Peace bonds are a means to ensure amicability between the parties. They are beneficial to an accused as the criminal charges are withdrawn once they enter into a Peace Bond. This type of resolution requires Crown consent and involves the accused being placed on a recognizance for a set period of time (usually 12 months). During this time, the accused will be forced to abide by a set of conditions (often counselling).
In Canada, two main Peace Bond variations exist. One variation is the common law Peace Bond, typically used in smaller communities such as rural towns. The most common peace bond, however, is a section 810 Peace Bond (also known as a statutory peace bond) employed by larger municipalities such as Calgary and Edmonton.
Peace bonds help, as their name implies, to keep the peace. They are essentially an agreement between you and the court that ensures the safety of personal property and other people. Keep reading to learn more about the two types of Canadian peace bonds.
Common Law Peace Bond
With a common law Peace Bond, the accused does not have to instill a current or continuous fear in the complainant. However, to obtain a common law Peace Bond, there must be sufficient evidence that the accused will disrupt the peace should such an order not be made. A common law Peace Bond is typically employed in rural courthouses (Canmore, Airdrie, Strathmore, etc.) due to police officers being less available to survey complainants for fear and swear details in court.
Entering a common law Peace Bond is easier than entering a section 810 Peace Bond. The process begins when the accused arrives in court, and the prosecutor notifies the judge of a concern that they [the acused] might breach the peace. The accused approves, and the judge then produces the Order for the accused to enter the Peace Bond. At this point, the accused signs a recognizance as the criminal charges are dropped.
Settling criminal charges via a Peace Bond is an exceptionally practical solution. Nothing is guaranteed at trial, regardless of the strength of an accused’s case. Therefore, to bypass the expense and anxiety of a trial and to ensure the removal of the charges, it’s beneficial in numerous instances to agree to and enter a Peace Bond.
Section 810 Peace Bond (Statutory Peace Bond)
A section 810 Peace Bond under the Criminal Code involves quite a different process. Pursuant to section 810, there must be a new information layer which alleges that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the accused will cause personal injury to them or their intimate partner/child. A justice who obtains this information and believes this fear-based evidence is objectively reasonable will mandate the accused to enter a recognizance for a set period of time.
The Peace Bond also includes a “no cash deposit” for a specified quantum. As an example, if the accused is placed on a $3,000 no-cash deposit recognizance, the accused does not have to pay this sum immediately; however, should they breach its terms, the State could seek compensation for this amount. It is thus a further incentive for the accused to abide by the conditions of the peace bond.
The 810 Peace Bond variation is generally used in domestic disturbances where the Crown arranges to withdraw the criminal charges if the accused enters a Peace Bond agreement. Often, such arrangements are coupled with the accused’s obligation to manage their conduct via counselling. Typically, requirements linked to the Peace Bond include no alcohol consumption, therapy/counselling, and regular probation officer check-ins.
The process for entering a section 810 Peace Bond includes having an officer communicate with the complainant, asking about any continued anxieties associated with the accused. If ongoing fear exists in the complainant, the officer will swear an information document and present it to the judge for review.
Understanding the Different Peace Bonds in Canada
With a more in-depth understanding of what each Peace Bond entails, you won’t be left in the dark or caught off guard should you face such a circumstance. At Batting, Wyman, we are a team of top criminal lawyers in Calgary. We have represented people from all walks of life, from investment bankers to professional athletes and everything in between.
Consequently, if you’re caught in a legal dispute and need assistance, we’re here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can assist you with getting your life back together.