Failing to appear and breach of bail or probationary conditions are very commonly charged offences in Alberta. Penalties can range from probation and fines to varying lengths in jail.
Convictions on even one or two of these charges can quickly result in individuals being denied bail when charged with additional criminal offences in the future. This indicates that the Court cannot depend on an offender’s promise to appear in court or comply with court orders.
Common Charges Related to Breach of Probation
The area of breach of probation law includes the following possible charges:
- Failure to appear in court
- Escape of lawful custody
- Obstruction of justice
- Obstruction of the police
- Resisting arrest
- Assaulting an officer of the peace
Consequences of Failure to Appear and Breach of Probation
- Failure to appear – maximum 2 years in jail (indictable offence) or 6 months in jail (summary conviction).
- Breach of probation – maximum 18 months in jail plus $5,000 fine (summary conviction) or 4 years in jail (indictable offence)
Frequently Asked Questions About Failure to Appear/Breach of Probation Charges in Alberta
1. Can I be convicted of failing to appear if I forgot my court date?
Yes, you can. Even if you forget your court date, failing to appear at court when you are required to can lead to a conviction. You must have a lawful excuse for not attending court which requires that you establish due diligence on your part.
2. I missed my court date. What happens now?
If you fail to appear in court, the judge will likely issue a warrant for your arrest and adjourn the case until the following day – of which you will be required to attend.
You could be arrested if the police find you before that day or you could be arrested and charged at the courthouse.
3. How long do probation orders last?
Probation orders in Canada cannot last longer than three years and cannot run consecutively (although they can run concurrently, or at the same time). For example, if you are on probation for two crimes, the terms of the probation for each crime would be in effect at the same time, not back-to-back.
4. What happens if I break the terms of my probation?
In Canada, breaking your probation rules is not considered a criminal offence – but it is an Offence Against the Administration of Justice and still a serious matter. It can lead to jail time and a criminal charge.
You’ve Failed to Appear in Court or Have Breached Your Probation – Time To Call a Lawyer
It is important that you get legal advice from our criminal lawyers when dealing with these charges. There are numerous, and sometimes quite technical, defences we can use to protect your rights.
DDSG Criminal Law has a number of expert lawyers with years of experience in this area. Contact us today to learn more.