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Can I be arrested for violating my conditions of O.R. release?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Dec 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

Yes. Defendants in criminal cases who get released on their own recognizance (OR) may get arrested if they violate the terms of their release.

O.R. conditions

At a minimum, defendants released on OR are required to appear at future court hearings -- in other words, not skipping court. And if they do skip court, defendants are required to waive extradition if they are subsequently arrested outside of the state.

Some of the other conditions courts may impose on defendants released on OR include:

  • abstaining from alcohol and/or drugs (unless the drugs are medically prescribed);
  • wearing a SCRAM bracelet that detects alcohol;
  • taking unannounced chemical tests (blood, breath, or urine) to test for alcohol or drug use;
  • attending rehab or another treatment program;
  • avoiding contact with specific people, such as the victim(s) in the case;
  • avoiding going to specific places, such as the scene of the alleged crime or the home or office of the alleged victim(s);
  • wearing an electronic monitoring device as well as paying for all associated costs;
  • submitting to police searches, even if the police lack probable cause of criminal activity;
  • abiding by a curfew;
  • home detention (not leaving the defendant's residence except for court, school, work, medical appointments, or other obligations approved by the court);
  • regularly contacting a probation officer, such as after every court appearance; and
  • remaining in state for the duration of the case (unless given permission by the court to leave)

These conditions are not like a criminal sentence: The defendant has not been convicted of anything because the case is still ongoing. Instead, these conditions are meant to strike a balance between allowing the defendant to remain out of custody while protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the community.

If the court learns that a defendant has violated the terms of the OR release, then it will issue a bench warrant for the person's arrest. People with outstanding bench warrants may get arrested at any time, such as during a traffic stop.

O.R. violations in Nevada

Under NRS 178.4851, Nevada police are required to arrest defendants released on OR if they have probable cause to believe that the defendant has violated a condition of his/her release. The court may detain these defendants with or without bail.

And if the defendant is arrested outside of the jurisdiction where his/her criminal case is, the defendant has to reimburse the jurisdiction for any costs it incurred to bring the defendant back into the jurisdiction.

It always looks bad to judges when defendants violate the terms of their OR release, such as failing to appear at court in Nevada. Even though it has no bearing on whether the defendant is guilty or innocent of the underlying criminal charge, violating OR conditions cannot help but prejudice the judge and prosecutors against the defendant. For instance, it may deter prosecutors from giving the defendant a good plea deal.

Therefore, defendants who are lucky enough to get an OR release must try to "wear a halo" and be extremely careful not to do anything that defies court orders. Defendants who follow the rules tend to get better plea deals and better treatment by the court.

Learn more about getting own recognizance release in Nevada.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

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