Assault Charges: Peace Bonds
Withdrawal of Assault Charges
A peace bond or recognizance is a court order requiring the person to whom it is directed (defendant) to keep the peace and be of good behavior. In minor assault cases, the Crown might withdraw the charge upon the accused person entering a peace bond.
Conditions may be attached to ensure good conduct; it is usually stipulated that the defendant avoid contact with and not go near the home of the person for whose protection the bond is issued. Often there is a requirement that the defendant not possess any firearms, ammunition or explosives.
A peace bond may be issued under section 810 of the Criminal Code or under the court’s common law jurisdiction to bind a party over to keep the peace.
Breach of the Peace
An order that you enter a common law peace bond means the court has found grounds to apprehend you would commit a breach of the peace either generally or in relation to a certain individual.
Under the Criminal Code, any person who fears on reasonable grounds that another person will hurt him or her, or his or her spouse or child, or damage his or her property can apply to a justice to have that person enter a peace bond. If the court is satisfied there are reasonable grounds for the applicant’s fear, it will order the defendant to enter a recognizance to keep the peace.
Not a Criminal Record
A section 810 peace bond can be issued for up to a year; a common-law peace bond for longer. Refusal to sign a section 810 bond can result in imprisonment for up to 12 months. And once entered, it is a criminal offence to violate the conditions of a section 810 peace bond. Breaching the conditions of a common law peace bond could lead to a charge of Disobey Court Order contrary to section 127 of the Criminal Code. However, there is debate over whether such a charge has legal legs.
Signing a peace bond does not give rise to a criminal record. It does not entail a finding of guilt or a criminal conviction.
According to the Crown Policy Manual, a peace bond will be accepted as an appropriate remedy in a domestic assault matter only in “the most unusual circumstances.”