O.R. Release: Nevada's "Own Recognizance" Laws
(Explained by Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys)

Nevada bail rules permit people arrested for certain offenses to be released on their "own recognizance" without paying anything. But if they fail to show up to future court appearances in their case, they risk getting a Nevada bench warrant and charges for the Nevada crime of failure to appear.

In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about own recognizance release in Nevada. Click on a topic below to learn more.

  1. What is OR release in Nevada?
  2. How do I get OR release in Nevada?
  3. What are the rules of OR release in Nevada?
  4. What are the alternatives to OR release in Nevada?
  5. What if I get released on my OR and miss a court appearance in Nevada?
Bail_20hearing
O.R. release permits an arrestee to leave custody without paying bail.

1) What is "own recognizance" release in Nevada?

Own recognizance release (OR Release) in Nevada is when a judge permits a person who has been arrested for a crime to be released from jail without paying bail. But there's a condition...the defendant promises to appear at all all future court appearances in his/her case. Note that if the defendant hires a defense attorney, this attorney may be able to appear on the defendant's behalf for some of those court hearings.1

2) How do I get "own recognizance" release in Nevada?

In minor criminal cases involving low-level Nevada misdemeanors, the judge may automatically grant the defendant OR release. Otherwise, the defendant or defense attorney can request OR release during a Nevada bail hearing. Bail hearings are when the defendant or defense attorney tries to convince the judge to lighten the terms of release. Some arguments the defense may present include the following:

Judge's_gavel-optimized
Nevada bail hearings are where defendants may request OR release.
  • The defendant is trustworthy enough to show up to future court dates,
  • The defendant is not a flight risk,
  • The defendant is a responsible citizen,
  • The defendant has contributed to the community,
  • The defendant has family ties in the community,
  • The defendant has professional ties in the community,
  • The defendant is non-violent,
  • The defendant will keep his/her distance from any victims in his/her case,
  • The defendant has no or negligible criminal history,
  • The defendant is financially solvent, and/or
  • The criminal charges are minor enough to justify an OR release

Bail hearings can occur anytime during a criminal case while the defendant is incarcerated. Often the defense attorney requests a spontaneous bail hearing during another court appearance such as the 72-hour hearing in Nevada (which typically includes the Nevada arraignment). In more complicated cases, attorneys may request a special court hearing devoted solely to the question of granting OR. Depending on the case, bail hearings can last a few minutes to several hours.

3) What are the rules of "own recognizance" release in Nevada?

The main rule of OR release is that the defendant agrees to come to court for all future court hearings on his/her case. At certain court hearings, the defendant's attorney may appear in the OR-ed defendant's place. But depending on the specifics of the case, the judge may impose other terms, such as:

  • a non-contact order with any victims in the case,
  • an order to stay away from certain areas of town, and/or
  • an order to stay in the country or not travel out of state

4) What are the alternatives to "own recognizance" release in Nevada?

Bail
Lowering bail is the next best alternative to OR release in Nevada.

OR release is the best-case scenario for defendants facing criminal charges because it allows the defendant to escape incarceration without paying bail. The next best option is for the judge to set bail, which allows the defendant to leave jail as long as he/she can pay up. If bail is too high for the defendant to afford, bail hearings are the time to ask the judge to reduce it.

The worst-case scenario is that the judge orders the defendant to remain jailed pending the outcome of the case with no opportunity of bailing out. This usually occurs in more serious cases involving Nevada homicide crimes, substantial white-collar offenses, large scale Nevada drug crimes, or where the defendant is a flight risk.

5) What if I get released on my "own recognizance" in Nevada and miss a court appearance?

When an OR-ed defendant in Nevada misses a court appearance he/she (or defense counsel) was required to go to, the judge will issue a bench warrant for the defendant's arrest. This means the defendant will get arrested if he/she is ever pulled over by police and they see that he/she has an active warrant. In some cases police go out searching for defendants with bench warrants, but this usually only happens if the defendant is facing serious Nevada felony charges.

