Applying for a peace bond
If a person is afraid that an individual (the defendant) will harm them, or their children or their property, they can seek a peace bond or recognizance. A peace bond is a court order under section 810 of the Criminal Code that requires the defendant to “keep the peace” for a certain length of time and to obey any other conditions of the peace bond. A peace bond does not cost anything, and a person can get one without a lawyer. Peace bonds are enforceable by police across Canada and are supervised like a probation order.
The police or a prosecutor can help the person through this process, depending on where the person lives. The defendant may be given a summons to appear in court at a certain time and place. The person who is seeking the peace bond may be required to attend as well, and should be sure to check with the police.
A prosecutor will explain the situation to the Court. If the Court is satisfied that the person has reasonable grounds to fear for their own safety or the safety of their children or property, the Court will order the defendant to enter into a peace bond.
A peace bond is not a criminal conviction, however breaching any of the conditions of a peace bond is a crime. As long as the defendant meets the conditions of the peace bond, they will not be charged with a criminal offence. If the defendant breaks those conditions, they can be charged with breaching the peace bond as well as with any other offence that may be committed. If convicted, they can be fined and/or jailed and will then have a criminal record.
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