Bails Variations Definition & Conditions

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When a person is facing a criminal charge, they may be released on bail through an undertaking or a recognizance. An undertaking is issued by the police, which means that you won’t go to Court, while a recognizance is issued through a formal bail hearing in front of a Justice of Peace. Both forms of bail release contain conditions that you are to abide by until trial. Some typical release conditions include:

  • A no-contact order
  • A driving prohibition
  • Curfew
  • A prohibition from leaving the province of Ontario
  • Prohibition against possession of weapons or drugs

Some conditions, however, can be quite onerous and may unnecessarily interfere with your life and that of your family. Given that your trial may be years away, it can be frustrating and unfair to live with bail conditions that are too disruptive. In such cases, the criminal justice system allows you to request a bail variation.

What Is a Bail Variation?

A bail variation is a request to either the Crown or the Superior Court to have one or more of your release conditions changed or deleted. Most people apply for a change of bail conditions because when they were getting bail, they didn’t picture the impact of specific release terms on their lives or how unreasonable they were. This is why it’s always advisable to have an experienced criminal defence lawyer represent you during bail hearing as they can negotiate for fair terms with the police or Crown.

As stated above, there are two ways to request a bail variation:

1.    Consent Variation

This involves making a request to the Crown to consent to bail variation. It’s the easiest way to get your recognizance or undertaking terms changed.

To increase the chances of a successful outcome, you should retain an experienced criminal lawyer to help show the Crown Attorney how certain restrictions are negatively impacting your life and why changing or removing them is necessary.

If the Crown Attorney agrees to your request, the modification to your bail conditions must be signed into effect by a Justice of Peace. This means that you’ll have to go to Court, and if you have a surety, they must accompany you and sign the variation as well.

If the Crown refuses your proposed changes, then you can turn to the Court.

2.    Bail Review

If the Crown Attorney doesn’t consent to the requested bail variation, then your lawyer can file an application to the Supreme Court of Justice requesting changes to your undertaking or recognizance conditions. But first, you have to give a Notice of Application to the Crown.

Your application for a bail review must explain in detail why you want changes in your release conditions. You must show that there has been a substantial change in circumstance or that an error was made during your original bail hearing. This is a complex process that requires the assistance of an experienced criminal defence lawyer.

Contact Zamani Law for Legal Representation

As experienced, effective, and committed criminal defence lawyers, Zamani Law protects the interests and needs of its clients throughout the criminal justice process. Therefore, when your release conditions are onerous and disruptive to your life, we work with you to get a variation. We have a proven track record of successfully dealing with bail issues, and we can help you in your fight for better release conditions.

Contact Zamani Law for more information about bail variations.


Am I required to adhere to the conditions of the original bail order pending the results of a bail variation?

Yes. Even if you disagree with the original bail orders, you must adhere to them no matter how they’re interfering with your life. If you breach any of the conditions, including the one you’re requesting to get modified or removed, you risk being arrested for failing to comply with bail conditions. It can also lead to withdrawal of your bail if you cannot justify the breach.

Therefore, It’s in your best interest to follow all the original bail conditions pending a bail variation hearing.

What conditions could be changed with a bail variation?

The bail conditions that one might want to be changed vary as per the criminal charges, the unique circumstances of their case, and other factors. One can apply to have any condition changed as long as they can prove how unreasonable it is or show a significant change in circumstance.

The most common bail conditions that people apply for variation for include:

  • No-contact orders in domestic assault charges
  • A prohibition from driving for DUI charges

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