1. Learn about consent releases and contested bail hearings

How should I prepare for my bail hearing?
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1. Learn about consent releases and contested bail hearings

Getting released on consent

Before you’re brought into the courtroom, your lawyer or duty counsel will often talk to the Crown prosecutor about your plan for release. If the Crown thinks you can be released, and your lawyer or duty counsel agree with the Crown on the conditions of your release, a “consent release” will be proposed to the court.

The judge or justice of the peace will decide if the proposed consent release is acceptable.

Your potential surety (or sureties) may still have to testify, even if there is a proposed consent release. The judge or justice of the peace may want to hear about the plan, how your surety will supervise you, and make sure the surety understands their role. 

If the judge or justice of the peace has concerns, they will not accept the proposed consent release. If the consent release is not accepted, your lawyer or duty counsel will interview you again to come up with a better release plan that addresses the court’s concerns.

Contested bail hearings

If the Crown does not think you should be released, there will be a “contested bail hearing” or a “show cause” hearing.

The Crown must “show cause” why you shouldn't be released from custody while your case is in criminal court. Your bail plan should explain why it is safe to release you into the community while your case is in criminal court. 

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

After the bail hearing, the judge or justice of the peace will decide whether you should be released.

You May Also Need

Legal Aid Ontario
Law Society Referral Service
Reviewed: July 1, 2018

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