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Having practiced criminal defence in Ottawa for just under eleven years, I cannot even count the number of times Ive had a client, charged with relatively minor offences (theft, uttering threats, assault), subsequently get charged with a breach of their bail conditions. Inevitably, on a breach charge, the client gets held in custody overnight until they are brought before a Justice of the Peace the next morning. It is not unusual for the Crown to take a show cause position on a bail breach, attempting to have the client detained. The new charge acts as a pressure mechanism: plead guilty to all of the charges, otherwise you may not get released. These circumstances are unfortunate, since with minor underlying charges, the client would have had nothing more than a promise to appear, with minimal conditions. Typically, the only condition is to have no contact with their spouse. Sure enough, within a day or two of their initial release, they are caught having contact directly with their spouse, and thus, breaching their bail. It is difficult for clients to understand that the breach of bail is often a more serious charge then the underlying domestic charges themselves. Put simply, a breach of recognizance is often worth 30 days in jail, whereas the underlying assault charge may have mandated a conditional discharge, or perhaps probation. Thus, it is imperative that clients released on scene or from the station strictly adhere to their release conditions. This will allow your criminal defence lawyer to keep all options open to you, enabling you, the client, to make your decisions free from any systemic pressure which would otherwise result from breach charges.


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Paul Lewandowski Professional Corporation
200 Elgin St,
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada,
K2P 1L5