Frequently Asked Questions
The Criminal Justice System is complex and difficult to navigate for people who do not have experience. In order to ensure the best possible outcome in your case it is essential that you are properly represented.
Engaging a criminal lawyer as early in the process as possible will help you to understand the issues, to guide you through the process, and to make sure that you have the best possible defence.
Being charged with a criminal offence does not automatically deny you the right to travel outside the country. In some circumstances an Accused person is given certain conditions following arrest, which may restrict your ability to travel. These types of conditions however, should be made explicit to you upon your release. If you are unsure whether you have received such a condition, you should consult with a Criminal Lawyer.
When a person is arrested and held for bail, they must be brought to Court for a bail hearing within 24 hours. A bail hearing is designed to craft certain conditions by which an Accused person must abide while they are awaiting trial. The conditions will be aimed at protecting Victims, making sure that the Accused does not reoffend, and making sure that the Accused attends Court when required. If you are bailing out a friend or relative, the Court may ask you to act as a Surety. A Surety undertakes to supervise the Accused while they are out on bail, and pledges (see below) an amount of money, which will be forfeited should the Accused breach their conditions.
A cash deposit is not typically required to secure the release of a person who is being released on bail. Instead, a Surety will promise to pay an amount of money determined by the Court should the Accused breach his/her conditions, or fail to attend Court as required.
An Accused’s bail conditions will depend on the offence with which they are charged, as well as the circumstances surrounding the offence. It is possible to change, or vary, an Accused’s bail conditions after they have been released. In order to find out whether such a variation is possible in your case, you should consult with a Criminal Lawyer.
Being charged with a criminal offence does not guarantee that you will receive a criminal record. You may be able to avoid a criminal record by completion of the Diversion program through the Elizabeth Fry Society, or by receiving a discharge. It is also possible that you may be acquitted after a trial. The most important factor in determining whether or not you will receive a Criminal Record is ensuring that you have the best legal counsel available.
The diversion program is available to first time offenders who are accused of “Stage One Provincial Offences”. To be eligible for the program an accused person must be approved by the Crown Attorney. If approved, completion of the program will result in the charges against the accused person being withdrawn, thereby avoiding a criminal conviction.
The program’s requirements will vary depending on the Accused’s personal circumstances. However the program often requires community service, counselling, restitution, and an acknowledgment of wrongful conduct. Where the program is completed successfully, the Accused does not receive any criminal record.