How Does the Bail Process Work in Toronto?

PUBLISHED ON March 29, 2021

Bail Lawyer Toronto

After being arrested and charged with a criminal offence in Toronto or the GTA, your constitutional rights afford you the right to reasonable bail. Getting “bail” means getting a conditional release while you await the disposition of your charges – instead of being held in custody pending the outcome of your charges, you are released with certain conditions that can allow you to continue to work, take care of family obligations, meet with your Toronto criminal defence lawyer, and have access to resources required to prepare your defence.

Depending on the criminal offence, you may be released by the police on an Undertaking to a Peace Officer. For less serious offences, like impaired driving, for example, this is often the way an individual is released. After being “processed” at the police station, a police officer is empowered to release you on this Undertaking to a Peace Officer without the necessity of attending at Court for a bail hearing. The police will determine the conditions of the release and if you agree to be bound by those conditions, you are released from the station and given a date at which to attend court.

If you are not released from the police station and are held for a bail hearing, you will ultimately be brought to the courthouse and appear before a Justice/Judge to obtain your release. Having a criminal defence lawyer present during your bail hearing is vital in these proceedings. Your lawyer will present reasons why you should be released. Often, your lawyer will meet with the Crown prosecutor to attempt to work out the terms and conditions of the release. If this can be accomplished, and an agreement can be made, the court hearing is fairly straightforward. The Justice/Judge will normally agree to the “worked out” conditions and a release is ordered.

If your lawyer cannot come to an agreement with the Crown prosecutor, then the Justice/Judge will hear evidence from both parties as to why or why not you should be released on bail. While both parties can call witnesses to support their position, in practice, the Crown rarely calls witnesses except in the most serious of cases. Your lawyer will normally call any potential sureties as witnesses so the Justice/Judge can hear that they are willing to take on the responsibility of being a surety if your bail release is granted. In some cases, a surety may not be required: it is possible to be released on your own recognizance.

Should your application for bail be denied, it is possible to appeal the initial bail decision. This is important because otherwise, you may spend a lengthy period in custody awaiting your trial – sometimes years. For these reasons, it is always best to retain the services of a skilled Toronto bail hearing lawyer like Brian Ross. Call (416) 658-5855 to schedule a consultation today!

The foregoing is not intended to be legal advice and should not be acted upon as such. Should you need legal advice, please don’t hesitate to call Brian Ross today.


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Brian Ross is a founding partner at Canada’s largest criminal Law firm, Rusonik, O’Connor, Robbins, Ross & Angelini, LLP. Prior to founding this firm, Brian was a partner at Pinkofskys, a leading law firm famous for its vigorous defence of its clients.

Selected for the 2022, 2023, and 2024 editions of the Best Lawyers in Canada

Inclusion in the Best Lawyers in Canada is based on a rigorous peer-review survey. Recognition by Best Lawyers symbolizes excellence in practice and specifically, high calibre work in criminal defence.


Mr. Ross is a member of the Criminal Lawyer’s Association and Legal Aid Ontario’s “Extremely Serious Matters” Panel, consisting of criminal lawyers deemed to have the proven experience necessary to conduct trials in the most serious of criminal matters.


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