If thirty (30) days pass following the issuance of a bench warrant and the defendant has not surrendered him/herself, the D.A. may press the additional charge of failure to appear. The penalties range from fines to several years in jail depending on what the defendant was originally charged with and whether he/she fled to Nevada to avoid prosecution:

  • Failing to appear on a misdemeanor case in Nevada carries misdemeanor penalties of up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
  • Failing to appear on a Nevada gross misdemeanor charge carries gross misdemeanor penalties of up to 364 days in jail and/or up to $2,000 in fines.
  • Failing to appear on a felony charge carries category D felony in Nevada penalties of 1 to 4 years in Nevada State Prison and maybe up to $5,000 in fines.

But if the defendant fled Nevada in order to escape prosecution, then he/she automatically faces 1 to 4 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines even if his/her original charge was minor.2

Judges may grant probation in lieu of jail for failure to appear. But predictably, Nevada judges will probably never grant OR release again to defendants who failed to appear in court unless it was for a very good reason that was not his/her fault.

Arrested? Call an attorney...

Rx-call-help4-optimized
Call 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a criminal defense attorney.

If you or a loved one has been arrested in Nevada, it may be possible to get released on your "own recognizance" (O.R.). You pay no bail and can remain out of jail as long as you show up to court when necessary. Call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a FREE consultation. For information about California laws for O.R. release, see our article on California laws for O.R. release.

Legal References:

1 NRS 178.484 Right to bail before conviction; exceptions; imposition of conditions; arrest for violation of condition.

      1. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person arrested for an offense other than murder of the first degree must be admitted to bail.

      2. A person arrested for a felony who has been released on probation or parole for a different offense must not be admitted to bail unless:

      (a) A court issues an order directing that the person be admitted to bail;

      (b) The State Board of Parole Commissioners directs the detention facility to admit the person to bail; or

      (c) The Division of Parole and Probation of the Department of Public Safety directs the detention facility to admit the person to bail.

      3. A person arrested for a felony whose sentence has been suspended pursuant to NRS 4.373 or 5.055 for a different offense or who has been sentenced to a term of residential confinement pursuant to NRS 4.3762 or 5.076 for a different offense must not be admitted to bail unless:

      (a) A court issues an order directing that the person be admitted to bail; or

      (b) A department of alternative sentencing directs the detention facility to admit the person to bail.

      4. A person arrested for murder of the first degree may be admitted to bail unless the proof is evident or the presumption great by any competent court or magistrate authorized by law to do so in the exercise of discretion, giving due weight to the evidence and to the nature and circumstances of the offense.

      5. A person arrested for a violation of NRS 484C.110, 484C.120, 484C.130, 484C.430, 488.410, 488.420 or 488.425 who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor must not be admitted to bail or released on the person's own recognizance unless the person has a concentration of alcohol of less than 0.04 in his or her breath. A test of the person's breath pursuant to this subsection to determine the concentration of alcohol in his or her breath as a condition of admission to bail or release is not admissible as evidence against the person.

      6. A person arrested for a violation of NRS 484C.110, 484C.120, 484C.130, 484C.430, 488.410, 488.420 or 488.425 who is under the influence of a controlled substance, is under the combined influence of intoxicating liquor and a controlled substance, or inhales, ingests, applies or otherwise uses any chemical, poison or organic solvent, or any compound or combination of any of these, to a degree which renders the person incapable of safely driving or exercising actual physical control of a vehicle or vessel under power or sail must not be admitted to bail or released on the person's own recognizance sooner than 12 hours after arrest.

      7. A person arrested for a battery that constitutes domestic violence pursuant to NRS 33.018 must not be admitted to bail sooner than 12 hours after arrest. If the person is admitted to bail more than 12 hours after arrest, without appearing personally before a magistrate or without the amount of bail having been otherwise set by a magistrate or a court, the amount of bail must be:

      (a) Three thousand dollars, if the person has no previous convictions of battery that constitute domestic violence pursuant to NRS 33.018 and there is no reason to believe that the battery for which the person has been arrested resulted in substantial bodily harm or was committed by strangulation;

      (b) Five thousand dollars, if the person has:

