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What Does it Mean to Be Released on Your Own Recognizance?


If you are arrested for allegedly committing an offense, you may be put in jail until you make bail. Bail is an amount of money you pay the court to release you from custody. The purpose of it is to ensure you show up to your scheduled court date. In Nevada, they amount you must pay for jail release is listed on a schedule. However, a judge might decide to deny bail, meaning you must remain in custody until your hearing.

When determining whether or not you should be released on bail, the judge considers many factors, including your:

  • Past criminal record (if you have one)
  • Potential risk to society
  • Current criminal charges (what type of offense and how severe it was)

If the offense you allegedly committed was severe, you have a history of committing violent crimes, and you are likely to flee after being released, the judge may deny bail. However, if you committed a low-level offense and you aren’t a threat to the community, you could be ordered to pay less money for release from custody.

It is also possible to be let out of jail without paying any money. This is what is known as being released on your own recognizance (OR). If you get an OR release, you must sign a note stating that you promise to abide by the conditions and to show up to court when scheduled.

Requesting a Bail Hearing

To seek a release on your own recognizance, you must request a bail hearing with the court. During the proceedings, both the prosecutor and your defense attorney will put forward arguments, supported by evidence, as to why you should or shouldn’t get an OR release.

Before making a decision, the judge will consider various factors, such as your:

  • Family support obligations
  • Employment obligations
  • Residency in and ties to the community
  • Trustworthiness

If you are granted an OR release, you must agree to show up to court when scheduled (unless your defense attorney can appear for you), and you must adhere to specific terms.

Conditions of Bail Release

When you are released on bail, whether on your own recognizance or by paying money, the judge will order terms that you must follow until your scheduled to appear in court. The requirements you must adhere to depend on your specific circumstances.

Some conditions of bail include, but are not limited to:

  • Obeying laws
  • Refraining from drug and/or alcohol use
  • Staying away from the alleged victim
  • Keeping out of certain areas
  • Not possessing firearms
  • Not leaving the state or country

Consequences of Not Complying with Bail Conditions

If you are released on your own recognizance, and you miss a court date or fail to adhere to the specified terms, the judge can issue a bench warrant for your arrest. That doesn’t mean the cops will show up at your door to take you into custody. However, if you have any run-in with the law, such as being pulled over for a traffic offense, the police can arrest you.

You could also face additional charges for not complying with OR release conditions. For instance, if you don’t turn yourself in after a bench warrant has been issued, the prosecutor could charge you with failing to appeal. Under NRS 199.335, depending on your circumstances, this offense could be a misdemeanor or felony.

Facing Criminal Charges? Contact The Draskovich Law Group.

In our over 25 years of experience practicing law, we have handled a variety of criminal cases, including those involving drug crimes, violent crimes, and domestic violence. We know the court system and how to manage complex processes. Our attorneys are ready to provide the skilled legal advice and aggressive defense you need to protect your rights and freedom.

For a free consultation, call us at (702) 381-6590 or fill out an online contact form.