Nov 15

How do I Bail Out my Friend?

When you learn that a loved one or a friend has been charged with a criminal offence, you may be interested in bailing them out.

Pre-trial custody is one of the most important issues to address during a criminal matter. Canadian trials take a substantial amount of time, and if an individual is not on bail, they will be required to remain in custody awaiting their trial. This can cause substantial disruptions to their personal life, employment, and family life. The physical and mental toll of pre-trial custody is something that the Supreme Court of Canada has acknowledged as a real concern.

What Should I Do When I Receive a Police Call?

You may receive a call from a family member or friend while they are at the police station. If you do, ensure you note down the police division, the name of the officer in charge of the case, the criminal charges they are facing, and what courthouse their matter will be dealt with at. Your friend may also request a referral of a lawyer or ask you to find them a lawyer.

Does my Friend Need a Lawyer?

A lawyer will be able to provide your friend or loved one preliminary legal advice while they are at the police station. Depending on the case, this advice may be crucial to ensuring that your friend does not incriminate themselves during their police statement.

Further, the police are required to facilitate a call with a lawyer if it is requested by your friend. If the police do not fulfill their obligations, a Charter application can be filed which could lead to the exclusion of evidence. Therefore, your friend exercising their Charter rights and talking to a lawyer while at the police station is beneficial.

Can I Retain Counsel for my Friend’s Bail Hearing?

Since it is difficult for someone to arrange and retain counsel while in police custody, many times family members or friends retain lawyers on behalf of the accused. That lawyer would be able to put a bail plan together, attempt to work out a release with the Crown, or run a bail hearing to secure the release of your friend.

Can I Bail out my Family Member?

Yes. If you qualify as a surety, you can bail out anybody charged with a criminal offence. You will be required to fill out a surety declaration and provide your identification. On the day of the bail hearing, you will be required to be present (either in court or via zoom). If a bail hearing is contested by the Crown, you will likely need to testify at the bail hearing. You will be asked questions by the defence and the Crown. At the end of the bail hearing, the justice of the peace or the judge will decide whether to grant bail or detain your loved one.