An OR release in Los Angeles County has to do with somebody who has been taken into custody and instead of having to post a bail when they have a case and they have a court date to ensure their appearance, they are released on their own recognizance – and that's where the OR comes from.
There are a number of ways this can happen. One, there's actually a bail commissioner who can be appealed to while the person is in custody and before the sheriffs get them into court within two or three days.
Sometimes it's one day, believe it or not, depending on where they are and how busy the court system is. But, if they are released on their own recognizance by the bail commissioner and they get out, they'll get a notice to appear in court and they can appear without having to post a bail and lose any money.
Lawyer Arguing for OR Release in Court
Another way to get an OR release in Los Angeles County is to appear in court and your attorney can argue for it. Some of the factors a judge will consider as to whether or not to release you on your own recognizance is whether you have any criminal record or if you have any prior failures to appear in court or to see what the seriousness level of your case is.
In other words, for all criminal cases in LA County, there's a bail for them. The judges have come up for a bail. If there's not a bail for it, then basically, they'll look at what the highest sentence is the person can get and that will determine what the bail is.
So, every single case as a bail, but the judge doesn't have to put a bail on it. They can release the person on their own recognizance and just release them on their promise to appear in court. Now, there's new legislation that apparently has been passed. It is going to take effect in October 2019.
Elimination of Money Bail in California
The whole bail system is going to get knocked out and basically, people are either going to get detained where they can't get out by way of bail, or they will get released on some other conditions. But they're basically attempting to get rid of the bail system so bail bonds cannot make money any more in having people post bail.
So, unless somehow a proposition comes along in California to knock that out or some constitutional challenge is made to it, it's going to be the bail system and OR release will become much more important, because to me, if you get released with just a promise to appear that's an OR release and that's what criminal defendants want.
That way they don't have to pay thousands of dollars to a bond company and they can use their money for something else, like retaining a good lawyer. Because if comes down to between bail and a lawyer, obviously bail is just like putting a band aid on a bullet wound. It doesn't solve the problem, but hiring a lawyer can help you solve the problem.
Consult with a Lawyer Before Posting Bail
So, if you're trying to get an OR release, you're going to want to coordinate with an attorney and if you are a family member of somebody who has been taken into custody and you really don't want to pay thousands of dollars in bail, then you need to consult with an attorney because an attorney can give you an idea of whether there's any chance of a person being released on their own recognizance and saving you thousands of dollars in bail money.
Sometimes the attorney will say there's no chance. The crime's too serious. The person has too much of a criminal record. They have failures to appear – there's going to be some sort of a bail, and other times the attorney will be able to pretty definitively say, yes the person has a good chance of being released on their own recognizance, and then of course there's always that middle ground when considering whether someone will be released OR and that has to do with a number of different factors including the judge and the prosecutor.
If the prosecutor doesn't object to an OR release in LA County, then the person is going to get out on their own recognizance.
It's very rare that when the defense and prosecution agree on an OR release if the judge would not go along with that. But if the prosecutor vehemently argues against it and gives reasons why the person shouldn't get an OR release or released on their own recognizance, then the defense is going to have to argue back and ultimately the judge will decide.
Factors Considered By Judge in Deciding OR Release
The two key things in deciding whether someone is going to be released on their own recognizance or what their bail is going to be is whether that person is a flight risk and whether that person is a danger to the community.
The more dangerous, the more likely you are not to come back to court, the less likely it is that you'll get an OR release and the more likely it is that you'll get a high bail or in the new system which is coming up in about a year, assuming it goes through, the more likely you'll get detained on a case and won't be able to get out.
So, if you've got a situation or your loved one has a situation where you want to get released on your own recognizance, contact a criminal defense attorney. That's your first stop. Let the attorney advise you that. Let the attorney assist you in getting the OR release if you want the best likelihood of success.