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Common Legal Terms

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Peace bonds are covered under Section 810 of the Criminal Code, or Common Law. It is common in Alberta to resolve minor domestic assault allegations, or other minor crimes of violence, with a peace bond. The Court has the authority to issue peace bonds under s. 810 of the  Criminal Code.

The requirements are that an application can be made by—or on behalf of—any person (Person A) who has a reasonable fear that another person (Person B) will cause harm to him or her, their spouse, children, or property.

The Court can order Person B to be bound by a court order to keep the peace and be of good behavior, seek counselling for anger  management or anything else, be supervised by the probation office, to have no contact with Person A—there are many possibilities.

It is also possible for the court to issue peace bonds under its common law authority which carries many of the same terms and obligations.

Breaching the terms of a peace bond is itself a criminal offence and carries a fine attached to it. As of July 2015, a conviction for breaching a peace bond carries a maximum sentence of up to four years in jail.

If the person bound by the peace bond abides by all of its conditions, then the peace bond does not result in a criminal conviction and is a good way of resolving minor crimes of violence.

Most people are arrested and released. They are not held in custody pre-trial. However, they may be placed under conditions that must be followed as part of being on bail, or on release conditions.

In domestic violence situations, release conditions such as no-contact with the complainant, or no-go to the residence are serious problems, as it means the accused person can’t go home, or see his or her children. Changing the release conditions can be done with the consent of the Crown or by a bail review.

It is common in domestic violence situations for the police to seek an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) in addition to any criminal charges. This not a criminal charge, but it does place the person under a court order to not have any contact with the complainant or other individuals. EPO’s are reviewed at the Court of Queen’s Bench and are completely separate from release conditions and criminal charges.

This is the review of a person’s release conditions at the Court of Queen’s Bench. It is typically only done when a person has been denied bail in Provincial Court and is making an appeal of that decision. Every accused person gets one shot at bail—it is best to take the best shot possible.

These are civilian members of various police forces who assist victims of crime - mainly in domestic violence circumstances - with navigating the court system. The employees of Victim Services are the essential go-between for the Crown prosecutors and the complainants or victims of crime.

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