Police often have the option of releasing you shortly after your arrest. However, if they do not do so, then you will be brought before the Ontario Court of Justice for a bail hearing within 24 or as soon as otherwise possible. A bail hearing is the procedure where a judge or justice determines whether you should be released on bail or remain in custody awaiting your trial.
Note: if you are charged with murder, or any other offence listed under s 469 of the Criminal Code, then the procedure is quite different.
Toronto bail hearings lawyer can be reached 24/7 at 647-771-2416, and is available for urgent bail hearings on weekdays, weekends, and statutory holidays. Unlike most Toronto criminal lawyers, Daniel Freudman accepts Legal Aid certificates for bail hearings, as he understands that financial constraints shouldn't prejudice one's constitutional right to reasonable bail. Although Daniel is situated in Toronto, he conducts bail hearings in courthouses across the GTA as well as other nearby jurisdictions.
The 3 Grounds for Detention
If the Crown Attorney opposes your release on bail, it means that they are seeking your pre-trial detention under one or more of the following grounds:
(1) Primary Ground (flight risk): this ground is generally relied upon when, based on the circumstances, the Crown feels that your detention is necessary to ensure your attendance in court.
(2) Secondary Ground (risk of re-offending): this ground is generally relied upon when, based on the circumstances, the Crown believes that you may commit further offences if released, and that your detention is necessary for the protection or safety of the public
(3) Secondary Ground (interests of the administration of justice): this ground is generally reserved for serious offences, and considers the necessity of your detention in light of the apparent strength of the Crown’s case, the seriousness of the offence, and other case-specific factors.
Show Cause and Reverse Onus Offences
In most offences, the Crown bears the onus to "show cause" as to why you should remain in custody rather than be released prior to your trial. However, in certain enumerated serious offences, there is a "reverse onus" where the burden lies on you to show why you should be released. This "reverse onus" will occur if:
- you are charged with an indictable offence that is alleged to have been committed while you were at large after being released in respect of another indictable offence; or
- you are charged with importing or trafficking (or possession for the purpose of trafficking) heroin, cocaine, or any other Schedule I substance; or
- you are charged with an indictable offence and are not ordinarily resident in Canada; or
- you are charged with an indictable offence alleging terrorism or connection with a criminal organization; or
- you are charged with Failure to attend court, Failure to comply with appearance notice or promise to appear, or Failure to comply with condition of undertaking or recognizance
Why Legal Representation is Critical
Bail hearings are extremely difficult to conduct if you are not represented by a legal professional. The hearings can be very complex, often involving calling and questioning witnesses, as well as the need to cite legal authority (i.e. past cases) to support your arguments for release. You only get one chance at a bail hearing, and if you are unsuccessful, the procedure for reviewing your detention order is costly and arduous. The importance of pre-trial release cannot be underestimated, as it removes the stress of being incarcerated and allows you to properly communicate with your lawyer rather than having to contact them from jail. For these reasons, it is critical that you retain a lawyer to represent you at the bail hearing so that your initial chances of release are maximized.
Toronto bail hearings lawyer Daniel Freudman has an abundance of experience in conducting bail hearings, and is also often able to convince the Crown to consent to pre-trial release, thereby eliminating the risk and uncertainty of a contested bail hearing.
How Daniel Freudman Will Maximize Your Chances of Release
Daniel will take time to speak with you and gather information to determine your ideal conditions of release and your most suitable surety. Once a potential surety is ascertained, Daniel will carefully discuss with them the bail hearing procedure. This will help prepare them for cross-examination by the Crown Attorney as well as any potential questions the judge or justice may have.
Daniel will also develop and discuss with you and your surety a potential Plan of Supervision to optimize your chances of release. At the hearing, Daniel will assert persuasive factual arguments and raise supporting legal precedents to bolster your case. He will also prevent the Crown Attorney from asking improper questions or attempting to impose overly onerous release conditions.
From start to finish, Toronto bail hearings lawyer Daniel Freudman will give your case the attention it deserves, and will fight passionately for your release from custody.
If your bail hearing is unsuccessful and you are not released from custody, an application can be brought to the Superior Court of Justice for a bail review.
However, the detention order will only be overturned if it can be established that there has been a material change in your circumstances since the bail hearing, or that the presiding justice made an error of law during your bail hearing. It generally takes about 3 weeks to compile all the documents that must be filed with the court (i.e. any affidavits, transcripts of the bail hearing and the charging document), and then at least 3 business days notice before a judge can hear the application. It is necessary that both you and your proposed sureties attend the bail review in person.
Subsequent Review and Automatic ReviewIf your bail review is unsuccessful, you must wait at least 30 days before you are allowed to make another application. Otherwise, while you are in jail, a Superior Court judge will automatically make a bail review after a prescribed period of time. The time periods are 30 days from the date of the detention order for summary convictions, and 90 days for indictable convictions.
On ConsentA recognizance or undertaking can be varied at any time if the Crown Attorney agrees and provides written authorization. Legal representation is vital for this to occur, as Crown Attorneys often refrain from speaking directly to accused persons.
Toronto bail hearings lawyer Daniel Freudman is able to promptly schedule meetings with Crown Attorneys to negotiate changes to your bail or recognizance, and ensure that you are not subject to any unduly onerous conditions. Daniel has proven success in convincing Crown Attorneys to delete certain unnecessary conditions and amend the recognizance to allow you to do such things as: contact persons you were previously restricted from communicating with, extend your curfew or insert exceptions allowing you to go to work or school, substitute your current surety for a different one.
On ApplicationIf the Crown Attorney does not consent to the proposed changes, then it is necessary to bring an application to the Superior Court of Justice to vary the bail or undertaking.
Your surety will often be required to pledge a sum of money to the court as assurance that you will abide by the conditions of your bail. If you fail to appear on for one of your court dates or breach the terms of your bail, the Crown may make an application to collect the money promised by your surety. In such case, an "estreatment hearing" will be held where your surety will have the opportunity to explain their side of the story and contest the forfeiture of their pledged money.
After the hearing, the justice will make an order as to whether all, some or none of the money will be surrendered. Afterwards, you will likely be returned into custody with your surety being relieved of their responsibilities to supervise you.
Importance of Legal RepresentationEstreatment hearings often deal with sums of dollars in the thousands, all of which has the potential to be forfeited to the court. As the cost of losing your surety’s pledged money will far outweigh the cost of retaining legal counsel for the hearing, it is very unwise to attempt to conduct an estreatment hearing on your own.
Toronto bail hearings lawyer Daniel Freudman will devote his time and effort towards speaking with you and your surety to carefully understand your side of the story. This will allow him to develop the best possible defences to the Crown’s forfeiture demand, and correspondingly, maximize the chances of your surety keeping their pledged money.