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Easing Restrictions: Can I Have My Bail Conditions Altered?

By Adam Higgins

Short Answer: Maybe

If you’ve been charged criminally and released on bail, your life has likely been made more difficult by complex restrictions placed on you by the courts. You may be required to attend a specific form of counselling or treatment. You may be restricted from leaving your home, or inversely you may be on a strict curfew requiring you not leave your home at night or on weekends. Likely you’ve been ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim or complainant. Whatever the conditions may be, they can make day to day life more complex during an already difficult time in your life. But you don’t necessarily have to let those restrictions stand.

Having bail conditions altered is something we’ve done many times for our clients. If you need to have your bail conditions altered, contact our office for a free 30-minute consultation so we can determine how best to assist you. This blog is designed to explain the two ways we can seek to assist you but should not be considered a substitute for personalized legal advice, it is merely a brief explanation.

Alterations Without Hearings: Negotiate with the Crown

If the Crown agrees to alter your conditions no hearing is needed. Attempting this is the first step, because if successful it will save both you and the Crown time and money in preparing for and engaging in a hearing before a judge.

To convince the Crown to alter a bail condition we need to present them with convincing reasons why you need the condition altered, as well as evidence that the alteration won’t put others at risk.

A bail condition might, for example, restrict you from going near schools, parks and recreation centres because children are often present there. This might prevent you from working if you perform snow removal in parking lots and such locations are on your route. The potential loss of your employment when you’re on bail and are not yet convicted is an excessive limitation. Asking the Crown to modify this restriction to allow you to go near these areas for work would be a reasonable request.

Under that same example, it might be best to propose only slight modifications to the condition to keep the Crown convinced that there is minimal risk. Requesting that you be able to go near such areas between 4:00am and 6:00am, before children are typically in the area, would maintain the core concept of the condition while allowing you to perform your snow removal. If this timeframe is too limiting, perhaps requiring you to work in pairs so that a colleague might supervise you would appease the Crown.

If we are able to bring to the Crown a valid reason for altering a condition while also allowing them to feel they have done their duty in maintaining the public good, we have a strong chance of success in the negotiation.

Bail Review Hearings

If the Crown is not open to a bail modification, we can seek a formal hearing before a judge to have the condition modified. The process is similar: we will bring valid reasons for altering the condition before the judge to convince them to make the alterations. Preparing for a hearing takes significantly more time and resources than a negotiation with the Crown and is thus more expensive. If you have highly stringent conditions, the Crown has a strong case against you, or your reasons for requesting the modifications are not convincing, this may be the route that needs to be taken.

We Can Help

Through our free 30-minute consultation one of our lawyers would be happy to hear your story and provide you with insight. Our team has successfully argued for numerous bail condition modification for clients facing a variety of charges. Contact our office to set up a meeting so we can begin negotiating with the Crown on your behalf and we can have your restrictions eased as quickly as possible.

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