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If you are in a position where you have criminal charges pending and you are at large on a recognizance, it is common that you may need to have changes made to the terms.

You may attend at the Amherst Justice Center, 3rd Floor, 28 Church St, Amherst, NS Tel 902.667.2256 Fax 902.667.1108  and obtain an application form, or you may print off and use my form either, PDF file or an HTML file.

Click on the link:  form Application to Vary Recognizance  PDF

Click on the link:  form Application to Vary Recognizance  HTML

It will increase your chances of success if you provide the key information. If you require a change due to a new job or changes in your employment, a letter from your employer would be useful. The letter may be entitled, “To whom this may concern”.

If you have to change your residence, a letter confirming your reasons would be helpful. If your lease has been terminated by a landlord, any confirming documentation should be attached.

If you are seeking a change in a “No Contact” provision, you have to be very careful in how you proceed. If your recognizance prohibits any contact, direct or indirect with that person, in order for you to comply with your recognizance, your knowledge of the other person’s desire to have contact with you should have been initiated by that person and conveyed to you through a third-party.

It is not illegal for that person to contact you through a third-party, it is however illegal for you to respond in any way to that person whether it be direct or indirect.

It is very unlikely a judge will change the no contact provision without hearing from the person affected. You should ask that the court notify that person directly of the time for the hearing or that it be done by the office of the prosecutor. Again, you cannot have contact with that person unless there is an exception allowing you to contact the person through a lawyer or some other means.

You should bring your application to the Amherst Justice Centre and the clerk will assist you in arranging for a court date.  In Amherst, the prosecution office requires three business days notice so you have to allow for some notice time.

If your situation is urgent and you need an immediate hearing before the court, explain the circumstances to the court clerk and perhaps you can be accommodated.

Jim O'Neil, LL.B.

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