To be a good surety you need to understand that you are acting as a jail guard in the community and that your job is to ensure that the accused follows his or her bail. Your obligation is to the court, not the accused.
Requirements to be a Surety:
You must be 18 years of age or older
You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident/landed immigrant
You must pledge or promise an amount of money for the accused's persons release
Responsibilities of a Surety:
Ensure that the accused attends each and every court appearance
Ensure that the accused abides by all conditions imposed by the court
To pledge money or equity in exchange for the accused's release
Call the police immediately if the accused breaches his or her bail
What a Surety Should Bring to Court:
Government photo ID
A piece of mail with your current address (if not on your ID)
Proof that you can pay the money you are going to pledge (i.e. bank statement, pay check)
When does a Surety's Role End?
Your responsibilities as a surety continue until the end of the case, whether it resolves byway of a withdrawal, guilty plea or the matter goes to trial; this could be weeks, months or years away.
If you no longer want to supervise the accused, you can pull the bail at any time by attending the court and reliving yourself of your duties. The accused can either come with you and step into custody, or a warrant will be issued for his or her arrest.
What the Court Wants to Know From the Surety
How will you supervise the accused?
What is your relationship to the accused? How well you know him/her and how often do you see or communicate with him/her?
What are your finances?
What is your personal character and background?
Have you been a surety before? Are you currently acting as a surety?
A Surety's Financial Obligations
If the accused fails to comply with the conditions of the court, you could lose all of the money you pledge
You cannot accept money or be paid back for being a surety as it is a criminal offence.
A pledge is a promise to the court that you will pay a specific amount of money if the accused breaches his/her bail.
Typically you will not be asked to deposit any money for the accused’s release, however, in some cases this is required. If the case completes without any breaches, the money will be returned to the accused. It will be up to the surety to get the money back from the accused.
While deposits are not often required, you may be required to show that you are good for the money you are pledging. This may be through monthly income (i.e. employment, ODSP, social assistance), real estate, bank accounts or investments.
Additional Information the Lawyer will Need to Know
If you are a witness or the complainant in the present case
If you have ever been the victim of the accused
If you have a criminal record
If you are currently acting as a surety for anyone else
If you know someone who needs bail, please contact me for a consultation.