A peace bond is a court order imposed by a judge in a criminal proceeding. Agreeing to a peace bond or having one imposed on you can have significant legal consequences. The following article attempts to explain the law surrounding peace bonds in Canadian criminal cases.
Frequently asked questions about peace bonds:
- What is a peace bond?
- How long does a peace bond last?
- What happens if a person violates the terms of a peace bond?
- Can a person go to jail for violating a peace bond?
- When would someone agree to a peace bond?
- Does signing a peace bond mean a person is admitting they committed the crime underlying the bond?
A peace bond is an official promise made by someone to the Court to abide by certain rules. Usually those rules require a person to “keep the peace and be of good behaviour” and may also require them to refrain from contacting an individual, attending a particular location or from possessing a weapon for a specified period of time.
A peace bond under s. 810 of the criminal code can last up to 12 months.
A peace bond is a court order and it is a criminal offence to intentionally violate any of the terms contained in the order. Those alleged to have violated a peace bond may be charged and prosecuted for the crime. The offender may also be required to pay a monetary amount stipulated on the bond if they are found guilty. Typically the monetary amount attached to the bond ranges from 500-2000 dollars.
The maximum penalty for violating a peace bond is four years in jail where the crown proceeds by indictment or 18 months in jail where the crown prosecutes the case by way of summary conviction.
Sometimes the prosecutor will agree to withdraw criminal charges in exchange for having the accused enter into a peace bond. This is a common occurrence in domestic assault related cases where the prosecutor decides not to prosecute the criminal charge(s). Read my article on domestic assault for more information on the topic.
A person who signs a peace bond is not required to acknowledge any criminal wrongdoing before signing the bond. It is not an admission of guilt nor will it result in a criminal record.
By signing the bond, the accused person is only agreeing that in the circumstances of the case, the alleged complainant subjectively had reasonable grounds to fear for his or her safety, or his or her spouse or child’s safety, or fear damage to his or her property.
For more information on peace bonds and other criminal law related issues, call Daniel Brown to arrange a consultation at (416) 297-7200.