Here’s What You Must Know About Peace Bonds and Restraining Orders in 2019
Restraining Orders and peace bonds are orders that can be imposed by the courts to ensure the community’s safety by ordering that the person on whom it is imposed must abide by whatever conditions are contained in the Order.
The main difference between Restraining Orders and peace bonds is this:
Restraining Orders are issued only by the Family Courts in domestic contexts, i.e. during the breakdown of a marriage or intimate partner relationship. In Ontario, under the Family Law Act, you can get a Restraining Order against a person that you are or were married to, or against a partner that you are or were living with. It does not matter how long you lived with the other person. Under other family law legislation, it may be possible to get a Restraining Order against a family member or other individual you have lived with, especially if you are concerned for the safety of your children.
Peace bonds are issued by the Criminal Courts and can also be imposed in both domestic and non-domestic contexts. In other words, if you feel threatened by someone that you are not living with or have never lived with, you can apply for a peace bond or, if you feel threated by someone you are living with but do not wish to separate or end the relationship, you can apply for a peace bond.
While it is not mandatory that you have a lawyer to get a peace bond or restraining order, it is advisable. And it is even more advisable if someone is seeking to have one imposed on you. If you or your loved one is embroiled in this type of situation, a criminal defense lawyer in Toronto can provide the timely legal intervention you need.
Peace bonds are not aimed at identifying guilt but, rather, serve to prevent a potential crime. There are two types of Peace Bonds that a Criminal Court can impose:
- Common Law peace bonds
- Section 810 peace bonds
For how long is a peace bond valid?
Section 810 peace bonds are valid for up to one year but can be applied each time the old one expires. Common Law peace bonds are usually valid for one year but, technically, and be imposed for any length of time.
What is a Section 810 peace bond?
A Section 810 peace bond does not require proof that an actual crime has been committed. They are issued when the Court has reasonable grounds to believe that another person:
will cause personal injury to him/her or to his/her spouse, common-law partner or child, or will damage his/property; or
will commit an offense under section 162.1, which is the offense of publishing, transmitting, etc. intimate images of another without their consent.
What is a Common Law peace bond?
Like a Section 810 peace bond, a Common Law bond does not require proof that a crime had been committed. In fact, they can be imposed by the Court even when someone has been found not guilty of a crime. They have a much broader scope than Section 810 peace bonds because Common Law peace bonds can be imposed in any circumstances where the Court had has a reasonable basis to believe that it is necessary to maintain the peace and security of the community.
Penalties for Breaching a Peace Bond?
The consequences of breaching a peace bond depend on the type of peace bond that was imposed. If you breach a Common Law peace bond (or a Restraining Order), you can be charged with Disobeying a Court Order under Section 127 of the Criminal Code. If convicted, you could be sentenced up to two years in jail if the Crown proceeds by indictment.
Can I travel with a Peace Bond?
If a peace bond had been issued against you, traveling and finding employment can become a hindrance for them. For instance, one of the terms of the bond could prevent you from working with “vulnerable persons” (meaning children, elderly, disabled, sick). Also, traveling to foreign countries can be more difficult depending on that country’s immigration laws.
For more information in regards to Restraining Orders, consult a family law lawyer.
Peace Bonds vs Restraining Orders – Which is Right For You
|Peace Bond||Restraining Order|
|Type of Court||Criminal Court||Family Law Court|
|Type of Threat||Covers safety of person and property and also intimate images||Covers personal safety of person in a domestic context only|
|Duration Issued||12 months (will need to be renewed)||Varies from a few days to being permanent|
|Relation||Can be issued against anyone
(neighbour / colleague / spouse / child)
|A domestic partner (i.e. someone that you currently or used to live with)|
|How to Apply||Contact the police and/or a lawyer||Contact the police and/or a family law lawyer|
|Breaking the Terms||Criminal charges under either Section 127 or 811 of the Criminal Code||Criminal charges under Section 127 of the Criminal Code|
Obtaining or Defending Against a Restraining Order/Peace Bond is a Sensitive Matter
Leave it to a Lawyer You Can Trust!
John Erickson is an established criminal defense lawyer in Toronto with nearly 20 years of experience at all levels of the court system; whether you need to consult a lawyer to obtain a peace bond or whether an individual has applied for one against you, John Erickson can help.
Timely legal intervention is crucial! Contact us without delay.