You’ve been arrested and charged with a criminal offence. The police refuse to release you for one or more reasons: you pose a threat to society, you risk re-offending, you’ll skip out on trial, etc. So, what happens next? A bail hearing is held.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees “the right to not be denied reasonable bail without just cause,” and at Banks, Gubbins and Andrews Criminal Law in Grande Prairie, Alberta, our team of experienced criminal defence lawyers is committed to working round the clock to ensure that right is upheld. As specialists in a range of criminal offence proceedings, including bail and judicial release hearings, we can help you take the necessary steps to prepare in order to build a foolproof case.
What is a bail hearing?
Bail hearings are short court sessions that determine whether or not you should be released from custody while awaiting trial. These hearings are an opportunity for both sides to present their evidence and determine the conditions of bail. The Crown reads out the allegations made against the accused and may call witnesses (such as the officer in charge of the investigation) to testify. If the Crown recommends that bail be withheld, then it is up to the lawyer of the accused to help the judge (or justice of peace) see otherwise.
How should you prepare?
As with anything else in life, achieving the best possible outcome requires preparation. Here are four crucial steps to take pending your bail hearing:
- Hire a lawyer. While it may seem obvious, it shouldn’t go unstated. Bail hearings are quite intricate and can be difficult to navigate without proper legal representation. Teaming up with a good bail hearing lawyer who has experience defending clients in the local courts and who can guide you through the entire custody process is your best approach to secure bail.
- Bring your lawyer up to speed. Your lawyer is your personal confidante. In order to better assess your case and determine a winning strategy, it’s important to provide your legal counsel with detailed information. Keep your version of events as consistent as possible and be forthcoming with your answers. Any relevant information that could be presented in court, either against or in favour of bail, is vital to the outcome: level of education, work history, living situation, physical or mental health issues, previous records, relationships (to the surety or victim, for example), etc.
- Find a suitable surety. Your surety is your lifeline; they’re the person who takes responsibility for ensuring you don’t breach the terms of your release. Whether it’s a friend, a family member, a co-worker or an employer, your surety should be someone you trust who understands your particular case and the gravity of their responsibility. Your choice of surety will have a big impact on the court’s final decision; they may actually harm your chances of bail if deemed unsuitable for the job.
- Prepare your defence. With your lawyer, prepare a series of arguments to counter the Crown’s line of defence. For example, if the Crown alleges you’re a “flight-risk,” demonstrate that you have commitments to uphold within your community, such as a steady job. If the Crown suggests you’re a civic threat, lessen concerns by leveraging your clean record (if applicable).
At Banks, Gubbins and Andrews Criminal Law, our criminal defence lawyers are committed to serving the accused in Grande Prairie and surrounding Alberta regions, whether charged with a federal or provincial offence. For more information on bail hearings or to book your free initial consultation, contact us without delay!