             (1) No previous convictions of battery that constitute domestic violence pursuant to NRS 33.018, but there is reason to believe that the battery for which the person has been arrested resulted in substantial bodily harm or was committed by strangulation; or

             (2) One previous conviction of battery that constitutes domestic violence pursuant to NRS 33.018, but there is no reason to believe that the battery for which the person has been arrested resulted in substantial bodily harm or was committed by strangulation; or

      (c) Fifteen thousand dollars, if the person has:

             (1) One previous conviction of battery that constitutes domestic violence pursuant to NRS 33.018 and there is reason to believe that the battery for which the person has been arrested resulted in substantial bodily harm or was committed by strangulation; or

             (2) Two or more previous convictions of battery that constitute domestic violence pursuant to NRS 33.018.

--> The provisions of this subsection do not affect the authority of a magistrate or a court to set the amount of bail when the person personally appears before the magistrate or the court, or when a magistrate or a court has otherwise been contacted to set the amount of bail. For the purposes of this subsection, a person shall be deemed to have a previous conviction of battery that constitutes domestic violence pursuant to NRS 33.018 if the person has been convicted of such an offense in this State or has been convicted of violating a law of any other jurisdiction that prohibits the same or similar conduct.

      8. A person arrested for violating a temporary or extended order for protection against domestic violence issued pursuant to NRS 33.017 to 33.100, inclusive, or for violating a restraining order or injunction that is in the nature of a temporary or extended order for protection against domestic violence issued in an action or proceeding brought pursuant to title 11 of NRS, or for violating a temporary or extended order for protection against stalking, aggravated stalking or harassment issued pursuant to NRS 200.591, or for violating a temporary or extended order for protection against sexual assault pursuant to NRS 200.378 must not be admitted to bail sooner than 12 hours after arrest if:

      (a) The arresting officer determines that such a violation is accompanied by a direct or indirect threat of harm;

      (b) The person has previously violated a temporary or extended order for protection of the type for which the person has been arrested; or

      (c) At the time of the violation or within 2 hours after the violation, the person has:

             (1) A concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in the person's blood or breath; or

             (2) An amount of a prohibited substance in the person's blood or urine that is equal to or greater than the amount set forth in subsection 3 of NRS 484C.110.

      9. If a person is admitted to bail more than 12 hours after arrest, pursuant to subsection 8, without appearing personally before a magistrate or without the amount of bail having been otherwise set by a magistrate or a court, the amount of bail must be:

      (a) Three thousand dollars, if the person has no previous convictions of violating a temporary or extended order for protection against domestic violence issued pursuant to NRS 33.017 to 33.100, inclusive, or of violating a restraining order or injunction that is in the nature of a temporary or extended order for protection against domestic violence issued in an action or proceeding brought pursuant to title 11 of NRS, or of violating a temporary or extended order for protection against stalking, aggravated stalking or harassment issued pursuant to NRS 200.591, or of violating a temporary or extended order for protection against sexual assault pursuant to NRS 200.378;

      (b) Five thousand dollars, if the person has one previous conviction of violating a temporary or extended order for protection against domestic violence issued pursuant to NRS 33.017 to 33.100, inclusive, or of violating a restraining order or injunction that is in the nature of a temporary or extended order for protection against domestic violence issued in an action or proceeding brought pursuant to title 11 of NRS, or of violating a temporary or extended order for protection against stalking, aggravated stalking or harassment issued pursuant to NRS 200.591, or of violating a temporary or extended order for protection against sexual assault pursuant to NRS 200.378; or

      (c) Fifteen thousand dollars, if the person has two or more previous convictions of violating a temporary or extended order for protection against domestic violence issued pursuant to NRS 33.017 to 33.100, inclusive, or of violating a restraining order or injunction that is in the nature of a temporary or extended order for protection against domestic violence issued in an action or proceeding brought pursuant to title 11 of NRS, or of violating a temporary or extended order for protection against stalking, aggravated stalking or harassment issued pursuant to NRS 200.591, or of violating a temporary or extended order for protection against sexual assault pursuant to NRS 200.378.

--> The provisions of this subsection do not affect the authority of a magistrate or a court to set the amount of bail when the person personally appears before the magistrate or the court or when a magistrate or a court has otherwise been contacted to set the amount of bail. For the purposes of this subsection, a person shall be deemed to have a previous conviction of violating a temporary or extended order for protection against domestic violence issued pursuant to NRS 33.017 to 33.100, inclusive, or of violating a restraining order or injunction that is in the nature of a temporary or extended order for protection against domestic violence issued in an action or proceeding brought pursuant to title 11 of NRS, or of violating a temporary or extended order for protection against stalking, aggravated stalking or harassment issued pursuant to NRS 200.591, or of violating a temporary or extended order for protection against sexual assault pursuant to NRS 200.378, if the person has been convicted of such an offense in this State or has been convicted of violating a law of any other jurisdiction that prohibits the same or similar conduct.

      10. The court may, before releasing a person arrested for an offense punishable as a felony, require the surrender to the court of any passport the person possesses.

      11. Before releasing a person arrested for any crime, the court may impose such reasonable conditions on the person as it deems necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community and to ensure that the person will appear at all times and places ordered by the court, including, without limitation:

      (a) Requiring the person to remain in this State or a certain county within this State;

      (b) Prohibiting the person from contacting or attempting to contact a specific person or from causing or attempting to cause another person to contact that person on the person's behalf;

      (c) Prohibiting the person from entering a certain geographic area; or

      (d) Prohibiting the person from engaging in specific conduct that may be harmful to the person's own health, safety or welfare, or the health, safety or welfare of another person.

--> In determining whether a condition is reasonable, the court shall consider the factors listed in NRS 178.4853.

      12. If a person fails to comply with a condition imposed pursuant to subsection 11, the court may, after providing the person with reasonable notice and an opportunity for a hearing:

      (a) Deem such conduct a contempt pursuant to NRS 22.010; or

      (b) Increase the amount of bail pursuant to NRS 178.499.

      13. An order issued pursuant to this section that imposes a condition on a person admitted to bail must include a provision ordering any law enforcement officer to arrest the person if the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has violated a condition of bail.

      14. Before a person may be admitted to bail, the person must sign a document stating that:

      (a) The person will appear at all times and places as ordered by the court releasing the person and as ordered by any court before which the charge is subsequently heard;

      (b) The person will comply with the other conditions which have been imposed by the court and are stated in the document; and

      (c) If the person fails to appear when so ordered and is taken into custody outside of this State, the person waives all rights relating to extradition proceedings.

--> The signed document must be filed with the clerk of the court of competent jurisdiction as soon as practicable, but in no event later than the next business day.

      15. If a person admitted to bail fails to appear as ordered by a court and the jurisdiction incurs any cost in returning the person to the jurisdiction to stand trial, the person who failed to appear is responsible for paying those costs as restitution.

      16. For the purposes of subsections 8 and 9, an order or injunction is in the nature of a temporary or extended order for protection against domestic violence if it grants relief that might be given in a temporary or extended order issued pursuant to NRS 33.017 to 33.100, inclusive.

      17. As used in this section, “strangulation” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 200.481.

2 NRS 199.335 Failure to appear after admission to bail or release without bail.

      1. If a person:

      (a) Is admitted to bail, whether provided by deposit or surety, or released without bail;

      (b) Is not recommitted to custody; and

      (c) Fails to appear at the time and place required by the order admitting him or her to bail or releasing him or her without bail, or any modification thereof,

Ê the person is guilty of failing to appear and shall be punished pursuant to the provisions of this section, unless the person surrenders himself or herself not later than 30 days after the date on which the person was required to appear.

      2. If a person who fails to appear in violation of subsection 1 was admitted to bail or released without bail incident to prosecution for:

      (a) One or more felonies, the person is guilty of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.

      (b) One or more gross misdemeanors but no felonies, the person is guilty of:

             (1) A gross misdemeanor; or

             (2) If the person left this State with the intent to avoid prosecution, a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.

      (c) One or more misdemeanors but no felonies or gross misdemeanors, the person is guilty of:

             (1) A misdemeanor; or

             (2) If the person left this State with the intent to avoid prosecution, a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.

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