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Release after Arrest

Following an arrest and criminal charges, you may be released immediately, from the police station or following a court appearance.

Release by Police

If you are arrested without a warrant and the crime you are charged with is not murder or another very serious crime, the police will release you unless it is likely that:

  • you are not giving the police your correct name and address
  • you will not go to court on your court date
  • you will commit other crimes before your court date
  • you will try to get rid of evidence of the crime after they release you
  • you will threaten witnesses who may be giving evidence against you

If none of these apply the police must release you as soon as possible.

If you are arrested with a warrant and the crime you are charged with is not murder or a very serious offence, the police can also release you.

If the police decide to release you they will give you an Appearance Notice or ask you to sign an Undertaking. The police can also release you and later compel your appearance by serving a Summons on you. The Appearance Notice, or Undertaking will state what you have been charged with and include a date and time you must appear in court. In can include a date and time that you must appear for fingerprinting as well.

The Undertaking may contain conditions. Any conditions must be reasonable in the circumstances of the offence and be necessary to:

  • ensure that you appear in court when required
  • ensure the safety and security of any victim of or witness to the offence
  • prevent the continuation or repetition of the offence or the commission of another offence.

When the police impose conditions they need to use choose the least severe conditions needed for your case and consider how difficult it may be for you to comply with any conditions.

Conditions can include:

  • remaining in the area
  • notifying police of any change in address or employment
  • residing at a specified address
  • not communicating with certain people or going to certain places
  • reporting to the police
  • depositing your passport
  • not drinking or taking drugs
  • promising to pay up to $500 if you do not appear as required
  • not possessing any firearms

When making decisions about release the police must pay particular attention to the circumstances of an accused who is Indigenous or from a vulnerable population that is over-represented in the justice system.

Bail Hearings

If the police keep you in jail, you will get a bail hearing before a judge or a Justice of the Peace (JP). If a JP or judge is available the police must bring you before a one as soon as possible, and in any event, no later than 24 hours after your arrest. If a JP or judge is not available within 24 hours, the police must bring you before one “as soon as possible” (even if it is more than 24 hours later).

If you are being held by the police they can help you call what is called the Brydges Line. You will get legal advice over the phone. There is no cost for this service and it is available for anyone being held by the police.

More information about bail hearings is available here.

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PLEA gratefully acknowledges our primary core funder the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan for their continuing and generous support of our organization.