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You're probably wondering why the police are taking Marvin's mug shot.

Let's find out as we follow Marvin through the bail process in Canada.

Knowing how to bail someone out of jail can help you support a friend or family member if they're in a similar situation to Marvin's.

An illustration depicting a man posing for a mug shot at a police department.

Image by Storyset on Freepik

Is Marvin entitled to bail?

Marvin is under arrest for causing an accident and fleeing the scene. The driver of the other vehicle sustained serious injuries. Marvin was drunk at the time of the accident.

Under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, anyone accused of a criminal offence is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, Marvin is entitled to reasonable bail.

An illustration of a man shrugging his shoulders. A question mark appears above him. Image by Storyset on Freepik

What does "reasonable bail" mean?

Bail is releasing someone charged with a criminal offence from jail while they await trial.

Reasonable bail protects Marvin from "unreasonable" bail conditions.

Marvin's offences are driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident. A reasonable bail condition would be mandatory counselling for alcohol abuse. An unreasonable bail condition might be restriction from leaving home until the trial date.


"Innocent until proven guilty" doesn't apply to someone with a long criminal history and multiple arrests, and who is a threat to communities.

What's a bail hearing and why should Marvin attend?

An illustration of a man behind bars in a jail cell. Image by Storyset on Freepik

The police decided to detain Marvin for a bail hearing.

At the hearing, a judge (or justice of the peace) will decide if Marvin should remain in jail or be released while awaiting trial.

According to Canada's Criminal Code bail hearings should take place within 24 hours after an arrest or as soon as a judge is available.

Why does Marvin need a defence lawyer?

An illustration of a defence lawyer presenting a case in front of a judge. Image by Storyset on Freepik

Marvin has a right to legal representation. If he can't afford a lawyer, a free lawyer from Legal Aid Canada can represent him. The lawyer provides legal advice and helps him prepare a bail plan.

The bail plan addresses concerns the Crown (represented by the government prosecutor) might have about Marvin's actions after his release. The plan helps to convince the court that Marvin will obey the bail conditions set by the court.

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What type of information might be in Marvin's bail plan?

Here are some examples:

  • An address assures the court that Marvin can be located while on bail.

  • A surety is someone who agrees to supervise Marvin during the bail period and ensure he obeys ALL conditions of his release. The surety also agrees to pay a fine set by the court if Marvin "skips bail" (doesn't attend the trial).

  • A prevention plan for alcohol addiction while he is on bail (e.g., mandatory counselling).

  • A commitment to keep track of court dates and how Marvin will get to court.

What's the role of the prosecutor, lawyer, and judge at the hearing?

An illustration depicting a defendant appearing before a judge. The judge strikes his gavel. Image by Storyset on Freepik

The police will transport Marvin from jail to the bail hearing. If he is miles away from the court location, the hearings can be conducted virtually.

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The prosecutor represents the Crown's case. Theiraim is to prevent Marvin's bail.

At the hearing they:

  • Present the allegations against Marvin to the judge.

  • Question key witnesses (e.g., the police) who have evidence of Marvin's offences.

  • May question Marvin and his surety about the bail plan.

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Marvin's lawyer must convince the judge that Marvin will obey the conditions of his release.

At the hearing the lawyer:

  • Presents positive facts about Marvin's character.

  • Questions Marvin and his surety regarding the bail plan (this confirms that they understand the plan and what is expected from them).

  • May question the prosecutor's witnesses.

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The Judge or Justice of the Peace will consider:

  • The severity of Marvin's offences.

  • Marvin's criminal record.

  • Details in the bail plan before making a decision.

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  • Bail is usually granted with conditions that must be obeyed.

  • Failure to comply with these conditions could result in Marvin's return to jail.

  • If bail is denied, Marvin won't get another bail hearing. However, his lawyer can recommend alternative actions (e.g., bail review by higher court).


During a hearing the judge will most likely consider which of the following before granting Marvin's bail? Select the correct choices:

Take Action

If you decide to become a surety for someone's bail, make sure you understand the bail process and your obligations. In addition, you should:

  • Know the offender.

  • Be 18 years old or older.

  • Not be involved in the case.

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

  • Be able to pay the sum of money set by the court if the offender doesn't show up for the trial.

Prison release illustration image by Storyset on Freepik

Want to learn more about how to bail someone out of jail in Canada?


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