Bail Hearing Lawyer in Winnipeg

Being charged with a criminal offence is an overwhelming experience. When this happens to you, your first step should be to call a lawyer. While they build your defence, your next crucial step becomes understanding the bail process. A bail hearing is an important step in any criminal proceeding, as it determines whether you or your loved one will be released while awaiting trial.

A successful bail hearing, and adherence to the conditions of said bail, will allow you to remain out of custody while awaiting your trial. This requires meticulous planning, a deep understanding of the case, and extensive legal knowledge to anticipate challenges from the Crown and the judge. Failure at any of these levels could mean the difference between freedom and imprisonment.

With experience on both sides of the courtroom, Wiebe Criminal Defence is uniquely equipped to navigate the complexities of bail hearings. Our proven record of success demonstrates our commitment to working closely with clients to create effective bail plans which significantly increase their chances of release.
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Secure Your Freedom with Experienced Bail Hearing Lawyers

What is a Bail Hearing?

A bail hearing is a court proceeding where a judge or justice of the peace decides whether an accused person should be released from custody pending trial, subject to certain conditions, or whether they should be detained to ensure public safety and maintain the public’s confidence in the justice system.

When an individual is arrested the police can release the accused on an Appearance Notice, which is a written promise to appear in court at a specified date and time. Alternatively, they can issue a Promise to Appear with an Undertaking, which is a written promise to appear in court and to comply with specific conditions, such as reporting to a police station or not contacting certain individuals. However, under certain, limited circumstances, police may choose not to release the accused. If this happens, the bail hearing process is engaged. 

When the police decline to release an accused on an appearance notice or undertaking, the Criminal Code requires the accused then be brought before a judge or justice of the peace for a bail hearing within 24 hours of arrest, or “as soon as practicable” thereafter if a presiding officer is not available. This process is detailed in ss. 497, 498, and 503 of the Criminal Code.

Why is a Bail Hearing Important?

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right to reasonable bail unless there is a just cause for detention (s. 11(e)). This means that the accused has the right to be released from custody unless the court determines that there are certain risks pertinent to this accused. This could include behaviour such as fleeing, thus not attending required court dates, alternatively it could include a substantial likelihood that the accused will reoffend. Courts must also consider whether the release of an individual would harm the administration of justice or be a threat to the safety of the public.

Bail hearings (and the accused’s subsequent release on bail) are crucial as they allow you to continue with your daily life while awaiting trial. This freedom will give you time to prepare for your case by working closely with your legal team to build a strong defence. 

Overall, bail hearings play a pivotal role in the criminal justice process. They balance the rights of the accused with the need to protect society and maintain public safety. They enforce the presumption of innocence and ensure the efficient administration of justice.

What Happens at a Bail Hearing?

As mentioned above, every person has a constitutional right to be released on bail pending trial unless there is just cause to hold them in custody. It is important to note that this right is not absolute, and there are situations where detention may be justified. The bail hearing provides a forum for these issues to be addressed and for the court to make an informed decision that balances the competing interests at stake.


During a bail hearing, a judge or justice of the peace has two options: to release the accused on bail with certain binding conditions or detain the accused in custody until their case is completed. A bail hearing lawyer plays a crucial role in this process, seeking to dispute or contextualize the Crown’s allegations and advocate for the release of the accused. 

The process typically begins with the Crown informing the Court of the police’s allegations and outlining the reasons why the accused should not be released on bail. This includes evidence of the accused’s criminal history, whether they are a potential flight risk, and likelihood that they will reoffend. The defence will then present evidence addressing these concerns, including the presentation of a bail plan. These hearings may also include testimony from the accused or their potential sureties to assist the Court in their decision making.

As an experienced law firm, we are well-versed in the procedures involved in bail hearings and aim to provide the best opportunity for an accused to be released from custody.

Factors That a Judge Considers When Granting Bail

In Manitoba, Canada, the primary purpose of a bail hearing is to ensure that the accused remains accountable and poses a minimal risk to public safety while awaiting trial. When making a bail decision, a judge must consider several key factors:


Risk of Flight

The judge assesses the likelihood that the accused will fail to appear in court if released on bail. Factors include the accused’s previous record, ties to the community, employment status, family connections, immigration status, and any potential motive to flee.


Threat to Public Safety

The potential risk to public safety if the accused is released is a crucial consideration. The judge evaluates the nature of the offence, whether violence was involved, the accused’s criminal history, and potential threats to victims, witnesses, or the community.


Potential for Reoffending

The judge also considers the probability that the accused will re-offend if released on bail. This involves examining the accused’s criminal history, outstanding charges or pending cases, and any evidence of a pattern of criminal behaviour.


Assurance of Court Appearance

Another important factor is the likelihood of the accused attending future court dates. The judge looks at the accused’s history of attending court, compliance with previous court orders, and any outstanding warrants or charges for failure to appear.


Confidence in the Administration of Justice

Another critical factor is whether confidence in the administration of justice would be lost if the individual were released back into the community. This includes considering the potential impact on the public’s perception of the justice system and the need to maintain trust in its fairness and impartiality.

Based on these considerations, the judge will decide whether to deny bail or grant bail. Conditions may include surrendering travel documents, residing at a specific address, reporting to the police or a bail supervisor, or avoiding contact with certain individuals.

Generally, the onus is on the prosecutor to show why the accused should not be released on bail. However, in some situations, such as when the accused is already on bail for other charges or is charged with specific offences like drug trafficking or gun possession, the onus is reversed, and the accused must demonstrate why they should not be detained.

