Provincial Court

Adult Court FAQ

  1. What do I need to know if I want to pledge myself as a surety?
  2. How do I apply for a peace bond?
  3. What are the procedures to be followed in peace bond applications?
  4. HHow do I obtain a record suspension (formerly known as a pardon)?
  5. How can I get my probation order changed?
  6. How do I obtain a copy of my criminal record or a Notification of Court Check? How much does it cost? How long does it take?
  7. What is a victim fine surcharge and where does the money go?
  8. How do I file an appeal?
  9. How can I get an extension of time to pay my fine?

 

1. What do I need to know if I want to pledge myself as a surety?

Acting as a Surety is a Serious Matter

A surety is someone who agrees to take responsibility for ensuring that a person accused of a crime complies with the conditions of his or her release. Those terms and conditions are set out in a court order known as a recognizance. Being a surety is a serious commitment. Before you accept this responsibility, here are a few things you should think about:

  • If the accused person fails to obey all of the terms and/or conditions of the court order, you could lose the money you have pledged.
  • Consider getting independent legal advice to make sure you understand what this commitment means.
  • Do not agree to be a surety if you are not sure that you can supervise the accused person in the community.
  • Your responsibility as a surety continues until the case is completely over. In some cases, this may take a long time.
  • Accepting a fee, or being paid back, in return for acting as a surety is against the law.

Responsibilities of a Surety

  • Making sure the accused person comes to court on time and on the right dates.
  • Making sure you are aware of all conditions of the recognizance (bail order).
  • Making sure that the accused person obeys all conditions of the recognizance. There may be many conditions in a recognizance of which you should make yourself fully aware. Some examples include a requirement that the accused person report to the police at specified times and obey a curfew; not possess weapons; not possess or consume alcohol and/or non-prescription drugs; and not communicate, directly or indirectly, with the victim or the victim's family. There may be others.
  • If you are accepted as a surety, you must sign the recognizance. It means that you may have to pay the specified amount of money pledged as a surety if the accused person fails to obey the court order.

Qualifications of a Surety

  • The judge will decide whether you are suitable to act as a surety. Qualifications of a surety will vary depending on the allegations or charges against the accused.
  • The judge will consider your finances, personal character and background.
  • You may have to give evidence in court and be cross-examined about your qualifications.

Ending Your Obligations as a Surety

  • You may decide that you are no longer willing, or able, to supervise the accused person. In that case, you may come to the court that issued the recognizance and apply in writing to the court to be relieved of your duties. The Court will immediately schedule the matter to be heard before a judge. Once a court orders the accused to be committed, an order of committal will be issued. When the accused is actually rendered into custody a surety is relieved of his or her obligation.

Failure to Obey a Court Order

  • If the person is found guilty of breaching the court order while you were acting as a surety, the Crown may ask the Court to make you pay the money you pledged as a surety. A hearing may be scheduled in the Supreme Court. You and the accused person will be given at least 10 days notice of the date and place of the hearing.
  • The hearing will give you an opportunity to explain why you should not lose your money.
  • The judge may order that you pay all, part, or none of your money.

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2. How do I apply for a peace bond?

Section 810(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada states that an information may be laid before a justice by or on behalf of any person who fears on reasonable grounds that another person will cause personal injury to him or her or his or her spouse or child or will damage his or her property.

For more information please refer to the peace bonds section.

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3. What are the procedures to be followed in peace bond applications?

Please refer to the peace bonds section.

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4. How do I obtain a record suspension (formerly known as a pardon)?

Detailed instructions are contained in an application package available from the RNC or RCMP detachments and the Parole Board of Canada opens new window, Record Suspension & Clemency Division, 410 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0R1, telephone 1-800-874-2652.

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5. How can I get my probation order changed?

If you are on probation and wish to have any conditions varied or the duration of your order shortened you must complete an application form. A court date will then be set for you to appear before a judge. You must notify the Crown Attorney's Office of this court date by providing them with a copy of the application. After hearing from you, the prosecutor, possibly the probation officer, and the judge will decide if your application will be granted.

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6. How do I obtain a a copy of my criminal record or a Notification of Court Check? How much does it cost? How long does it take?

In order to obtain a copy of your criminal record or Notification of Court Check, you must fill in an application form at Provincial Court or make the request electronically. A fee of $20.00 will be charged if the request is for employment purposes, schooling, immigration purposes or for any reason from which you will derive a monetary benefit (with the exception of becoming a foster parent.) No fee is charged for volunteer purposes, adoptions, foster parent, court purposes or for a record suspension (formerly known as a pardon). To request a record check online, click here and follow the instructions to submit your request electronically. Once a request is received, it usually takes seven to ten days for completion.

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7. What is a victim fine surcharge and where does the money go?

A victim fine surcharge is the monetary penalty imposed by the Court when the accused is convicted or discharged of a criminal offence, unless the Court is satisfied that its imposition would cause undue hardship.

Section 737(7) of the Criminal Code of Canda states that a victim fine surcharge imposed ... "shall be applied for the purposes of providing such assistance to victims of offences as the lieutenant governor in council of the province in which the surcharge is imposed may direct from time to time".

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8. How do I file an appeal?

Once a matter has been dealt with in Provincial Court you have 30 days following the final disposition to appeal the Court's decision. You may appeal your conviction or sentence, or both. Where your appeal must be filed depends on the nature of the case being appealed, but information on how and where to file your appeal may be obtained from the Registrar's Office at the Supreme Court of Newfoundland.

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9. How can I get an extension of time to pay my fine?

If you have been fined and the due date is approaching and you need more time to pay your fine you may seek an extension of time to pay the fine by completing an application form. A court date will then be set for you to appear before a judge. Alternatively, the application may be dealt with in chambers without the required appearance of the offender. After hearing the reasons for your application the judge will decide if the extension will be granted.

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