Peace bonds are protection orders created by the court under section 810 of the Criminal Code. Typically, peace bonds are used if the authorities feel someone is likely to commit a criminal offence, yet there are no reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has been committed.
Essentially, a peace bond is a promise not to do what they think you were about to do. You can also obtain a peace bond from the court against someone else. Whether a peace bond has been entered against you, or you are interested in having one administered, the court will impose conditions designed to prevent the defendant from committing harm to the other person, their spouse, common-law partner, or child; or from committing property damage.
Obtaining a peace bond can take months, and if you enter into one, it can have serious repercussions for the future.
When Are They Issued?
Peace bonds are usually issued when the Crown Prosecutor feels a strong case does not exist against you when a crime has been committed. You are not pleading guilty when you enter into a peace bond, and there is no finding of guilt made or any conviction registered.
Why Would I Enter a Peace Bond?
The primary reason someone would enter a peace bond is to avoid a criminal trial and the possibility of being convicted in court. Peace bonds are really a mechanism that keeps two parties separate. Peace bonds can include clauses such as no alcohol consumption or the avoidance of certain locations. If you accept a peace bond, it guarantees that you will not get a criminal conviction. If you do not enter into a peace bond, you run the risk of going to trial and being convicted. When you enter a peace bond, the normal 6+ months wait time for a trial date is also no longer a factor.
How Long do Peace Bonds Last?
Most peace bonds last for one year. That’s one year of generally keeping the peace and good behaviour. If you aren’t able to abide by the conditions of the peace bond, you may be charged with a separate criminal offence of “breach of recognizance” or “disobeying a court order“. As of July 19, 2015, a conviction for breaching a condition of a peace bond carries a maximum jail sentence of up to four years.
If you are the one that had the peace bond issued, and you wish to get another peace bond in place for your protection after the year has passed, you must provide new evidence that the defendant will damage your property or harm you or your family.
Do Peace Bonds Show up on Criminal Checks?
If you have had the misfortune of being fingerprinted for an assault or you have had an “uttering threats” charge, your peace bond will show up in criminal checks. Regardless of whether the charges were stayed, dismissed, withdrawn, absolutely or conditionally discharged, the peace bond will still be there.
Every police force is different when it comes to criminal record checks. Some put common law and Section 810 peace bonds on regular criminal record checks and some do not. Nearly every police force includes peace bond information for vulnerable sector screenings though; even after the peace bond has expired, and even if it was withdrawn.
How Long Does a Peace Bond Stay on my Record?
Never assume the charges will disappear when it comes to a peace bond. Even charges that are 10 years old (and were withdrawn) can still hamper your job opportunities or travel plans. A peace bond will essentially remain on your record until you do something about getting it removed. A file destruction from Pardons Canada is the safest way to start fresh.
File destruction from Pardons Canada does not require final approval from the Federal Government and can set you free from the embarrassing burden of having a record. We have been helping thousands of Canadians for over 25 years obtain file destructions. Contact us to find out how we can help you.