Criminal Law

The information here is not legal advice. The following information contained herein is only information. We strongly recommend that you speak to a lawyer for further clarification and before acting on any of the information shared here.

What do you do if you are detained or arrested by the police?

Don’t say a word and call a lawyer. It is true when they say anything can and will be used against you in court. Utterances to the police, whether inadvertent or intentional are always noted. People tend to ramble to try to save themselves and unfortunately, the consequences of doing so can be catastrophic. This can sometimes lead to more serious charges being laid against an individual or making things worse for the charges one is currently facing. It also makes the job of your defence lawyer much harder in Trial.

What is a Peace Bond?

A Peace Bond is a Court Order to keep the Peace and Be of Good Behaviour for a certain amount of time. It can also have additional conditions such as no contact with the complainant and not to possess any weapons.

In Canada, there are two types of Peace Bonds: Common Law Peace Bonds and Section 810 Peace Bonds.

A Common Law Peace Bond is issued through the common law rather than by statue. Common law peace bonds are usually offered to an accused when the Crown Attorney is concerned that an accused may not keep the peace and may breach one of their other conditions as well. Common Law Peace Bonds are usually imposed for a period of one year but there is no maximum length for a Common Law Peace Bond.

A Section 810 Peace Bond on the other hand, is a statutory peace bond and is issued in accordance with s. 810 of the Criminal Code. S. 810 Peace Bonds are issued by the Court when the complainant in a case believes that an accused will cause harm to them.

The biggest difference between a Common Law Peace Bond and a S. 810 Peace Bond is that a s. 810 Peace Bond is based on sworn information by a complaining individual who, must have an ongoing fear of the accused.

Does signing a Peace Bond mean you will have a criminal record or conviction?

A Peace Bond is not an admission of guilt or a criminal conviction. It is an Order to Keep the Peace. As discussed above, there can be addition conditions outlined within the Peace Bond such as a no weapons condition or a no-contact condition with the complainant for a specific period of time (usually 12 months).

What is the difference between an Absolute and Conditional Discharge?

A Discharge is a finding of guilt but not a criminal conviction. It does not permanently stay on your criminal record and is essentially a temporary criminal record as it shows a finding of guilt for 1-3 years on CPIC (Canadian Police Information Center) depending on the type of discharge.

Essentially, there are two types of discharges; Absolute and Conditional. An absolute discharge is a finding of guilt, no criminal record and the finding of guilt/discharge would stay on one’s record for a period of a year. A Conditional Discharge is a finding of guilt, no criminal record and up to 3 years of probation. The finding of guilt/discharge will also show up in a criminal record check for up to 3 years.

How can one make sure they can exercise access/parenting time with their children if the police want to impose a no-contact condition with the other parent in a Release Order or Recognizance of Bail?

Whether one is released from the police station after being arrested or go through the process of a Bail Hearing in Court, it is good to note that the wording of the conditions of one’s bail is very important if they also have an ongoing family law matter.

If bail conditions include a no-contact order with the other parent, it will be virtually impossible to arrange for parenting time with the complainant. To start, it is always best to inform the officers or Court that there is an ongoing family law matter and ask if the court would allow for contact through a 3rd party to arrange access/parenting time and to allow for both parties to be within each other’s vicinity only for the purposes of having parenting time at a Supervised Access Center or with a 3rd party. By notifying the court and police of this, it saves an accused and their lawyer time and money so that a Bail Variation does not need to be applied for after the fact. It can take weeks to have a Bail Variation granted and in the meantime, the accused will miss out on seeing their children as a result.

If you find yourself in any of the above situations we urge you to speak to a lawyer for more information and proper legal advice.