Adult Criminal

This section is about the criminal court procedures for people 18 years of age and older.

Getting Released

After being charged by a police officer and being taken to the police station or jail, there are a number of ways that you may be released from jail. Before releasing you, the main issues that a police officer, Justice of the Peace or Judge must decide are: If you will come to court for […]

Being Released from the Police Station

If the police think that you will come to court and don’t pose a risk to public safety or of committing a criminal offence, you may be released directly from police custody and ordered to come to court by a document that may be called a “Promise to Appear”, “Criminal Summons”, “Recognizance”, or “Undertaking”. If released by an Undertaking, you may […]

Getting Released from Court – Bail Hearings

If the police officers do not think that you will come to court, or think that you may pose a safety risk, then you will be held overnight to appear in court for a bail hearing. You have the right to appear before a Justice of the Peace within 24 hours of arrest (this includes […]


People taking on a legal obligation to supervise you are called sureties. In addition to agreeing to supervise you, sureties will be asked to pledge an amount of money which they can lose if you breach any of the conditions. Even if you can’t get someone to act as your surety, you should seek out […]

Bail Program

The Bail Program at Toronto courthouses is also helpful when you are charged with a non-violent offence and you cannot get a surety. Instead, a regular reporting requirement is put in place for bail to be granted.

First Appearance

The first court appearance is usually six weeks after you are charged. At this time, you may get your disclosure package from the Crown Prosecutor. The disclosure includes the information against you that the Crown will use against you to prove that you are guilty. Generally, a charge screening form will be attached to the […]


Diversion is a program where, if you complete certain requirements (community service, counselling, or donating to a charity), the Crown will “withdraw” or “stay” a charge. Operation Springboard runs the diversion program at many of the Toronto courthouses. The main things that may lead to acceptance to a diversion program are: a non-violent offence no […]

Peace Bonds

A peace bond is when you enter into a recognizance, or a promise to the court, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour. If the court decides, you may have other conditions to abide by. For example: not to communicate directly or indirectly with the complainant. A peace bond is usually for 12 […]

Hiring a Lawyer

If there is no resolution to your charges after a few court appearances, the Justice of the Peace or the Judge will urge you to hire a lawyer or apply for legal aid. It is highly recommended that you get a lawyer to represent you on criminal charges. A lawyer can help make sure that disclosure is complete, […]