonable can be a little ephemeral. Is reasonableness linked to the nature and seriousness of the crime? To the accused’s financial resources? These and other questions about obtaining reasonable bail virtually mandate that you have the right lawyer when the time comes for your bail hearing.

You Have a Right to a Reasonable Bail

Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms grants everyone arrested in Canada the right to post a reasonable bail to allow them to be free from jail while they await trial. By being released on bail, an accused can keep working, be his family, and deal with the issues brought on by the pending criminal charges. Most people facing criminal charges find that bail is the only way they can continue working and thus avoid major financial hardship. Once a person is arrested, the police must either release the person or the accused must receive a hearing to set bail. The accused must provide a guarantee, secured by money or property, that the accused will appear for trial and, in the interim, obey the terms of the bail set by the court. The court is required by the Charter of Rights to approve bail unless the Crown can demonstrate why the court should not.

What Is Reasonable Bail?

Recently, critics of the justice system have contended that Canadian courts were not providing reasonable bail but instead were often denying bail completely by setting unreasonable bail requirements. People accused of crimes who were spending a year or more in jail awaiting trial because they could not meet the terms of bail set by the court were frequently accepting plea deals, and the accompanying criminal record, just so they could get on with their lives. Last year, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a decision that set standards liberalizing bail practices that should put courts’ bail decisions more in alignment with the requirements of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The unanimous decision directed courts to start with the presumption that the accused is presumed innocent before proven guilty, and therefore state interference with the accused’s freedom should be as minimal as possible unless there is demonstrable justification. The starting point of analysis on setting bail should be a presumption of release of the accused without conditions.

If You Are Charged With a Criminal Offence in the Calgary area, Contact the Lawyers of Bourdon Defence

If you have been charged with an offence in Calgary or surrounding Alberta and are facing a bail hearing, you need the right lawyer to fight for you. Reasonable bail is a right under Canadian law and you need the right lawyer to help you fight to vindicate that right. The lawyers of Bourdon Defence can assist you in protecting your rights under such circumstances. You can reach us at (403) 474-4143 or through our website.