Frequently Asked Questions
Police gave me a promise to appear?
What is this?
If you are arrested, a police officer may release you from custody by way of a promise to appear or an undertaking to appear. You are required to appear in court on the date indicated on the promise to appear. You should also familiarize yourself with page two of the promise to appear which may contain conditions for your release. For example, if you are charged with assault, and you are given a promise to appear, most likely you would be placed on “protective conditions” such as not to have any contact with the victim, or not to go to the victim’s residence. It is very important that you understand the conditions of your release, and comply with them otherwise a breach of those conditions may lead to new charges or a warrant to be issued for your arrest.
I disagree with the conditions for my release.
What should I do?
Typically, this issue comes up in spousal assault situations, where a spouse is placed on a “no contact” condition with his or her partner. It is a huge mistake to breach a “no contact” order just because “the victim believes it is okay for you to come back home”. You could be charged with failure to comply if you violate the conditions on your order.
Your lawyer will help you file an application to change your release order with the consent of the prosecutor. Your application form should clearly state the reasons on which you are seeking to vary bail including any information that supports your position for an order change.
I have been taken in custody.
Can I go ahead with my bail hearing right now?
In general, you are entitled to a bail hearing (or judicial interim release) within the 24 hours of your arrest. You need to make sure you know the prosecution’s allegations before the bail hearing. You also need to know on what basis is the prosecution showing cause for your detention.
If you rush into a bail hearing just because you want to get it over with without knowing the allegations against you that is a big mistake that may lead into a detention order. This is not helpful especially knowing that you don’t get a second bail hearing before 60 days for certain offences and 90 days for indictable offences except with the consent of the prosecutor.
Will I get a criminal record if I plead guilty?
If you plead guilty to a criminal offence under the Criminal Code, a conviction will be entered on the record, meaning that you have been found guilty. Upon conviction, the court is required to impose a sentence. Generally speaking, there are four types of sentences: 1) Absolute or Conditional Discharge; 2) Suspended sentence and probation; 3) Fines; 4) Imprisonment (intermittent or conditional). The consequence of a guilty plea is that you will get a criminal record unless the court imposes an absolute or conditional discharge by way of sentence. If you get a criminal record that may affect your ability to travel internationally, find employment in certain areas or pursue postgraduate education.
Will I get a conditional discharge if I plead guilty?
If the criminal offence you pleaded guilty to carries no maximum penalty of 14 years and no minimum penalty, the court may consider imposing an absolute or conditional discharge if it is satisfied that a discharge would be in your best interest and not contrary to the public interest.
Please note that the information contained in this website does not constitute legal advice. You should be aware that each and every case is different. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you discuss your case with a lawyer before going to court.