Bail and Own Recognizance (O.R.) Release

Bail must be set no higher than is reasonably necessary to ensure the defendant's appearance at future court proceedings. It is not intended as a means to prematurely punish those who have not been convicted of a crime. Notwithstanding, when determining the appropriate bail, the Court must assume that the facts alleged by the prosecutor, i.e. in the police report, are true. Still, any person who has been arrested for or charged with a non-capital offense is entitled to be released on his or her own recognizance unless the court makes a finding on the record in accordance with California Penal Code § 1275 that an "own recognizance" (O.R.) release will compromise public safety, or will not reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant as required. If such a finding is made, the court must set bail.

When can an accused get an O.R. release?

Oftentimes a skilled criminal attorney can secure the pre-trial release of an arrested defendant on his own recognizance, or promise to appear. In such cases, even where bail has been set by the arresting agency, the defendant is immediately released with no outlay of money and there is no need for any bail bond. Other times, a motion for reduction of bail or O.R. release can be made in court at arraignment, shortly after the arrest, or at other times during the pendency of the case, as appropriate.

Factors Used in Determining Pre-Trial Release

Two factors are at the heart of every bail review: risk of flight and risk of danger to the community. Making the motion for bail reduction or O.R. release serves both to secure the pre-trial release of the defendant, as well as to humanize him, as part of the overall defense strategy.

  • Flight Risk - Facts such as the defendant's substantial ties to the community, including how long and where he resides, works, or attends school, as well as family ties, his record of past court appearances and lack of prior failures to appear, all indicate that the defendant is not likely to jump bail and flee the jurisdiction. Moreover, retention of counsel is a further important indication that he intends to stay and answer to the charges. Courts recognize that the fact that someone who hires an attorney is less likely to flee.
  • Danger to the Community - Whether or not the defendant poses a risk to the safety of the community is less a question of the past history of the accused and more a question of the crime charged. Since the defendant is presumed guilty for the purposes of bail, violent crimes and multiple DUIs will concern a Court. In such cases, an offer of some additional conditions of release, like house arrest or AA meetings, are helpful to dispel the Court's fears.

Generally, the prosecutor need not be given any notice or opportunity to participate in a decision to grant an O.R. release. The exception to this rule is that before any person who is charged with certain specified felonies may be released on his own recognizance, the prosecutor must be given a two-court day notice and a hearing must be held in open court, at which the prosecutor is allowed to participate. Even in the most serious cases, however, there is no need to comply with the two-day notice requirement if the O.R. release motion is made at the defendant's arraignment, because it is reasoned that the prosecutor would already be prepared to address the issue.

Speak with an Orange County Defense Lawyer

A skilled Orange County criminal defense attorney can save a client tens of thousands of dollars and needless incarceration after an arrest.

Call the Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman when a loved one has been arrested and you need help preventing an unnecessarily high amount of bail