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Break of Recognizance of Bail

Courts generally take breaches quite seriously as they show a lack of respect for court orders.


What You Need To Know:

The offence of breach of recognizance is defined in s. 811 of the Criminal Code of Canada. The charge will be laid when it is believed that an individual has breached one or more of the terms of their bail. The offence constitutes a new criminal offence. When prosecuted by indictment the maximum penalty for this offence is two years in jail.

Sentencing options include absolute and conditional discharges, suspended sentences, fines, and a period in custody.

A sentence may also include a probation order. Depending on the nature of the breach it is not unusual for an individual to be sentenced to a period in custody. Being found guilty of a breach of recognizance may make it more difficult for an individual to receive bail in the future as they have shown an unwillingness to respect court orders. This is an important factor that must be considered when determining how to proceed with a breach charge.

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What Happens If You're Convicted?

The potential penalty for a break of recognizance of bail will vary depending on the aggravating and mitigating circumstances of the offence and the offender.

Although sometimes the Crown will agree to divert such cases, sentences can range from an absolute discharge to a period of time in custody. Some examples of breach include: Being outside one’s home outside the hours of a court imposed curfew, failure to reside at a given address, failure to seek counseling as directed by the court or communicating with an individual whom a court has ordered non-communication.

Potential Defence #1:

Proof of Breach

The Crown will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the actions of the Accused did occur and were in contravention of a recognizance of bail.

Potential Defence #2:

Proof of Court Order

The Crown must present the original or certified copies of the underlying information and recognizance of bail. They must also prove that the person arrested for the breach is the same person who was arrested and placed on bail on the underlying charges.

Your Record:

Is It A Big Deal?

It’s still a criminal record or, in cases of a discharge, a finding of guilt. A breach may also make it more difficult to be granted bail should an Accused person be arrested again as they have showed a lack of respect for court orders.

What Comes Next?
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