Almost every client charged with a domestic assault in Ottawa will have the same question: can I get my bail conditions changed? The short answer is: yes. The better question is: how quickly? The Crown in Ottawa prosecutes domestic assault charges vigorously. They are aware that in many cases they will have a reluctant complainant, and yet the prosecution proceeds. In a similar vein, the Crown is aware that release conditions make it uncomfortable for the accused pending their trial, and thus restrictive bail conditions are used to apply pressure on the accused to enter a plea as early as possible. In brief, if the accused wants their bail conditions changed, all they must do is enter a plea of guilty! This of course, is quite perverse. After all, what if the accused is wrongfully accused? How is it ethical to extricate an accused from their own home and prohibit contact with their spouse and children, when they may be innocent of the charges levied? Thankfully, there is a mechanism for applying to have your bail conditions changed. A variation motion is filed and set down to be litigated. Unfortunately, because the accused is out of custody, the Courts give these matters low priority and it is not unusual for an Ottawa accused to have the matter bumped to another day due to a lack of Court time to hear the matter. Despite the various impediments towards a bail variation, they are possible. In fact, with proper advocacy and supporting materials, we are typically able to effect the variation within two weeks of the request. As a criminal defence lawyer in Ottawa, I advise any prospective clients that while I share their frustration with the state of the bail system, there are still remedies.