Being released on your own recognizance means that you are allowed to be released from jail after you have been arrested without having to post bail. The reason why law enforcement allows this to happen is that you have essentially promised to show up to your court hearings. Often, this promise to appear in court for future proceedings comes in the form of a written statement which holds more weight in the legal world.
Released on your own recognizance is also referred to as R.O.R. or own recognizance release.
Your defense lawyer can officially request a R.O.R. at your arraignment or bail hearing. It is entirely up to the judge’s discretion as to whether or not you will be granted your own recognizance release.
How Do You Qualify?
There are instances of a judge handing out a R.O.R. in cases of minuscule misdemeanor charges, like a simple shoplifting case. This would happen even before a bail amount is set. To be eligible for this, you must:
- Not pose any threat to your local community
- Not pose any danger to the victims or witnesses involved with the accused crime
- Have no flight risk
- Have no prior criminal record
- Have good relations with your local community (maybe you personally know the law enforcement or judge)
Once a bail amount is set, there are still ways to qualify for being released on your own recognizance. You and your lawyer can state your case for a R.O.R. at the arraignment or bail hearing. You could argue for all these same reasons above but also for:
- Being trustworthy enough to appear for future court dates
- Being a responsible and upstanding citizen
- Being financially stable
- It is in the interest of criminal justice
- Having no history of violent behavior so you do not pose a threat to anyone
- Promising to keep your distance from any victims involved
A judge will grant your own recognizance release if you and your legal team can make a compelling case for any of these reasons. You will not be granted a recognizance release if you are facing severe charges (like for a felony case), have a lengthy criminal record, pose a significant threat to public safety, and cannot reasonably assure the court that you will return for future proceedings.
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What Are Some Conditions of Your Own Recognizance Release?
The type of crime that you are accused of will play a factor in whether or not you are granted your own recognizance release. A misdemeanor charge will make it easier for the judge to release you. A felony change makes it much more difficult since these crimes are much more serious in their nature.
After being approved for a recognizance release, there might be stipulations that come along with the R.O.R. (especially if it pertains to a pending felony case). Some of these conditions include:
- Attending a mental health treatment facility
- Attending an alcohol abuse treatment program
- Routinely checking in with the court or a third-party agency
- Wearing an electronic monitoring device (like a scram ankle monitor)
- Obeying a restraining order for the victim(s) involved
- Remaining under house arrest
Violating these conditions could result in further penalties like more jail time, higher fines, and prolonged parole/probation. Do not argue for a release on your own recognizance if you do not want to follow these stipulations.
What Happens if You Miss a Court Date?
Being released on your own recognizance hinges on your promise of returning to court for future hearings. It could spell disaster for your criminal record and for your trustworthiness as an upstanding citizen of your local community if you miss any court dates.
Once a court hearing is missed, the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. These warrants are issued to offenders who fail to appear in court, and it gives law enforcement power to arrest them anytime, anywhere.
Penalties for being found in contempt of court can include hefty fines, prolonged parole probation, and up to several years of jail time. There are no valid reasons for missing a court date. It would be wise to make it a top priority to show up for future proceedings.
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What Are California’s Laws Pertaining to R.O.R.?
The California court system allows for any offender to argue for a release of their own recognizance. This is unless the crime at hand is punishable by death, the release compromises public safety, and there is no reasonable assurance that the offender will return to court. Otherwise, the Golden State is pretty rewarding with its recognizance releases as compared to other states in the U.S.
Los Angeles county will only hold defendants on bail if the crime relates to violent felonies. Most often, a R.O.R. will be argued for at an arraignment or a bail hearing. In California, however, this depends on the crime that was committed.
Our state will actually have separate recognizance release hearings depending on if the crime violated California Penal Code 1319.5 or California Penal Code 1270.1. Holding a stand-alone recognizance release hearing is uncommon when compared to other states. The crimes listed under California Penal Code 1319.5 include:
- Violating California’s street gang laws
- Violating the state’s assault and battery laws
- Burglary of a residential home
- Violating the state’s domestic violence laws
- The unlawful firing of a weapon
- Causing bodily harm to another individual
The crimes listed under California Penal Code 1270.1 include:
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Witness intimidation
- Domestic battery
- Violation of a protective order
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What Happens After You Have Been Released on Your Own Recognizance?
You have just been released from jail without having to post a bond which must be a jubilant feeling. You might be left wondering what your next best move is since you still have charges against you.
The number one most important thing that you can do is show up to all court future court hearings. Otherwise, you will be found in contempt of court, which is certainly something you need to avoid.
It is also important to take this time to meet with your legal team and build the best defense in order to be found not guilty or, at the very least, have some of the penalties minimized. Simmrin Law Group can provide you with a whole array of experienced defense lawyers who are ready and equipped to fight for your case. Give us a call today for a free evaluation of your case.
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