Changing Your Bail Conditions
When you are released on bail pending your trial, or pending your appeal, there will be court ordered conditions that you must follow. These conditions can be varied, and in many cases, will be varied on multiple occasions with the passage of time.
How do I Vary my Bail Conditions?
The first step to varying your bail is to seek the Crown’s consent to vary your conditions. If the Crown consents, a bail variation form is to be filled out and signed by all parties before it is sent to the Justice of the Peace’s office to finalize the bail variation request. When bail conditions are changed, they can either be varied (i.e. house arrest to a curfew) or completely deleted (i.e. delete curfew).
What do I Need to do Before Asking to Vary my Bail Conditions?
Some bail variations are requested on an urgent basis and should be brought to the Crown’s attention immediately to avoid possible breaches. For example, sometimes accused persons can be on more than one release order, it’s entirely possible that conditions on one order may conflict with the other order. Another example could be that you or your surety that you are residing with are moving and therefore your release order must reflect the updated address on your residency condition.
It is important to have patience when requesting a bail variation. If you were recently arrested on a house arrest bail, it is very unlikely the Crown would consent to vary your release to a curfew. Complying with your current release order often proves helpful in convincing the Crown to vary, or lessen, your conditions over time. Another good reason to request a bail variation is when the Crown’s case against you has weakened or charges have been withdrawn or resolved since your initial release. Completing upfront work, such as counselling, is another example of something you may want to do before seeking a bail variation.
The Crown has Denied my Bail Variation, What Can I do?
If you have exhausted your options with the Crown, you have three options:
- Forget about the variation: this is likely the least appealing option if you are adamant about seeking a bail variation;
- Be more patient: criminal charges take a long time to work through the system, so waiting another few months may be enough for the Crown to consent to your variation request; and
- Bail review: If the Crown will not consent, but you continue to want to vary your condition(s), you will need to bring a bail review. The application will be the same as if you were detained and are seeking a bail review.
What is a Bail Review?
A bail review is an application made in the Superior Court of Justice. You will file the bail hearing transcripts, affidavits, and any other evidence you may be relying on. A date will then be scheduled, and you will need to show either an error in law or a material change in circumstance. Since this bail review will be to review (or vary) conditions, it is likely that you will be attempting to convince the court that there is a material change in circumstance, instead of an error of law.
How Much does a Bail Review Cost?
The cost of all applications will vary based on the complexity and the experience of the lawyer. Since a transcript is required, this will also cost a few hundred dollars, in addition, to the work and court time of the lawyer. If you plan on bringing a bail review, you should discuss with the lawyer the cost of a bail review, but you can expect to be paying at least $3,000.00 + HST + disbursement (transcripts).
Bail Review Lawyers?
If you are considering a bail review or need to discuss your bail conditions, please contact Lockyer Zaduk Zeeh at 416-613-0416 to arrange a consultation. The lawyers of Lockyer Zaduk Zeeh are experienced bail review lawyers and will be able to assist you with your release or with varying your bail conditions.