Everything You Need to Know About Being a Surety

When someone commits a crime, the law has to step in to protect the public at large from harm as a result, many accused are detained until there’s a decision on their case. However not all accused have to be held in custody, as some can be released with someone who volunteers to guarantee that the accused follows the terms of their release from custody. This is known as being a surety.

What Is a Surety?

A Surety plays a crucial role in our legal system. A surety is an individual who has agreed to supervise the accused and ensure that they comply with the bail conditions. The surety must inform the police if the accused violates any bail conditions.

Responsibilities of a Surety

Being a surety comes with a lot of responsibilities and should be taken seriously. A surety must:

  • Ensure the Accused Attends all Court Appearances/Programs, if applicable
  • Monitor the Accused
  • Report Any Violations

Who Can Be a Surety?

The majority of Ontarians often qualify to act as a surety for someone who is being accused. An accused can have more than one surety. Parents, relatives, or acquaintances of the accused are excellent sureties since they can stay in constant contact with the accused.

Certain requirements must be met in order to become a surety. A surety should normally be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • A citizen or permanent resident of Canada
  • Free of outstanding criminal charges
  • Able to provide the required amount of bail, either in cash or by pledging assets, to the court
  • Not currently acting as a surety for anybody else

The Consequences That Come With Being a Surety?

Even if you want to protect a friend or loved one, you should make sure you understand your duties before agreeing to act as a surety for someone who is accused.

In the event that the accused violates the terms of their bail, the surety shall promptly report any suspicion or knowledge of such violations to the authorities. For example, you have to notify the authorities, if the accused’s bail condition prohibits them from communicating with the victim and they do. 

If the surety breaks the terms of their bail arrangement, the money they pledged as a surety will probably be handed in and not given back to them. The judge will determine if and how much they are required to pay for failing as a surety in a hearing called an estreatment. For the public’s and the victim’s safety, the accused is also probably going to be taken back into custody. So it is crucial that you play your part and make sure the accused abides by the terms of the bail to ensure they are provided the best outcome for their case.

If you ever feel you are unable to act as a surety for an accused, you are allowed at any time to release yourself from being a surety. Returning to court to request release from your obligations is an option if you feel you are no longer able or willing to serve as a surety. Be advised, however, that the accused will subsequently be taken into custody.

Still Want to Be a Surety?

If you plan to act as a surety for an accused, it’s important to fully understand your responsibilities. Our team of lawyers at Collett Read are available to assist you through the process.

Do not hesitate to contact us for a confidential consultation through our contact page or call us at (905) 541-2228.