What Does It Mean to Be Released on Your Own Recognizance?

What Does It Mean to Be Released on Your Own Recognizance?

Own recognizance (OR) release allows a defendant to be released from custody without paying bail, so long as they agree to appear in court at their scheduled time. The judge ultimately decides whether OR release should be granted based on various factors such as the seriousness of the crime, prior criminal history, employment status, and ties to the community. Failing to appear in court if OR release is granted can lead to incarceration and other consequences. If OR release is not granted, the defendant would likely have to pay to get out of jail.

At Andy Callif Bail Bonds, we assist the people of Columbus and the surrounding areas in posting bail for pretrial release. Speak with a member of our team by contacting us at (614) 945-4334.

What Is Your Own Recognizance Release?

A defendant may be held in custody while their criminal case is pending. However, a judge may grant them pretrial release, allowing them to remain out of jail while they await trial.

In Ohio, judges are to impose the least restrictive measures to ensure that the defendant returns to court for required hearings. In some cases, that means the judge sets a financial bail. In others, it may be that the defendant is released on their own recognizance (OR).

Own recognizance release means that the defendant does not have to pay anything to get out of jail. Instead, they are let out on their promise to return to court.

How Does a Judge Decide Whether OR Release Should Be Granted?

Deciding whether own recognizance release should be granted is ultimately up to the judge. They'll consider factors such as the defendant's criminal record, relationship with family and community, occupation, plus the charge they're facing at the moment.

These considerations are made to determine whether the defendant might:

  • Not appear in court
  • Harm the victim, witnesses, or other members of the community
  • Obstruct justice

If the judge determines that the defendant will appear in court as required, they will grant release on the defendant's own recognizance.

What Consequences Are Associated with OR Release?

If a defendant is released on their own recognizance, they might have certain conditions placed on them. For instance, they might have travel restrictions, be ordered not to contact the victim, or be ordered to attend a drug or alcohol course.

The defendant will also be required to appear for future court hearings. Failing to show can result in serious consequences.

For example, if the offense the defendant was initially charged with was a felony, they will be charged with an additional fourth-degree felony, penalized by up to 18 months of imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $5,000. If the underlying crime were a misdemeanor, they would be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, carrying a jail term of not more than 180 days and/or a fine of not more than $1,000.

What Happens If OR Release Isn't Granted?

If a judge decides that releasing a defendant on their own recognizance is not an appropriate course, they will likely impose financial conditions of bail. In other words, the defendant would have to pay to get out of jail.

The judge will consider several factors, like the defendant's behavior and character, criminal history, and current obligations, to determine the bail amount.

What If the Bail Amount Is Too High?

Judges can't impose excessive bails that serve only as punishment. However, they can order amounts they deem necessary to ensure the defendant's return to court. These amounts can be high.

Unfortunately, many people find that bail is beyond their financial means. Still, resources are available to those in this situation. The defendant could reach out to a bail bond company for help. For a small, non-refundable fee, an agent will process paperwork and post bail on the defendant's behalf.

Reach Out for Reliable Service

If you need help bailing yourself or a loved one out of jail in Columbus, turn to Andy Callif Bail Bonds. We can guide you through the process and get you back home soon.

Call us at (614) 945-4334 or contact us online today.


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