What happens at a bail or “show cause” hearing?
Everyone who is arrested and not released from the scene of the alleged crime, or is not released later from the police station, will require a bail hearing to determine whether they are released or detained in custody. The bail hearing will set the tone for the whole matter. Winning the bail hearing is an important first step in the criminal process.
A bail hearing can be an intimidating event, as an accused person’s immediate freedom is on the line. An experienced criminal lawyer on your side is very important to ensure that everything possible is done to secure your release, or the release of your loved one, on bail.
Steps in the Bail Process
Step 1 – Contact a Criminal Lawyer
It is advisable to immediately contact criminal counsel if you or someone you care about is arrested. It is always best to take all steps on the assumption that a bail hearing will be required so that work can immediately begin organizing the best possible plan for release. In many cases, the process of putting together a plan for release happens overnight. In other cases, depending on the charge and the circumstances, the process may take more time. Weisberg Law Professional Corporation can be contacted for assistance with a bail hearing at all hours by calling 416.605.4811.
Reasons why an experienced criminal lawyer should be contacted immediately for assistance with a bail hearing:
- To make sure that a lawyer is available the following morning and prepared to proceed with a bail hearing;
- To make sure that a lawyer discusses the situation with the accused so that they will receive competent legal advice while in police custody;
- An experienced criminal lawyer can advocate on behalf of the client with the police; and
- A criminal lawyer will provide advice on whether people can act as a surety for the accused.
Adam Weisberg will contact the police to speak with potential clients who have been arrested. It is strongly recommended that friends and relatives do NOT communicate or contact the police. A well-intentioned friend might accidentally or unknowingly inform the police of incriminating information that can be used against the potential client. The best course of action is to contact an experienced criminal lawyer immediately if someone you know is in police custody.
Step 2 – Get Advice from a Criminal Lawyer on Becoming a Surety
Very often, one of the most important aspects of securing the release of an arrested person being held for bail is the arrangement of a suitable surety or sureties. A surety is an individual who is willing to supervise the charged person if they are released from custody following a bail hearing. A surety will normally have to pledge assets or money on the understanding that if the accused person commits further offences, does not attend future court dates, or does not follow the conditions imposed upon him or her, the assets or money pledged will be lost to the court. Being a surety can be thought of as being the accused person’s jailor or prison guard in the community.
An experienced criminal lawyer will be able to:
- Explain who is suitable to act as a surety;
- Devise an appropriate supervision plan for the accused;
- Prepare the potential sureties to testify at the bail hearing;
- Make sure that the appropriate documentation is available for the bail hearing to prove that any proposed surety has sufficient assets to perform as a surety;
- Give the surety a sense of confidence and fair understanding of the chances for release after the hearing.
Step 3 – Go to Court for the Bail Hearing
Adam Weisberg will conduct phone interviews of all potential sureties. If possible, sureties will attend the office in downtown Toronto in advance of the bail hearing. Adam Weisberg will always attend court early to interview the accused person in the courthouse cells and ensure that he or she is in good health. Family members and sureties are not allowed to speak with their loved one while they are in custody at the courthouse. Mr. Weisberg will also re-interview and re-prepare sureties to give them last minute advice and pointers for court.
Prior to the start of a bail hearing, Mr. Weisberg will always ask for a publication ban to protect the privacy interests of his clients. The court must grant a publication ban if one is requested at a bail hearing.
Once the bail hearing begins, the Crown Attorney (prosecutor) will usually orally put forward allegations written in a synopsis. In more complicated or serious cases, the Crown Attorney may decide to call officers to the stand to give evidence. This will give your lawyer a chance to test the evidence through cross-examination. The proposed surety will then be called by the defence lawyer and will testify as to their suitability to become a surety. The prosecutor will usually cross-examine the proposed surety.
The final stage of a bail hearing is when all the evidence has been called, and the defence lawyer and prosecutor will both make legal arguments to the Court.
What should be done if bail is not granted?
If an accused is detained following a bail hearing, a bail review can be conducted as another attempt to secure the accused person’s release. Weisberg Law can be hired to conduct a bail review to appeal a detention order.