If you have been charged with a crime, you may be concerned about whether you will be able to pay bond to get out of jail. People in this situation may be able to obtain a release on their own recognizance, which means that they can get bail without paying bond. A defendant will need to sign a written promise to show up at their scheduled court appearance. They still must be deemed eligible for bail by the judge, and they may need to meet specific requirements to stay out of jail. These may include refraining from certain activities or meeting with a probation officer. If you fail to comply with the requirements, you will be subject to arrest even though you were released without bond.
Seeking a Release on Your Own Recognizance
This evaluation is similar to the evaluation of whether bail should be set at a low amount. It lies within the discretion of the judge, so it can be challenging to predict whether a release on your own recognizance will be granted. The judge can consider any criminal history of the defendant, the severity of their charges, and any record of good behavior in the community. They also can take into account the strength of their ties to the area, such as a job or family members. If the defendant does not pose a threat to people in the community, they do not have a criminal record, and their crime did not involve violence, they are more likely to get a release on their own recognizance. Sometimes a judge will be persuaded if family members or representatives of the defendant’s employer appear in support of their request for release.
Bail algorithms have played an increasing role in guiding the decisions of judges. These are objective statistical programs that assess whether a defendant is likely to fail to appear or likely to commit another crime before their court date. They can produce a score or a recommendation. Bail algorithms may consider a more limited range of factors than a judge, but they are intended to promote consistency and eliminate bias. A defendant who receives a very favorable result from a bail algorithm may be more likely to get a release on their own recognizance. Read more here about how bail algorithms work.
Even if you are not able to obtain a release on your own recognizance, you may be able to convince the judge to lower bail so that you can pay bond more easily. You may want to retain an attorney to help you craft a strategy to persuade the judge, since local attorneys with some experience will be familiar with what a certain judge finds convincing.
Sometimes a jurisdiction will use an OR officer to conduct an investigation of a defendant’s background. The information in their report can help a judge determine the level of risk posed by releasing the defendant on their own recognizance. The officer can analyze all of the factors discussed above, talking to the defendant’s family members, coworkers, and friends, as well as other people in the community. Eventually, the OR officer will recommend granting or denying the defendant’s request for release. While the judge likely will place some weight on the recommendation of an OR officer, they are not required to follow it. Sometimes a defendant will be able to produce evidence that counters the findings of the OR officer, and the judge can take that evidence into account if they choose.