Get Out of Jail Free?

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Get Out of Jail Free? Yes.

Sometimes people are released “on their own recognizance,” or “O.R.” A defendant released O.R. must simply sign a promise to show up in court.  Then they are not required to post bail.

A defendant commonly requests release on his or her own recognizance at the first court appearance called the arraignment. If the judge denies the request, the defendant then asks for low bail.

It helps if the defendant has strong ties to a community so they are thought to be unlikely to flee. Factors that may convince a judge to grant an O.R. release include the following:

  • The defendant has family members – parents, a spouse, children –  living in the community.
  • The defendant has resided in the same community for many years.
  • The defendant has a steady job.
  • The defendant has little or no past criminal record
  • The defendant has been charged with previous crimes but has always appeared as required.