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When do I have to deposit money with the court for bail?

A wad of Canadian money.
The judge will decide your bail conditions and the amount of your bail amount. Stock photo from iStock/Getty Images.

If you have been charged with a criminal offence and taken into custody, you have a right to go before a judge for a bail hearing within 24 hours. The judge will decide your bail conditions (e.g. to stay away from the victim) and the amount of your bail amount.

In most cases, the accused does not have to deposit the money right away with the court. Instead, the accused or the accused’s surety will make a promise (recognizance) to the court to forfeit the amount if the accused breaks their bail conditions or does not appear for the next court appearance. The surety is the person who agrees to be responsible for the accused to make sure the accused follows his or her bail conditions and attends court as required.

In limited situations, the court may require the money to be deposited right away. Section 515(2) of the Criminal code says a cash deposit is required when:

  • The accused is not a resident of the province where he or she is charged; or
  • The accused lives more than 200 kilometers away from where he/she is jailed.

In practice, when the judge orders the accused to be released on a cash bail, the Crown agrees. In other words, the Crown gives consent to a release on cash bail.

It’s important to consult with a lawyer if you have been charged with an offence under the Criminal Code.

Read more:

Ontario - Guide for Accused Persons in Criminal Trials

B.C. – Bail and Surety