In various circumstances, an individual charged with a criminal offence (Domestic Assault or otherwise) may be offered a Peace Bond as a mechanism to resolve their criminal charges. A Peace Bond is a court order that directs that the person keep the peace and be of good behaviour, and may include any number of conditions. The Peace Bond is of a specific duration in time, usually 12 months. The individual charged is told that if they enter into the Peace Bond, then the charges against them will be withdrawn.
The Peace Bond ordinarily has a particular monetary value/penalty attached to it, similar to a bail, but is ordinarily without surety.
Should an individual charged with a criminal offence enter into a Peace Bond?
- The charges are withdrawn.
- The Peace Bond is not a criminal record.
- One need not make any admissions to enter into the Peace Bond.
Your lawyer can state on the record, “Johnny 99 does not wish to show cause why a Peace Bond should not be ordered, but denies the allegations.”
- In a family law context, entering into a Peace Bond may be viewed as an admission of responsibility and be prejudicial to custody and access issues.
- The Peace Bond will delay applications for Pardons and destruction of photographic and fingerprint records.
- The person who enters into the Peace Bond gives up their right to trial.
- If a person is charged with a further criminal offence during the period of the Peace Bond, or otherwise fails “to keep the peace and be of good behavior”, they can be charged with the criminal offence of Failure to Comply with the Peace Bond or Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
In the vast majority of cases, the certainty of avoiding a possible conviction (criminal record), and the early resolution of the criminal case, trumps all of the aforesaid negative consequences.
Ian Kostman, Barrister
November 20, 2014