If you are going to be a surety, you should be aware of the following:
- You should be aware of all of the charges on which the accused person is seeking bail.
- You should be aware of any other outstanding charges which the accused is facing.
- You should be aware of the particulars of any bail that the accused person is currently on, including a Promise to Appear, a Bail Undertaking or a Recognizance of Bail.
- You should know the dates on which the accused is required to make court attendances with respect to any charges which the accused is currently facing.
You should be aware of whether or not the accused has a previous criminal record and, if so, the particulars of the criminal record.
Responsibilities of a Surety
If you are going to be a surety, you must be aware that by being a surety, you are guaranteeing to the court that the accused will:
(a) come to court as required;
(b) obey all of the conditions of the bail; and
c) not commit any criminal offences while on bail.
Obligations of a Surety and Consequences of a Breach of the Bail
If you are going to be a surety, you must understand that you are promising to pay the full amount of the bail that you signed for if the accused does not attend court as required or if the accused does not comply strictly with the conditions of the bail or if the accused commits an offence while on bail.
You must understand that it is your responsibility as a surety to prevent any of those things from happening, but if they do happen, you will have to pay to the court the amount of money that you have pledged whether or not you supervised the accused to the best of your ability. What this means is that even if you did your best to prevent the accused from breaching the bail, you must pay the amount of money that you have pledged even if you immediately reported the breach to the police.
If there is a breach of the bail by the accused and a court orders you to pay the money and you cannot pay the money, you may have to go to jail.
If you are going to be a surety, you must understand that you will be required to sign a document called a Surety Caution which sets out that you understand all of your responsibilities and all of your obligations as a surety.
Withdrawing as a Surety
If you are going to be a surety, you must understand that the law allows you to stop being a surety at any time. The easiest way to stop being a surety is to attend at a police station and complete a Relief of Surety Form which means that the bail will be cancelled and a warrant will be issued for the arrest of the accused. You can also withdraw as a surety by applying to the court to be relieved of your obligations as a surety, or by bringing the accused to the court in which the accused is required to appear or by bringing the accused to any police station.