A bail lawyer can help you obtain a quick and reasonable bail. Bail is the term used to describe a person’s custodial status prior to trial. Persons denied bail must wait for their trial in a remand facility – a type of prison for those detainees awaiting trial. Persons released on bail may reside in the community until their trial, although typically under court-imposed supervisory conditions.
Bail is one of the most important steps in the criminal process for our clients. Remand facility conditions are harsh: they are often overpopulated, maximum-security facilities, which face frequent lockdowns, and lack prisoner activities and rehabilitative programming. Because court delays often mean trials do not occur until months after the original arrest, remanded persons may be held for a prolonged period of time before their trial actually proceeds. Moreover, remanded persons risk loss of employment, loss of residence, and breakdown of relationships. Finally, being remanded makes it more difficult for the person remanded to assist their lawyer in preparing their defence.
When police officers arrest and charge a person with a crime, they either have discretion to detain that person for a bail hearing or, for some more serious offences, they must detain the person for a bail hearing. When the decision is discretionary it depends on factors such as the need to establish the identity of the detainee, secure or preserve evidence, prevent further offences, ensure the safety of any witnesses or victims, and ensure the attendance of the detainee in court.
There are three grounds on which a court can detain a person pending their trial. First, a court may detain a person if they present a flight risk. Second, a court may detain a person if they present a risk to public safety or of interfering with the administration of justice. Third, a court may detain a person if releasing them would cause a reasonable person to lose confidence in the administration of justice. This third ground is meant to capture instances where the first two grounds may not apply, but the offence is still so serious or the circumstances so aggravating that the person ought not to be released.
Even if an accused presents a risk on one or more of the three grounds for detention, a well-composed release plan can mitigate those risks and allow release. Release plans can be as simple as going to live with a loved one, or as strict as electronic surveillance, curfews, treatment, sureties, cash deposits, and daily reporting. Crafting a release plan that will be successful in acquiring release while also not being stricter than absolutely necessary is an art that requires knowledge of the law and experience with the courts.
If you are arrested and detained for a bail hearing you are a critical stage of the criminal process. Bail hearings are complex proceedings and many accused persons risk harming their legal interests, and ultimately their liberty, if they proceed without the advice of counsel. Moreover, if accused persons are unsuccessful at their initial bail hearing, securing release will require a further application: either a bail review (an appeal of the initial decision to detain), or a detention review (occurs automatically after 90 days of being held in custody). We highly recommend you get the assistance of counsel in preparing and conducting your bail hearing.
If you have any questions, contact our offices now so we can help address you or your loved one’s legal jeopardy. We are available 24/7. We are forceful advocates and we ensure that our clients throughout Alberta are provided with the best defence possible.