What is a PR bond in Colorado?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Aug 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

A PR bond is when a person who has been arrested in Colorado gets released on his or her "own recognizance" without having to pay any money.

Different types of bonds in Colorado

After a person (the "defendant") gets arrested on suspicion of a crime, the police will book him or her at the station and hold him or her until a judge reviews the case.

In the least serious cases, the judge may agree to grant a PR bond and release the defendant without requiring him or her to put up any money at all. The defendant just has to sign the bond paperwork promising to appear at all future court appearances when required. This is also called a "signature bond", "no cost bail," or OR ("own recognizance") release.

In the most serious cases -- such as those involving homicide or rape -- the judge may not grant bail at all and order that the defendant remain in jail pending the outcome of the case.

In all other cases -- and where the defendant is not a flight risk or violent -- the judge may set a bail amount. Colorado counts on CPAT (Colorado Pretrial Assessment Tool) to help determine whether a defendant should be granted bail. Some of these factors include whether the defendant either:

  1. has a phone
  2. owns or rents a residence
  3. contributes to residential payments
  4. has current or past alcohol problems
  5. has past or current mental health treatment
  6. has a past prison sentence
  7. has active arrest warrants
  8. has other pending cases
  9. is currently on supervision
  10. has a history of revoked bond or supervision
  11. was arrested before, and at what age

Defendants who score Level 1 have the lowest risk of reoffending while out on bail, while defendants who score Level 4 have the highest.

If the judge sets bail and the defendant can pay -- or a bail bondsman puts up the money -- then he/she may be released pending the outcome of the case. But if the defendant cannot pay the bail amount, then he or she must remain in jail pending the outcome of the case.

Note that people released on bail may still be required to abide by various conditions. Examples include:

  • electronic monitoring in Colorado
  • checking in with the court by phone or in person
  • allowing court officers into the defendant's home to check in on him/her
  • drug testing
  • counseling (such as for domestic violence)
  • rehab (such as AA or NA)
  • pretrial work release

How PR bonds work in Colorado

Sometimes judges grant PR bonds right away. Other times, the defendant's attorney has to ask for it and argue to the judge why it would be appropriate. The defense attorney can even schedule a special Colorado bail hearing to argue for lesser bail or a PR bond.

If a judge agrees to let a defendant free on PR bond, there is always one key condition: That the defendant show up at all future mandatory court appearances. If the defendant fails to appear in court when required, the judge can issue a warrant and hold the defendant in custody pending the outcome of the criminal case.

Depending on the case, the judge may grant a PR bond with "non-monetary conditions." Examples may include:

  • avoiding contact with certain people (like the alleged victim in the case)
  • avoiding certain locations
  • surrendering firearms
  • staying in the state

PR bonds are standard for minor traffic offenses or other low-level crimes.

Learn more about bonds in Colorado criminal cases.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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