A peace bond can be a good alternative to a finding of guilt for the accused.
When someone is facing criminal charges they may be resolved by entering into a peace bond.
Section 810 in the Criminal Code pertains to peace bonds:
810 (1) An information may be laid before a justice by or on behalf of any person who fears on reasonable grounds that another person
(a) will cause personal injury to him or her or to his or her spouse or common-law partner or child or will damage his or her property; or
(b) will commit an offence under section 162.1.
Marginal note:Duty of justice
(2) A justice who receives an information under subsection (1) shall cause the parties to appear before him or before a summary conviction court having jurisdiction in the same territorial division.
(3) If the justice or summary conviction court before which the parties appear is satisfied by the evidence adduced that the person on whose behalf the information was laid has reasonable grounds for the fear, the justice or court may order that the defendant enter into a recognizance, with or without sureties, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a period of not more than 12 months.
Marginal note:Refusal to enter into recognizance
(3.01) The justice or summary conviction court may commit the defendant to prison for a term of not more than 12 months if the defendant fails or refuses to enter into the recognizance.
Marginal note:Conditions in recognizance
(3.02) The justice or summary conviction court may add any reasonable conditions to the recognizance that the justice or court considers desirable to secure the good conduct of the defendant, including conditions that require the defendant
(a) to abstain from the consumption of drugs except in accordance with a medical prescription, of alcohol or of any other intoxicating substance;
(b) to provide, for the purpose of analysis, a sample of a bodily substance prescribed by regulation on the demand of a peace officer, a probation officer or someone designated under paragraph 810.3(2)(a) to make a demand, at the place and time and on the day specified by the person making the demand, if that person has reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant has breached a condition of the recognizance that requires them to abstain from the consumption of drugs, alcohol or any other intoxicating substance; or
(c) to provide, for the purpose of analysis, a sample of a bodily substance prescribed by regulation at regular intervals that are specified, in a notice in Form 51 served on the defendant, by a probation officer or a person designated under paragraph 810.3(2)(b) to specify them, if a condition of the recognizance requires the defendant to abstain from the consumption of drugs, alcohol or any other intoxicating substance.
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(3.1) Before making an order under subsection (3), the justice or the summary conviction court shall consider whether it is desirable, in the interests of the safety of the defendant or of any other person, to include as a condition of the recognizance that the defendant be prohibited from possessing any firearm, cross-bow, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or explosive substance, or all such things, for any period specified in the recognizance and, where the justice or summary conviction court decides that it is so desirable, the justice or summary conviction court shall add such a condition to the recognizance.
Marginal note:Surrender, etc.
(3.11) Where the justice or summary conviction court adds a condition described in subsection (3.1) to a recognizance order, the justice or summary conviction court shall specify in the order the manner and method by which
(a) the things referred to in that subsection that are in the possession of the accused shall be surrendered, disposed of, detained, stored or dealt with; and
(b) the authorizations, licences and registration certificates held by the person shall be surrendered.
(3.12) Where the justice or summary conviction court does not add a condition described in subsection (3.1) to a recognizance order, the justice or summary conviction court shall include in the record a statement of the reasons for not adding the condition.
(3.2) Before making an order under subsection (3), the justice or the summary conviction court shall consider whether it is desirable, in the interests of the safety of the informant, of the person on whose behalf the information was laid or of that person’s spouse or common-law partner or child, as the case may be, to add either or both of the following conditions to the recognizance, namely, a condition
(a) prohibiting the defendant from being at, or within a distance specified in the recognizance from, a place specified in the recognizance where the person on whose behalf the information was laid or that person’s spouse or common-law partner or child, as the case may be, is regularly found; and
(b) prohibiting the defendant from communicating, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, with the person on whose behalf the information was laid or that person’s spouse or common-law partner or child, as the case may be.
(4) A recognizance and a committal to prison in default of recognizance may be in Forms 32 and 23, respectively.
Marginal note:Modification of recognizance
(4.1) The justice or the summary conviction court may, on application of the informant or the defendant, vary the conditions fixed in the recognizance.
(5) The provisions of this Part apply, with such modifications as the circumstances require, to proceedings under this section.
A peace bond is a court order to keep the peace and be on good behaviour for the duration of the bond.
This means that the person must not be charged with a criminal offence for the duration of their Peace Bond.
Peace bonds often have other conditions too, such as not having any weapons or staying a certain length away from the complainant in the case or the location where the offence is alleged to have occurred.
While a deposit of money by the accused is typically not required, usually a pledge is made by the accused to the court in the amount of $500 or $1000 dollars.
A peace bond is a recognizance, similar to a bail.
This means that if the accused is found to have violated one or more of the conditions of the bond the court may come after the amount pledged by the accused.
Peace bonds are typically for six months to one year, but sometimes they are shorter lengths of time.
One year is the maximum length of time a bond can be ordered for.
When can an accused resolve their charges by way of a peace bond?
In cases where the accused is charged with less serous charges the Crown and the defence can submit to the court that the charges should be resolved by way of a peace bond.
Ultimately the judge has the deciding power as to whether or not a peace bond is the appropriate resolution for the charges
The accused must consent to enter into a peace bond.
Typically they agree to do so because the Crown will agree to withdraw their criminal offence charge(s).
It is also possible that a peace bond hearing is held, and a judge or justice of the peace decided that the accused is to enter into a peace bond.
In the case where the accused chooses to accept the offer of entering into a peace bond it means that they are choosing not to show cause as to why they should not enter into the bond.
This means that while they do not admit the allegations that are against them they do not wish to contest the facts.
A criminal defence lawyer and the Crown will negotiate the terms of the bond, with the accused seeking the least restrictive terms for the accused.
These terms are usually negotiated by the criminal defence lawyer and the Crown during a resolution meeting outside of court.
What happens if the accused breaks their bond?
The accused can break their peace bond are broken either by not obeying one of the conditions or by getting charged with a separate criminal offence
The accused can be charged with a criminal offence of breach of recognizance or disobeying a court order
It is possible that the court will go after the money that was pledged by the accused for the peace bond.
Is a peace bond good for the accused?
While a peace bond is typically favourable for the accused it is always a good idea for the accused to seek legal advice before entering into a peace bond.
While the accused is not pleading guilty and there is not finding of guilt or conviction registered on the accused criminal record there are certain criminal record background checks that could reveal the bond.
While a peace bond is still in effect it will appear in a criminal record check.
If the accused has the ability to prove their innocence in court a peace bond may not be the best outcome possible, as having the charges dismissed or withdrawn without entering into a peace bond may be possible.
If you are facing criminal charges contact Toronto Criminal Defence Lawyers, Kostman & Pyzer, Barristers for legal advice!