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Released on Own Recognizance – What Is It & How Do You Qualify?

When a defendant is released from jail on their own recognizance (OR), it means the judge has allowed him or her to fight a criminal charge from outside of custody without the need to post a cash bail bond.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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Who Qualifies for an OR Release?

Judges may consider the following factors when determining whether a defendant's release on own recognizance is appropriate:

  • The severity of the charges
  • The defendant’s criminal record
  • The defendant’s ties to the community
  • The likelihood that the defendant will return to court
  • The defendant’s threat to public safety.

However, even if a defendant demonstrates that he or she will appear in court and are not a risk to the public, they are not guaranteed to be released.

Who is the Least Likely to be Granted a Pretrial Release?

The higher the bail amount set, the lower the probability of release. About 70% of defendants are able to secure release when bail is less than $5,000, but this percentage drops to 10% when bail is $100,000 or more. Murder defendants are the least likely to be released pre-trial.

Read Also: Colorado PR Bond Explained

What is the Most Common Form of Pretrial Release?

For serious offenses, bail is the most common type of pretrial release. Although pretrial release rates are generally low for serious crimes, those who are able to secure release tend to do so through bail.

What is Fail to Comply with Recognizance?

Failure to Comply (with Recognizance or Undertaking) is a commonly laid offense which typically results in jail time upon conviction. It is an offense against the Administration of Justice to violate a supervisory order imposed pending a criminal charge.

What is the Punishment for Failure to Appear After an OR Release?

Failure to appear after a release on own recognizance is punishable by a fine. Examples of OR statutes by state include:

  • California - Own recognizance release is governed by California Penal Code Sections 1270 and 1318 to 1320.
  • Texas - Own recognizance is governed by Articles 17.03, 17.04, and 15.17 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
  • Ohio - Own recognizance is governed by Ohio Revised Code Sections 2937.29 and 2937.99.

Should I Ask for an OR Release or Post Bail?

The main advantage of an OR release is that it keeps a defendant from having to post bail. Since bail can run into many thousands of dollars depending on the offense level, this can be extremely helpful to many defendants.

However, an OR release can prompt a court investigation. This may not always be in a defendant’s interest, as some may prefer to keep their arrest a secret. Others may want to prevent the court from uncovering information that it may not otherwise would have. In either case, posting bail may be a better option.

Also Read: Can Charges Be Dropped at an Arraignment?

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