When you are arrested for an offense under Florida criminal law, one of your immediate concerns is how long you are going to be in jail until you are bailed out or until your court trial. In some cases, an offender may be released on his or her own recognizance, which is a release without bail because, in many cases, even for minor crimes, the bail necessary to get out of jail until your court date can be prohibitive.
Being released on your own recognizance comes with some conditions. You are not off the hook – you still have to show up to your court dates to face your charges, and if you are found guilty, it is possible you will do some jail time. However, when you are released, whether on bail or recognizance, you are able to continue living your life as the court proceedings continue.
How You Can Be Eligible for Release on Own Recognizance (O.R.)
A defendant signs a document that guarantees he or she will show up in court and is not required to post bail. Typically, a defendant can request to be released on his own recognizance at arraignment, the initial court appearance that takes place before the proceedings of any trial moves forward.
Whether or not a defendant can be released on his or her own recognizance depends on several factors, such as the following:
- If the defendant has strong ties to the community, such as nuclear family members (a spouse, parents or children);
- If the defendant has lived in the community for a long time and shows no threat of fleeing to escape charges;
- If the defendant is employed;
- If the defendant has little to no previous criminal record, or if the previous criminal acts were minor and took place many years prior; and
- If the defendant has been charged in the past and has always shown up at court upon requested.
An Attorney Can Help You Get O.R.
If you have been arrested for a criminal charge in Florida and any of the above conditions are applicable to the circumstances of your arrest, you may be eligible for release on your own recognizance. Contact one of the Fort Lauderdale defense lawyers on our hardworking criminal defense team for a consultation of your case, in which you will receive an evaluation that will help you determine what steps you need to take going forward so that you can put this business behind you and move on with your life.
An attorney understands the requirements under Florida criminal law and can articulate to the court that you are a reliable member of the community who will obey the dictums of the law, including and especially your obligation to show up on your scheduled court dates to face your charges. Also, by hiring an attorney, you have a better chance of receiving a fair trial and potentially having your charges dismissed or at least lessened.