What is bail?

Bail, also known as a “ of ”, is a that lets you remain in the community while your case is in the court system.

A is not a . The judge or justice of the peace doesn't decide whether you're guilty or innocent. Instead, they decide whether or not you should go back into the community while your case is in criminal court. If you're denied bail you will be kept in while your case is ongoing.

A bail is also known as a show cause hearing. That is because usually the Crown must “show cause” why you shouldn't be released from custody on the least strict type of release: an without conditions.  

An undertaking without conditions lets you be released from custody as long as you promise to go to court when required. If the Crown wants you to follow more conditions if you're released, they must explain to the judge or justice of the peace why.

Sometimes, you may need to “show cause” why you should be allowed to go back into the community while your case is in court. This is called a “reverse onus” bail hearing. A reverse onus bail hearing happens if:

  • you were already on a release and now you're facing new, unrelated criminal charges
  • you were already on a release and you didn't follow your conditions, and have been charged with
  • you were charged with a drug involving the sale of drugs
  • you were charged with certain serious offences

At a bail hearing, a judge or justice of the peace will decide if you should be held in custody or released. If you're granted bail, you will likely have to follow conditions given to you by the court.

Your bail hearing is a very important step in the criminal court process. You only get one bail hearing in the . If you're denied bail, you will be in custody until your case is resolved, goes to trial, or you're released after a in the .

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