1. Talk to a lawyer

If you haven’t already, talk to a criminal law lawyer.     

Your rights

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects your right to talk to a lawyer without delay when you’re or .

The police must tell you that you have this right. If you ask, they must allow you to contact a lawyer. You must tell the police that you want to talk to a lawyer. You must be allowed to talk to the lawyer in private.

The police must tell you about Legal Aid Ontario. Legal Aid Ontario pays lawyers known as to give free legal advice to people who can’t afford a lawyer. This advice is available 24 hours a day. If they don’t tell you, ask the police for the toll-free phone number for duty counsel.

At the courthouse

You will be allowed to talk to your lawyer or duty counsel at the courthouse before your bail hearing. Your lawyer will review the conditions with you, and may suggest conditions that will make it more likely that you’ll be released by the court.

Your lawyer or duty counsel may be able to talk to the Crown and negotiate a consent release. A consent release proposal shows the court that the Crown thinks it is possible to release you safely with the suggested plan. Proposing a consent release to the court makes it more likely that you will be released than having a contested .

You should consider accepting a consent release proposal even if you don’t like some of the bail conditions. As long as you’re able to follow the conditions and they do not conflict with any other court orders, you should consider agreeing to the consent release.

If you don’t agree to the all the conditions, you can ask for a focused to discuss the conditions you don’t agree with. After the focused hearing, the judge or justice of the peace decides whether to order the conditions outlined in the consent release.  If you do not agree to follow the conditions you will not be released.

Sometimes if you don’t agree with the consent release, the Crown will insist that a contested bail hearing take place. If this happens, after the contested hearing the court may decide to you and you may not be released.

Therefore, even if you do not like some of the bail conditions, consider whether it might be best to agree so that you can be released and ask for a bail variation at a later date. Doing otherwise may come with an increased risk of being held in for longer than necessary.

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