What are a surety’s rights and responsibilities?

1. Understand what’s expected of a surety

It’s important that you understand what’s expected of you before you agree to be a .

Your responsibilities

When the court appoints you as a surety, you become responsible for the accused person until:

  • their criminal matter is over,
  • you ask to be relieved of your duties, or
  • the is cancelled by a Section 524 (Criminal Code) application (also known as a bail revocation application)

As a surety, your job is continuous and ongoing. You’re responsible for the accused person 24 hours a day until they are no longer on bail. You’re not expected to be with the accused person every minute. But you’re responsible for the accused person at all times, even when you’re not together.

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.

Before you agree to be a surety, you should have confidence that the accused person will listen to you and follow the bail conditions. You should also be sure that the accused person doesn’t follow the bail conditions, you will report it even if it means they will be taken back into .

If you do not fulfill your role as surety, you could lose the money you promised to pay the court as security.

Requesting specific conditions

Your input into the bail plan is very important. Since you’ll be responsible for the accused person while they’re on bail, you should think carefully about any conditions you want to ask the court to impose.

Often a person acts as a surety for a friend or family member, and is aware of their personal issues. If you think the accused person would benefit from a drug abuse, alcohol use, anger management, or mental health program, you can ask that counselling or therapy be part of the bail plan. If these personal issues were involved in the , the court may insist that the accused person address them.

It is always up to the judge or justice of the peace to determine what conditions are appropriate.

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