What is a Peace Bond and How Can it Help Me?

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When someone has a reasonable fear of harm at the hand’s of another, that person may be able to obtain a peace bond as protection against this potential harm. If the Court believes the defendant is likely to commit a crime against the person(s) making the request but no crime has been committed, section 810 of the Criminal Code offers one mode of protection in the form of a peace bond. If approved, the named defendant has no choice but to obey the orders imposed by the peace bond.

On the other hand, if a defendant is being charged with a crime, the Crown might offer a peace bond in exchange for a dismissal of, or reduction in, charges. For example, if the defendant has been charged with assaulting his girlfriend, a peace bond may be offered in lieu of a conviction, jail time, and a criminal record. At first glance, this might sound like a wonderful deal for the defendant. But whether or not you should accept a peace bond, if one is offered to you, depends on multiple factors.

Peace Bond in Exchange for a Criminal Record

One of the primary factors affecting an accused’s decision to accept a peace bond in exchange for lighter sentencing is the strength of the Crown’s case against them. This is why it is so important to obtain legal counsel if you have been charged with a criminal offence or are being offered a peace bond; your lawyer can advise you about your rights and how to proceed. If the case against you is weak, accepting a peace bond may not be in your best interest. Every case is different, and an experienced lawyer can evaluate the details of your unique situation to determine the most appropriate legal strategy.

Peace Bond by Application

To apply for a peace bond as protection from another person, outside of a criminal case, the person fearing bodily harm must make an application with the Court. If approved, the defendant will be prohibited from engaging in certain acts, depending on the particulars of the case. For example, the Court may impose a condition that the defendant is not permitted on the grounds of his daughter’s school, if there is reasonable suspicion that he will kidnap his daughter.

The defendant must obey the peace bond’s conditions, or face criminal charges. In Canada, a peace bond can remain in effect for up to one year, and its conditions can be enforced anywhere within the country. If the concern of harm continues beyond the peace bond’s expiration date, the person(s) receiving its protection can apply to the Court for a renewal.

It is important to note that a peace bond is not intended for emergency situations; obtaining this legal document can take upwards of several weeks, and sometimes even months. An emergency situation requires emergency action. Call 911 if you believe that you, your children, or any loved ones are at risk of imminent bodily harm.

The Anatomy of a Peace Bond

A peace bond is intended to protect the safety and well-being of the public, or the person(s) named within. It can also be obtained if there is  reasonable concern that the defendant will cause serious damage to another’s property.

Each peace bond is unique to the situation, defendant, and people it’s designed to protect. After reviewing the application, the Court will impose certain conditions. Some of the most common conditions of a peace bond require the defendant to:

  • Remain on good behavior;
  • Avoid contacting the person who requested the peace bond, as well as his/her partner and children;
  • Avoid visiting the named people;
  • Avoid calling, texting, or writing the named people;
  • Abstain from use of alcohol or illicit drugs;
  • Provide blood or urine tests to ensure compliance with alcohol/drug restrictions;
  • Not possess weapons; and
  • Pay a surety bond to the Court, which will be forfeited if the defendant breaches the peace bond’s conditions.

If a defendant breaches any of the conditions imposed by the peace bond, not only will they forfeit their surety bond, they will also be charged with a criminal offence. As it stands, the penalty for such a conviction is up to four years in prison.

A peace bond is generally effective at preventing a defendant from harming those it serves to protect because of the consequences involved in violating its conditions. The conditions are strict, and even a minor violation can immediately result in the loss of bond money, a criminal record, hefty fines, and time behind bars. If there is a peace bond against you, it is in your best interest to obey the imposed conditions. An experienced criminal defence lawyer can help you understand your rights and options if you are facing any type of criminal charge.

Contact a Defence Lawyer

If you are being offered a peace bond in exchange for a lesser sentence, it is crucial to speak with a lawyer before accepting any type of deal. Agreeing to a peace bond is not the same thing as pleading guilty, but it will remain on your criminal record while it is in effect. There are also certain criminal record searches that may show an expired peace bond. Regardless of your specific situation, it is in your best interest to obtain legal counsel, such as the team at Oykhman Criminal Defence, if you are facing a peace bond or charges for a criminal offence.

January 25, 2021 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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