There are two ways a person can be required to enter into a peace bond. First, the criminal court can issue a peace bond in exchange for a withdrawal of criminal charges. Alternatively, a Judge or Justice of the Peace can also hold a hearing to determine whether a person must enter into a peace bond.
This means that a person does not need to be charged with a criminal offence prior to being ordered to enter into a peace bond. This particular process is initiated, instead, by the complainant (the person who lodged the complaint) filing an application with the court stating that they are fearful of the defendant (the person who was complained about). The complainant and the defendant will then be required to attend a peace bond hearing. At the hearing, both parties can present evidence to support their positions. If the Judge or Justice of the Peace presiding over the hearing believes that the complainant is reasonably fearful of the defendant, a peace bond will be issued against the defendant.
By entering into a peace bond, the defendant is promising to keep the peace and be of good behavior for a period of time – usually 12 months. Additional conditions also are attached to a peace bond, such as a promise to stay away from the complainant and their place of residence, school and employment. The defendant may also be required to promise not to possess weapons. The defendant would also be required to pledge a sum of money – normally $500.00 – as an assurance of their promise.
Peace bonds are an excellent remedy for matters that are not serious enough to warrant intervention of the criminal courts, but require some sort of legal intervention. While a peace bond is not a criminal sanction, they should be taken seriously – breaking a condition of the peace bond can result in a future criminal charge. Loss of part, or all, of the pledge money is another possible sanction for breaching a peace bond.
If you would like more information about Peace Bonds, contact us to book a consultation.