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When the police arrest you, they will generally then release you that day with documents telling you when you must next appear in court. However, it is possible for police to decide to hold you in custody until a bail hearing can be held. Generally, there will only be a bail hearing for more serious offences or where special circumstances exist (like an extensive criminal record or a breach of trust).

Typically, officers will give you paper documents when they release you. These documents tell you what you have to do next. There are 2 common kinds of release documents:

  • Form 9 – Appearance Notice
  • Form 10 – Promise to Appear

Appearance Notice

An appearance notice (Form 9) is a document police can give to you that releases you from their custody and tells you a little bit about the charge you are facing. An appearance notice will generally contain the following information:

  • Your name and address;
  • What you have been charged with;
  • Details about your first court date;
  • Details about whether or not you are expected to attend and provide fingerprints to police.

When you are issued an appearance notice, you are required at law to attend any dates on the document at court or a police station. Failure to attend can result in other charges being laid against you or a warrant being issued by a Justice of the Peace ordering your arrest.

Promise to Appear

A promise to appear (Form 10) is another document police may give to you after you have been charged to release you from their custody. Like the appearance notice, it will also contain:

  • Your name and address;
  • What you have been charged with;
  • Details about your first court date;
  • Details about whether or not you are expected to attend and provide fingerprints to police.

If you are issued a promise to appear, you will be required to sign the document and make a promise to attend the listed dates. If you do not sign and make these promises, the police will not release you.

There is one important distinction between a Promise to Appear and an Appearance Notice that makes a promise to appear more onerous on an accused person. They are usually in Form 11.1 – Undertakings given to a Police Officer or Office in Charge. This document will set out conditions you must comply with while you are living in the community. The conditions imposed under a Form 11.1 are similar to conditions imposed by a Justice of the Peace when you are released on bail.

An undertaking made to police officers is a promise to abide by the listed conditions at all times while your criminal proceedings are ongoing. Police may require you to agree to abide by certain conditions before they will release you.

When you sign an undertaking it marks your agreement to follow the conditions. If you breach these conditions there can be serious consequences, including additional criminal charges.

Police have a wide discretion to impose conditions under a Promise to Appear. Some examples of potential conditions include:

  • Inform police if you move;
  • Keep the peace;
  • Do not drink alcohol;
  • Inform police of any change in address, employment or job;
  • Do not consume drugs
  • Live at a court-approved address;
  • Curfew

In many cases the conditions you face may be specific to the charges you face. In almost all shoplifting cases, you would face a condition stating that you cannot enter the promises where the alleged shoplifting took place.

REMEMBER: It is important to keep track of the documents police give you after they arrest you. This will tell you what the next steps are and what you are obligated to do. Always bring these documents to your first meeting with counsel.