How should I prepare for my bail hearing?

2. Find a surety

While you're waiting in , you may have access to a phone. If you're able to make phone calls, contact family or friends who might be willing to act as your . At the very least, you should write down as many numbers as you can so that your lawyer or can contact potential sureties on your behalf.

A surety is someone who is willing to supervise you after you're released on . Your surety must:

  • attend court to be approved as a surety,
  • be over the age of 18,
  • be a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant,
  • not be involved in the you've been charged with,
  • be able to monitor you and make sure you follow your conditions,
  • be willing to report you if you don't follow your conditions, and
  • have some financial assets they can pledge to the court as security

In most cases, the person should not be acting as a surety for anyone else. Ideally, your surety should not have a criminal record.

People who agree to be your surety should be prepared to give about:

  • their relationship with you
  • their ability to supervise you
  • their understanding of what it means to be a surety
  • your bail plan 

Your surety is required to “pledge “ a certain amount of money to the court. In most cases, this means your surety promises to pay the court money if you do not follow your bail conditions. This pledge is usually called the “quantum of the bail”, or the amount of the bail. Usually, this money does not have to be paid upfront.

If you do not follow your bail conditions, your surety is required to report you to the police. If you do not follow your bail conditions and your surety does not report you,the Crown can apply to have  your surety pay the amount of money they  pledged into court. This process is called an “”.

It is against the law to pay someone to act as a surety for you.

What your lawyer will ask

Your lawyer will gather specific information about your surety including:

  • where they work and their work schedule
  • if they have a criminal record
  • any outstanding charges against them
  • proof of their assets (such as property, money in the bank, and investments) that could be used to pay the pledge
  • how long they've known you, and how often you're in contact
  • if they are willing to report you if you don't follow your bail terms

The lawyer will also find out whether your surety:

  • knows about the charges against you and your criminal record
  • is willing to have you live with them
  • has signed bail for you or someone else in the past

If the surety has signed bail in the past, the lawyer will find out if:

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