Understanding Canadian Criminal Law

Explaining Peace Bonds in Criminal Cases

lizza-document-HP-290_optA 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?

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.

How long does a peace bond last?

A peace bond under s. 810 of the criminal code can last up to 12 months.

What happens if a person violates the terms of a peace bond?

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.

Can a person go to jail for violating a peace bond?

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.

When would someone agree to a peace bond?

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.

Does signing a peace bond mean a person is admitting they committed the crime underlying the bond?

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.

One thought on “Explaining Peace Bonds in Criminal Cases”

  1. If a section 810 peace bond is not a criminal offence, why is it considered a “relevant offence” under the BC Criminal Records Review Act? The judiciary doesn’t consider these orders a criminal offence yet many volunteer organizations consider them a “relevant offence” to disqualify somebody from volunteering or coaching. It seems that public and private sector employers consider them along with convictions yet the judiciary states they are not a criminal offence. Do you have any insight? A conviction or discharge can at least be pardoned. These things seem to linger in police databases forever even though they’re not an admission of guilt or a conviction, which seems contradictory, considering they’re supposed to prevent a criminal record and future problems with employment and travel.

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