What is a Peace Bond?Andrew Captan
A peace bond is a legal agreement (or recognizance) signed by an accused person and a judge that contains a number of rules that a judge considers necessary for the accused person to follow (such as having no contact with one or more individuals). The typical length of the peace bond is 12 months, meaning that the person must comply with the conditions included in it for that duration. If they do not, they could be charged with failing to comply with a peace bond order, which is a criminal offence.
A peace bond does NOT require the accused person to plead guilty. This means that the accused person, by signing the peace bond, is NOT admitting to any criminal wrong doing. As a result, there is no “finding of guilt” registered, and, of course, no criminal conviction.
A Court has jurisdiction to order someone into a s. 810 peace bond where the Court finds that the complainant might have reasonably feared for the safety of his/her property or for his/herself. The Courts sometimes ask Crown Attorneys to read in the allegations against the accused as a basis for having jurisdiction to enter the accused into the peace bond. However, the accused does NOT have to admit to the facts, or to any criminal offence when this is done.
In terms of a “record” of the peace bond, if an accused’s name is typed into the police database by a police officer or border official, there will be an indication that the person’s charges were withdrawn by way of a peace bond. The same applies even if an accused has his/her charges withdrawn without signing a peace bond. The police have the ability to trace any “non-conviction” record, and there is nothing that can be done about this at this point in time (although, there are lobby groups trying to get Parliament to pass law(s) to change this).
Potential Implications to Consider
(i) Employment consequences
It is possible that the fact that there were peace bond proceedings or withdrawn charges will become known on an individual’s Vulnerable Persons Search. .
(ii) Loss of gun license
A s.810 peace bond can also cause the respondent to lose a gun license if the justice sees fit to prohibit the individual from possessing firearms.
(iii) Immigration and travel consequences
Although signing a peace bond does not involve any admission of guilt or criminal conviction, if you have any questions about the impact that a peace bond can have on your immigration status or travelling to the USA, you should consult with an immigration lawyer.
Prior to entering into a Peace Bond recognizance, you should have a Toronto Criminal Lawyer review your disclosure, and advise you on the particulars regarding how a Peace Bond might affect you in particular.