1. Learn about the types of releases

I'm being held for a bail hearing. How will the court decide if I can be released?
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1. Learn about the types of releases

There are several types of releases. A release is a document that allows you out of custody and back into the community while your case is in criminal court. Each type involves specific levels of supervision and conditions.

Release without a bail hearing

If you're arrested and charged with an offence, the police may decide to release you without a bail hearing. If this happens, you'll be given one of the following:

Promise to appear

A promise to appear tells you when to come to court and what you've been charged with. If you're given a promise to appear, the police will not hold you in custody for a bail hearing.

Police Undertaking

A police undertaking means you promise to follow the instructions in the release document. For example, the document may include conditions for your release, such as staying away from a specific address or a specific person.

Release after a bail hearing

If you're not released from the police station, you'll be brought to court for a bail hearing. If the court decides to release you, you'll be given one of the following releases:

Undertaking without conditions

 An undertaking without conditions means you promise to come to court when required. This type of release is similar to a promise to appear, except it is issued in bail court.

Undertaking with conditions

An undertaking with conditions means you promise to come to court and to follow other conditions as well. This type of release restricts your freedom more than an undertaking without conditions. For example, you may have to stay away from a specific address or a specific person.

Own recognizance

When you're released on your own recognizance, you must:

  • agree to follow certain conditions set out by the court
  • pledge or promise a specific amount of money to the court as a security for your release
  • sign your own bail

By signing your own bail, you agree to promise to pay a specific amount of money to the court if you do not follow your bail conditions.

Bail program recognizance

A bail program recognizance is when a caseworker in the bail program checks that you're following your bail conditions. This is not available in all jurisdictions.

Surety recognizance

A surety recognizance means someone must come to court and agree to supervise you. Your surety must also promise a specific amount of money as security to the court. If you do not follow the conditions of your bail and your surety does not report you, your surety may have to pay the money they’ve promised to the court.

Residential surety bail

A residential surety bail means someone must come to court and agree to supervise you, and you must live with that person. Your surety must promise to pay the court a specific amount of money as security to the court. If you do not follow the conditions of your bail, and your surety does not report you, your surety may have to pay the money they’ve promised to the court.

Other bail conditions

There are other ways to increase how much you'll be supervised:

  • If you're given curfew conditions, you must stay home during specific hours, usually overnight.
  • If you're given a house arrest condition, you must stay home at all times. You might be given an exception to the house arrest condition, which allows you to go out with your surety. Your surety must be continually at your side while you’re out.

You May Also Need

Legal Aid Ontario, LawFacts
Legal Aid Ontario, LawFacts
Reviewed: July 1, 2018

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