There are two types of peace bonds available in Canadian Criminal Law. The first is called a section 810 peace bond and the second is called a common law peace bond. For the purposes of this post I am going to be talking about peace bonds in general. In another post I will discuss the different variations between the two, although in essence, they are the same thing. In general, a peace bond is a promise to the court that you will keep the peace and be of good behavior for usually a 12 month period. Sometimes they are for 6 months.
When you sign a peace bond there are other conditions placed upon you for example, signing on a $500.00 no deposit bond, restrictions on who you can communicate with and restrictions on possessing weapons. After the 12 months, the peace bond expires. When signing a peace bond, you are not admitting any guilt or civil liability, but it is a good thing for your lawyer to repeat that to the court upon signature. A peace bond is not a criminal record nor is it a finding of guilt. It simply means that another person had at some time reasonable grounds to fear that you would cause personal injury to him/herself, their spouse or their child, or to their property. While individuals can bring a private information to have peace bonds laid against others, usually they are offered by the Crown Attorney (Prosecutor) for resolution purposes.
For example, many domestic violence cases are resolved by way of a peace bond. That is, the accused enters into the peace bond and the Crown proceeds to withdraw the charge(s). The Crown Attorney withdraws the charges the moment the peace bond is signed (not after the 12 month period of the bond but at the very start of it). So in such situations, the Accused walks out of court without a criminal record whatsoever – although s/he now has an active court order for 12 months. In almost all cases, I advocate to take a peace bond in exchange for the Crown Attorney dropping the criminal case against you. There is too much risk to take matters to trial when you are offered a peace bond. I reiterate that a peace bond is not a criminal record and you are not admitting any guilt.
A peace bond however, could have unintended consequences such as impairing your ability to cross an international border (during the time the peace bond is active) or appear on a vulnerable sector screen, but that is a topic for another discussion. It does not get better than a withdrawal of your criminal case and that is why I like peace bonds for my clients so much. When the accused is in court for a peace bond hearing, the accused does not even have to say one word or utter the words not guilty, because it’s not even about guilt or innocence at that point – it’s about whether the other party had reason to fear for whatever reason.
A bird in the hand is better than two in the field as well – there is risk when you take your matter to trial. Another point however to consider is that if one breaches a condition of the peace bond, then one can be charged with failing to comply of which the penalty/punishment for that usually can be up to 30 days in jail even for a first offender.
Hire Domestic Assault Lawyer if you decide to take a peace bond , make sure you are able to comply with the conditions and terms of the bond. If you are trying to get a peace bond in your matter or are contemplating taking one, please give me a call at 416-937-3777 or email me at email@example.com and I would be happy to give you a free confidential consultation.