Fail to Comply/Breach of Bail, Probation and Court Orders

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What are Failure to Comply/Breach Charges?

Offences against the Administration of Justice include various criminal offences under the Criminal Code of Canada, including but not limited to the following:
  • Escape from prison and unlawfully being at large without excuse
  • Fail to attend court
  • Fail to appear or comply with summons
  • Fail to appear or comply with appearance notice or promise to appear
  • Fail to comply with conditions of undertaking, recognizance, probation order, peace bond, etc.
Offences against the Administration of Justice typically do not involve harm to a victim (other than the justice system) and relate to disobeying court orders.  and can only be committed after a person has been accused of another criminal offences.



Failure to Comply/Breach FAQs


We will review some of the more commonly asked questions about Failure to Comply/Breach offences in this FAQs section.     


What does “reasonable excuse” in the Criminal Code mean?

The terms “reasonable excuse” or “lawful excuse” appear in several criminal offences under the Criminal Code of Canada and depending on the facts of a situation, may serve to be a potential defence to a charge. Where the Crown Attorney has proven the essential elements of an offence beyond a reason, an accused person may be excused from criminal liability, despite having been found to have committed the offence, due to the fact that the accused’s particular actions were reasonably justified given the circumstances and should not attract criminal liability.
For example, if you are unable to attend court on a specific date as required of you by law (e.g. promise to appear) and you were unable to attend due to a medical emergency which resulted in you being hospitalized, then the courts would determine that despite having committed the criminal offence of failing to attend court, you had a reasonable excuse and will not be held criminally liable. Reasonable or lawful excuses are referred to for failing to comply with release conditions, failing to provide a breath sample, and other criminal offences under the Code.


What happens to my breach charge if the original charge(s) are withdrawn/dismissed?

Regardless of the outcome of the original charges, commonly refereed to as the substantive charge(s), an offence against the administration of justice, such as a breach of bail conditions may still proceed even though the original charge has been resolved by way of a withdrawal or stay. The secondary offence, fail to attend, breach conditions, etc., are typically dealt with on a completely separate information–meaning, an accused person will likely have separate trials.
Example: You are charged with a simple assault and as part of the conditions of release, you are required to not communicate with the victim. You contact the victim and are then charged with fail to comply with undertaking. In this situation, you are entitled to have one trial for the the assault charge and a separate trial for the fail to comply charge–although it is possible for both charges to be heard together at one trial, it probably would not be in your best interest. Even if the assault charges are withdrawn, the Crown Attorney may still proceed on the charge of fail to comply.


What does it mean to “to be of good behaviour”?

The condition “to be of good behaviour” is limited in its application to conduct that is alleged to breach some criminal, federal, provincial or municipal law, and does not extend to conduct that, while lawful, violates some “community standard of behaviour expected of all peaceable citizens”. Fundamental principles of criminal law require that the proscribed behaviour be clearly defined.


Can I be convicted of breaching my bail conditions and probation conditions for the same offence?

Yes, an accused person may be convicted for both breach of a recognizance and breach of probation for the same act. Despite fundamental principles that suggest an accused cannot be punished twice for the same act, the two charges in this situation do not arise from the same cause or matter. A probation order is part of a sentence an accused receives for a previous offence, while a recognizance is part of ensuring the accused attendance at court.
Furthermore, an accused person can be convicted for breaching two separate recognizance orders by committing a single act. For example, an accused person may be released on bail for two separate sets of charges, or from two separate jurisdictions with the same conditions. As such, breaching a condition common to both bail orders would result in two charges for the same act.




Please note that this article is solely for informational purposes and should not be considered legal advice. In order to ensure the protection of your rights and interests, please consult a criminal defence lawyer prior to acting or relying upon any information.



Contact Farjoud Law 

If you or someone you care about has been charged with drug possession offence, it is in your best interests to speak directly to a criminal defence lawyer in North York, Toronto to find out your rights and get your questions answered. Call Farjoud Law now at (647) 606-6776 to speak with a criminal lawyer to discuss your matter. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Farjoud Law is located at 4950 Yonge Street, Suite 2200 in the neighbourhood of North York in Toronto, Ontario. Click here for directions to our law office.


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