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Release on Your Own Recognizance (OR) in Texas

What does release on your own recognizance (OR) mean exactly? It’s basically bail, but it doesn’t cost you anything; you can consider it free bail. When a criminal defendant is released on his or her own recognizance, they would have to make a promise in writing stating that they will appear in court whenever they are required to.

With OR, the defendant does not pay bail to a bail bondsmen or to the court. Aside from the fact that OR is no-cost bail, all other aspects are the same. The judge is inclined to set conditions of release as they would with someone who posted bail. Even though a defendant is released on OR, he or she will likely be ordered to:

  • Report to a probation officer
  • Stay away from drugs and alcohol
  • Not break any state or federal laws
  • Stay within a specified area
  • Show up to all court appearances as required

How are People Released on OR?

It’s at judges’ discretion whether or not to release people on OR. Generally, if the defendant is not perceived as a flight risk or a danger to the community, their chances of having a low bail or OR release are higher. The types of factors that motivate a judge to allow an OR release include: employment, a lack of a criminal record, a family to support, and being a longtime resident of the community.

In many jurisdictions, pretrial officers or OR officers assist judges in deciding if a defendant should be released on their own recognizance. In these cases, if a defendant asks the judge for OR release, the pretrial or OR officer may dig into the defendant’s background and look at their ties to the community to make a recommendation to the judge. To learn more about bond reduction or bail in Texas under Title 1, Chapter 17 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, click here.

For more information on OR release and for criminal defense representation, contact our firm to schedule a consultation!