Administration of Justice Crimes
Failing to Comply with Bail – Toronto, Ontario
This article provides legal information about failure to comply with bail charges in Toronto, Ontario.
Generally, it is a criminal offence to violate any valid condition on a recognizance of bail, undertaking to a police officer, probation order, or peace bond. Those found guilty of violating their bail may face still penalties including jail time in addition to a criminal record.
Those found guilty of violating their bail will often find it much more difficult to receive another release on bail in the future. Given the consequences of being found guilty, it is crucial to hire a lawyer capable of defending against these types of allegations.
Daniel Brown has found success raising both technical and substantive defences to allegations of bail violations on behalf of his clients.
To learn more about defending against an allegation of violating a bail condition, read the article below or call Daniel Brown to arrange a consultation at (416) 297-7200
Frequently asked questions about failing to comply with bail conditions:
- What does the crown need to prove in order to establish the offence of failing to comply?
- What if I had a good reason for violating my bail condition?
- What if I was violating my bail condition and I don’t have a good reason for doing so? Should I just plead guilty?
- What if my constitutional rights were violated? Will I still be found guilty of the offence?
To establish guilt, the prosecutor must prove that the accused was bound to follow the condition set out in the bail order, the accused breached the condition set out in the order, and that the accused person intended to violate the bail condition. If the accused accidentally violated a condition of his bail, he would not be guilty of violating his bail.
For example, if the accused was required to remain 500 metres from a specific address and was found 480 metres from the address, it may be open to him to argue that he wasn’t aware he had breached the distance condition of his bail. If believed, the accused would be found not guilty of the offence.
In some circumstances, it may be impossible for an accused person to comply with a condition of their bail. For example what if the accused was not permitted to leave their residence after 11:00pm and at 12:00am, the accused got very ill and had to go to the hospital? In this instance, the court may accept that notwithstanding the fact that the accused was in violation of their bail condition to remain inside, they had a reasonable excuse for leaving and would therefore be found not guilty. In such circumstances, it is for the accused to convince the judge on a balance of probabilities of the validity of the excuse in order to be found not guilty. If the accused person can establish they had a reasonable excuse for violating their bail, they will be found not guilty.
Quite often, the prosecutor is unable to prove that an accused person was actually violating their bail condition as alleged by the police. Prosecutors may be missing essential police or civilian witnesses to prove the breach or the prosecutor might not have the required bail documents necessary to establish that the accused person was on a bail in the first place.
Pleading guilty to violating a bail release can not only lead to a jail sentence (even for a first time offender) but it can also be a significant factor in denying bail for a future offence (since it will be proven that on a prior occasion, the accused person did not comply with a condition of their bail and are therefore likely to disregard future court orders in the same manner).
A decision to plead guilty should not be made until the accused person has reviewed all of the evidence in the case with his defence lawyer to determine what, if any, potential defences are available to him.
In some circumstances, the fact that the accused person was illegally stopped and searched by police which lead to the discovery of the bail violation may in fact be a possible defence to the charge. I have represented a number of accused persons who have been found not guilty of violating their bail conditions, notwithstanding the fact that technically they were doing something their bail prohibited them from doing. Ultimately, if the police had no legal basis for detaining and questioning the accused, the Court will generally rule that the evidence derived from the illegal encounter should not be used as evidence in the trial. Quite often, without this evidence, the prosecutor is unable to prove the allegation.
If you or someone you know has been charged with failing to comply with bail or other court order, you should immediately contact a criminal lawyer to determine your best defence. Daniel Brown can be reached for a consultation at (416) 297- 7200.