Patterson Criminal Law Blog

Patterson Law’s criminal law blog is a blog commenting upon topics of interest related to Nova Scotia’s criminal justice system. We hope to address common questions, to help you in your search for answers and provide general information about the legal process.

What happens if I am arrested and the Police don’t let me go home?

Oct 12

Written by:
10/12/2018 1:16 PM  RssIcon

By Sarah White

If you are arrested on Criminal Charges, you could be remanded to a Provincial Correctional Facility pending the outcome of your application for bail. How can you get released if this happens?

Example Scenario


You are pulled over while driving home from the bar. Police allege that you were driving under the influence and had drugs in the car. You were subsequently charged with Impaired Driving and Possession of a Controlled Substance. You have never been arrested before! It’s Thursday night and the police are telling you that you will be “held for court”. You have to work tomorrow and are worried that you will lose your job.

The first thing you should do is ask the Police to speak to a lawyer. A lawyer will be able to give you specific advice. Sometimes a lawyer will be able to come to the police station and meet with you in person. A lawyer will be able to work behind the scenes and help begin preparation of a release plan so that you are not held in custody longer than is absolutely necessary.

If the police have told you that they will be holding you for Court, this means that you will spend the night either in a holding cell at the Police Station, or a Provincial facility.
The Police are required to bring you before a judge within 24 hours of your arrest to justify whether or not you can be held in jail for Court. Whether or not you will be released from custody will depend on your personal circumstances, your bail plan and the nature of the criminal allegations you are facing.

If you have never been arrested before, and the charges are less serious, then your chances of being released back into the community are better. If you have a lengthy record of criminal offences, or a history of breaching Court Orders in the past, your chances of securing pre-trial release are less. If the crime you are accused of is serious, or suggests you are a threat to others, this too will affect the conditions of your release and may prevent your release altogether.

In the scenario listed above, it is possible that you could be released very quickly if the Crown is not opposed. A lawyer will help negotiate any conditions that may be associated with your release. If the Crown is opposed to your release altogether, you will need a bail hearing. In a bail hearing, it is the Judge who will hear both sides and determine whether it is appropriate to order your pre-trial release. It is recommended that you speak to a lawyer before a bail hearing. If you are unsuccessful in securing your release at the bail hearing, you are not eligible to have another one. At that point, you would have to apply for a Bail Review Hearing in a higher Court. Securing quality legal assistance early in the process (before the initial bail hearing) is recommended.


Please note that this article is meant to provide information only and is not intended to confer legal advice or opinion. If you have any further questions please consult a lawyer. Please note as well that many of the statements are general principles which may vary on a case by case basis.