A bail hearing is a critical juncture in the criminal process, significantly affecting how the accused proceeds with their case. Bail decisions can be appealed or reviewed, making it beneficial to work with an experienced criminal defence lawyer to prepare for a bail hearing and present a strong case for release.

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Benefits of Hiring a Criminal Defence Lawyer For Your Bail Hearing

Hiring a criminal defence lawyer for your bail hearing can be extremely beneficial. An experienced lawyer with in-depth knowledge of local laws and procedures can provide you with essential advice and guidance throughout the process. This includes helping you prepare for the hearing, gathering evidence, and presenting a strong case for your release.

During the hearing itself, your lawyer will make sure that your rights are protected and that the judge has all the necessary information to make an informed decision. Additionally, your lawyer will advise you on the conditions of your bail and ensure you fully understand your obligations.

If you’re arrested and a bail hearing is imminent, we take proactive steps to assist you, including:


Communicating with the Police

We contact and speak to the police on your behalf before the hearing, establishing open lines of communication to explore alternatives to the bail process. Early intervention between a lawyer and the officer in charge can sometimes avoid a bail hearing altogether by addressing the police officers' concerns.


Prompt Scheduling of Bail Hearing

We arrange for the bail hearing to take place as soon as possible, ensuring that our clients do not remain in custody longer than necessary. For example, if you’re arrested on a Friday morning, we work to prevent you from having to wait in a jail cell until the next court session on Monday.


Ensuring Reasonable Bail Conditions

Our priority is to secure your release with bail conditions that respect your individual circumstances and needs. We strive to ensure that the conditions are reasonable and proportionate to the circumstances, aiming to avoid unnecessary restrictions on movement and one’s ability to work.


Handling Specific Bail Issues

Through persuasive arguments, we seek to minimise any constraints on our clients’ daily lives while still addressing the court’s concerns regarding public safety and appearances in court. We address various issues that may arise during the bail hearing, such as house arrest, curfews, or reporting conditions.

By hiring a criminal defence lawyer from Wiebe Criminal Defence, you gain an advocate dedicated to securing your release and protecting your rights throughout the bail hearing process.

Bail Conditions and Surety Requirements

During a bail hearing, the court may impose specific conditions on the accused if released from custody. These bail conditions can include surrendering any passport, not leaving the country, residing at a specific address with possible curfews, maintaining good behaviour, refraining from further criminal acts, avoiding certain places or addresses, refraining from communication with specific individuals, reporting to the police regularly, and abstaining from consuming alcohol or drugs.

The court may also require a surety, an individual who bails the accused out of jail. Sureties should come prepared with proof of identification and documents showing sufficient assets to sign the bail bond. Acceptable assets include Canadian savings, deposit accounts with a chartered bank, GICs, other investments, and real property ownership such as a home, apartment, condominium, or cottage. Note that assets such as a line of credit, credit card, or non-qualifying assets like a car cannot be used as proof of assets for the bail bond. 

The court ultimately determines the suitability of a surety and the cost of the bail bond based on various factors, including the seriousness of the charges and the accused’s flight risk.

What is a Surety?

A surety ensures that the accused will attend all court appearances and adhere to the bail conditions set by the court such as curfews and avoiding certain individuals or locations. A surety maintains regular communication with the accused to ensure adherence, they may provide a financial guarantee (bail bond). 

To qualify as a surety, one must be a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant, have no criminal record. An individual may not act as a surety for more than one person simultaneously. Before agreeing, the surety should assess the potential risk of this obligation, as well as their ability to fulfil these responsibilities effectively, considering the potential impact on their personal and financial well-being. This is because the surety stands to lose the pledged amount if the accused breaches bail conditions or absconds.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Lawyer Today

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges and may need a bail hearing, seek the advice of an experienced criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible. At Wiebe Criminal Defence, our legal team is committed to providing the highest quality legal representation. 

We understand the importance and urgency of bail hearings and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and ensure you have the best chance of being granted bail. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards securing your freedom while awaiting trial.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I change the conditions of my release?

You can apply to vary any condition of your release order (bail) with the consent of the Crown Attorney. After the Crown provides their consent, the variation is sent to the court and must be signed off by a judge or justice of the peace. Your original bail conditions remain in effect until you are made aware that the variation is ready for you to sign at the court. 

There must be a justified reason for wanting to change the condition of your release order. If the court feels more information is needed, they may decide to hold a hearing. 

If the Crown refuses to agree to a bail variation request, you or your lawyer can bring the matter before a judge and ask the judge to decide. If it is granted in court, you will still need to make sure you sign the paperwork as the variation will not be valid until signed.

What happens if the accused is not granted bail?

If the court denies bail, you will remain in custody (“remand”) until your trial. However, you can appeal this decision to the Court of King’s Bench by filling out a bail review application, serving it to the Crown, and filing it with the Court of King’s Bench. To be successful, you must show that the judge made an error affecting the outcome, circumstances have changed, or it would be unjust not to order a release. The required documents for the bail review application include a Notice of Application (Form 52A), Affidavit(s) in support of Application for Judicial Interim Release (Form 52B), and a copy of the transcript of the Provincial Court hearing(s).

What are the consequences of breaching bail conditions?

If you breach your bail conditions, you can have your bail revoked, meaning you may have to remain in custody until your trial. Moreover, a bail breach can lead to a new criminal charge which can carry additional penalties and make it more difficult to receive bail in the future. Provinces and territories monitor compliance with bail conditions. Therefore, breaching, these conditions can cause a charge of Failure to Comply, indicating to the court an unwillingness or inability to follow orders, potentially leading to stricter bail conditions if bail is granted again.