The Various Conditions Of Bail

The conditions of bail depend upon the type of offence.

For example, for an assault that is domestic in nature (the complainant is a spouse, family member, etc.), you’re very likely to see a condition that the accused not have contact, direct or indirect, with the complainant. Many times you’ll see an area restriction or an address restriction, restricting the accused from returning to his/her home or the area surrounding the residence. Sometimes there will be a condition that allows the accused to attend the residence once with police to pick up his/her belongings.

In drug matters, you’ll see a different set of conditions. For drug matters, you will see restrictions on the possession of drugs, unless they’re prescription. You will see restrictions on having cell phones because cell phones are considered to be part of the drug trade. Sometimes people are not allowed to be in vehicles without the registered owner present. Again, driving someone else’s vehicle is believed to be common in the drug trade. The accused person won’t be allowed to go back to the area where he or she was alleged to have been dealing drugs. Sometimes they will have a curfew. With very serious offences, there can be very strict conditions akin to house arrest where the person is not allowed to leave the house unless it’s for school or work.

If alcohol is considered an issue in the facts of the case, there will often be an abstinence clause in the release conditions. Sometimes the court will impose a condition that requires that the person go to counseling. As a defense lawyer, I may also suggest alcohol counseling in the privacy of my own office. If the person takes the counseling on their own, that can be the difference between their getting a probationary period to help them continue with their treatment and their getting a jail sentence. It does actually make a very significant difference if the person takes that counseling prior to going to court for their matter.

I try to keep the conditions to a minimum. Sometimes the police present a long list of conditions which don’t apply to the case. For example, I have a lot of clients who are charged with drug offenses. There is no suggestion that there’s alcohol involved in any way, but on the list of conditions sought by the police is the abstinence from alcohol clause. If I am present for the hearing, I can make that point and the Justice of the Peace likely will not impose it.

This information is taken from an interview from, Mar 23, 2010 with Lisa Trach, a Criminal Lawyer. The article is provided as an information service only and should not be used as legal advice. Laws vary by jurisdiction so please consult with an appropriate legal professional if you are looking for help with a specific situation.