Ottawa Bail Lawyer
Arrest is a profound interruption of your life and liberty with serious consequences for you and your family. Criminal charges result in arrest and being taken into custody. You are photographed and fingerprinted. You are searched and placed in a cell. Your family cannot visit. Within 48 hours, the prosecution must bring you before a criminal court to determine whether you will be released from custody while awaiting trial.
You can best participate in your defence by getting out of jail and back home. Being released on bail allows you to continue to work, thus supporting yourself and your family, and to meet privately with defence counsel to help prepare your defence of the criminal charges. The advantages of being out on bail are not just practical, but also psychological. It might take many months for a case to come to trial. Where would you rather be?
The bail hearing is the first appearance before a court, and the consequences of that bail hearing might reverberate throughout the time the case is pending. The bail hearing decision is the ruling on your liberty.
Call today to schedule a free consultation with Ottawa bail hearing lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth to preserve your rights and to prepare for this first interaction with a judge.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Bail Hearing?
Although not required, it is advisable to be represented by a skilled lawyer at the bail hearing. Your liberty is at stake. Appearing before a bail court is an intimidating and confusing experience, especially if you are unfamiliar with the proceedings and its ramifications. A skilled criminal defence lawyer will let you know what to expect, provide a roadmap to the proceedings, and instruct you as to when to speak so that you are not waiving any rights inadvertently.
An experienced lawyer taking you through this most important step means asserting the argument that you should be released pending trial, even for serious criminal charges. The disadvantages of having to post a large bail bond or remaining in jail pending trial are obvious. Posting bail is expensive and often requires family cooperation. Being free to earn a living and participate in preparing your defence in the privacy of your lawyer’s office instead of the visiting room at the jail make all the difference in how you can successfully respond to criminal charges. A skilled lawyer can negotiate the terms of release so that you are as unencumbered as possible in the months pending trial.
Although bail rulings are reviewable, appeals are expensive and time-consuming. You deserve the best defence, and a best defence requires bail hearing representation by skilled and competent lawyers.
What Happens at a Bail Hearing?
A bail hearing is conducted before a justice of the peace. The justice of the peace will review the police reports and the defendant’s prior criminal record to determine whether it is appropriate to release you.
- Are you likely to show up for court appearances or are you a flight risk?
- Is detention necessary to protect the public, and/or
- Are you likely to reoffend while released from custody?
Will I be Released on Bail?
Your best shot at being released on bail pending trial is to hire a skilled criminal defence lawyer who can negotiate with the prosecutor to agree to release and terms, thus avoiding the bail hearing, or, alternatively, to prepare a viable argument to present to the court as to why release is appropriate under the circumstances. Unless the criminal charge is extraordinary, there are arguments that a defendant should be released pending trial. Even if bail is required, a knowledgeable defence lawyer knows how to locate sureties and tailor the conditions of release so that they are not onerous and least impact your liberty.
What Happens if I Am Not Released on Bail?
Although bail decisions are reviewable at the Superior Court of Justice, overturning a negative decision by the Justice of the Peace is not easy. Only legal error or changed circumstances are valid grounds for reversing a negative bail order. The consequences of remaining in jail pending trial impact your ability to make a living and to participate fully in preparing your defence. Therefore, it is critical to retain skilled criminal defence lawyers to represent you at the bail hearing in order to protect your liberty.
What Types of Bail Releases Are There?
There are two types of bail:
- Recognizance: Requires the posting of something of value to guarantee that the defendant appears at all court hearings and does not flee the jurisdiction. Recognizance applies when charged with more serious criminal offences and when the defendant already has a criminal record. In addition to depositing money, a deed, or a bond with the court, conditions for release can be included in the recognizance order.
- Promise to Appear: Offered by the police without a formal bail hearing, a promise to appear is usually issued in lower level criminal prosecutions and when the defendant does not have a criminal record. Obviously, a promise to appear is the preferred release. This is another reason why it is beneficial to retain skill criminal defence early in the proceedings, so that there is an opportunity to negotiate with the police and prosecution to craft the least restrictive conditions for release.
What Are the Bail Conditions?
Being released on bail ordinarily carries with it conditions imposed by the court at the bail hearing. You might be ordered to:
- Deposit money with the justice, which is held to guarantee your compliance with the terms of release
- Recruit friends or family members to act as sureties, who promise to pay a certain amount of money if you disobey the terms of release
- Report regularly to a police officer
- Remain within a specific geographical area
- Submit to alcohol or drug testing
- Participate in counseling
- Not communicate with certain people; and/or
- Surrender any weapons
Why Would You Be Refused Bail?
Bail can be denied under specific circumstances, including:
- The prior criminal record of the defendant
- The defendant is a danger to others
- The defendant is a flight risk
- The judge is not convinced that the defendant will actually appear at hearings
Contact our Bail Lawyers Today
Choosing an Ottawa bail lawyer can help preserve your rights and defences to criminal charges. At Auger Hollingsworth, we offer a free consultation session during which you can assess our lawyers and we can assess the strength of the prosecution’s claims. During this free consultation we will:
- Review the criminal charges or the request for appearance or subpoena for documents, and any police reports and other documents.
- We will listen to your story and map out the areas for investigation, begin to compile a list of witnesses, and compose the various strategies the facts and law offer.
- We will provide you with an estimate of the cost of legal services.
- If we are unable to provide you with a defence, we will refer you to other counsel.
Call today at (613) 699-8192 to schedule a free consultation with the skilled Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth.