What are a surety’s rights and responsibilities?

A is someone who agrees to supervise an accused person while they’re released into the community on waiting for their criminal matter to be resolved in court. Usually this is a friend or relative.

It is against the law to accept payment for being a surety.

Before you will be allowed to act as a surety, you must:

  • be over the age of 18
  • be able to attend court to sign the bail
  • be a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant
  • not be involved in the the person has been charged with
  • not have any outstanding criminal charges
  • be able to monitor the accused to make sure they are complying with conditions of release
  • be willing to report a breach if one occurs
  • have some financial asset(s) you can pledge to the court as security

In most cases, you should not act as a surety for more than one person at a time. Ideally, you should not have a criminal record.

As a surety, you have 3 responsibilities:

  • Make sure the accused person goes to court when required.
  • Make sure the accused person follows the bail conditions.
  • Call the police if the accused person doesn’t follow any of the bail conditions.

Quantum of the bail

When you act as a surety, you must promise to give the court money if the person you’re a surety for doesn’t follow the conditions of their bail. This is called the “quantum of the bail”, or the amount of the bail. Usually, this money doesn’t have to be paid upfront.

The amount you promise must be significant to you, and available from your own accounts or property. It’s usually enough if you can prove that you have the money. The court will usually ask to see papers such as a deed or bank statement to show that you have enough money. The promised money will only have to be paid if the accused person doesn’t follow their bail conditions.

The accused’s lawyer or will tell the court the amount you’re able to promise. The justice of the peace or judge at the decides the security amount.

Surety relief

If at any time you do not want to continue being a surety, you can apply in writing to be removed as surety. Go to the courthouse to make your application.

When you ask to be removed as the surety, a will be issued for the accused person. The accused person will be and put back into . You can also bring the accused person with you when you go to court and ask to be removed as surety.

If you change your mind later, you can ask to be a surety again.

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