How to be a surety?

You get the call late at night or early morning on the weekend, someone you know and love has been arrested and they want you to come to court to sign a bail. You are still trying to understand what the police officer or duty counsel is saying to you.

Signing a bail means that you are supervising someone who has been charged with one or more criminal offenses, out in the community. As the supervisor, you are promising the court, that you will make sure that the defendant will attend their court dates and that they will follow all the rules of the bail. This promise by you is backed by a pledge of money – you will risk an amount of money if you do not fulfill your promise and or if the defendant is charged again.

When someone is arrested, the court and crown attorney are concerned about 3 issues:

1. Will the defendant come to court when they are required to;
2. Will the defendant commit further criminal offenses generally;
3. Will the public be outraged that this person is being released because of the type of the offense

So you run to court – bring your government issued identification to show who you are. Bring bank statements, pay stubs, rrsp or other investment statements, mortgage or deed showing that you have valuable property.

A good surety does not have a criminal record or if they have one from long ago – at least 10-15 years earlier. They are a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident and is not a surety for anyone else (unless it is for a a minor – someone younger than 18 years old.

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