Release from Custody by the Court

When police keep you in custody, they must bring you in front of a judge within 24 hours for a bail hearing. You may be required to appear in person or by teleconference or telephone. In certain situations, the bail hearing may be adjourned (delayed) for up to three days.

At this hearing, the judge will decide if you should be kept in custody until your trial. The judge will keep you in custody only if the Crown can show it is necessary:

  • To make sure you show up at your court hearings
  • For the public’s protection and safety
  • To maintain confidence in the administration of justice

If you don’t have a lawyer, duty counsel will be in the courtroom to help you. Duty counsel are legal aid lawyers paid by Legal Aid BC. They can help you with your first appearances in court, including your bail hearing, but they cannot represent you at trial. Duty counsel can give you information about how to apply for legal aid if you cannot afford a lawyer. 

Under certain serious circumstances, the onus (responsibility) may be on you to show why you should be released. In other words, it is up to you to prove you are eligible for release.

If the judge decides to release you from custody, there may be some conditions set for your release. This might mean setting some rules for your behaviour, requiring you to pay money into court, or finding a “surety.”

More Information

For more information, see: