A peace bond is not a criminal charge, but it is issued by the criminal court and breaching a peace bond will lead to criminal charges. A criminal defence lawyer can help you fight a peace bond.
What Is A Peace Bond
American crime dramas often mention a “restraining order” the rough equivalent in Canada is a peace bond. Peace bonds are a court order, not a criminal conviction. The purpose of a peace bond is to prevent offences from happening and keep vulnerable persons safe. They can restrict someone from contacting or being in close proximity to the complainant. Peace bonds are heard almost exclusively by Justices of the Peace in the Ontario Court of Justice.
Test For Getting A Peace Bond
The test that the courts apply while considering laying a peace bond can be found in section 810 of the Criminal Code, which reads:
810 (1) An information may be laid before a justice by or on behalf of any person who fears on reasonable grounds that another person
(a) will cause personal injury to him or her or to his or her spouse or common-law partner or child or will damage his or her property; or
(b) will commit an offence under section 162.1.
In other words, there must be an objective “reasonable” fear that the person will cause injury to you or a family member, commit an offence against you or damage your property. There must be some evidence to back up a complainant’s reasonable fear.
Peace Bond Evidence
Since the peace bond is not a criminal charge, the complainant typically has to gather evidence of their reasonable fear on their own, it can include police reports, medical reports, threatening text or social media messages, etc. There may also be witnesses. The defence can also submit evidence to the judge showing that the fear is not reasonable.
Effect Of A Peace Bond
A peace bond is not a criminal record, but it does restrict your actions. The terms of a peace bond can:
- Forbid contact with the complainant and their family
- Forbid attendance at the complainant’s home and/or place of employment or school
- Order an abstention from drugs and/or alcohol
- Prohibit the possession of weapons
- There may be a cash bond payable on breach
Breaching a peace bond is a criminal offence. So, while the imposition of a peace bond is not in itself a criminal conviction, failure to abide by its terms is punishable as a crime.
If someone is attempting to lay a peace bond against you, the best way to protect yourself is to hire a criminal defence lawyer. Mehdi Au LLP has criminal lawyers on staff to assist you with your case.
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