Getting arrested for DUI does not mean you will be convicted. Police misconduct, defective breathalyzers and crime lab mistakes may be enough to get your charges lessened or dismissed. Visit our page on Colorado DUI Laws to learn more.
OR release in Colorado – How to get out of jail without a bail bond
The best-case scenario following a Colorado arrest is being released from jail on a personal recognizance bond (PR bond), which means the defendant does not have to put up any bail bond money. Instead, the defendant just has to promise to show up to all future required court dates. PR release is also commonly called OR release, short for “own recognizance.”
How do I get OR release in Colorado?
Courts may automatically grant OR release in minor cases where the defendant is not a flight risk or a safety risk. But when the judge does set a bail amount, the defendant’s attorney can request a bail hearing to argue for OR release. Judges may be persuaded to reduce bail or grant an OR release if the defendant:
has no criminal history, or the last criminal case was long ago;
has ties to the community, such as leasing or owning a home and having family nearby;
has no history of missing court appearances; and
does not have a drug or alcohol addiction or mental health problems;
Often the only condition that accompanies OR release is that defendants must appear at future court dates (if required). But the judge may add other requirements. Ten possible conditions of OR release include:
Colorado defendants on OR release who then miss a required court date will have a bench warrant issued for their arrest. At this point, the defendant can be arrested at any time and hauled into court to answer to the judge.
In minor cases, police are unlikely to go out and search for defendants with a bench warrant. But if the defendant gets stopped for a traffic violation – and the police runs his/her name and sees an outstanding warrant – then the police will arrest the defendant immediately.
Once a bench warrant issues, the defendant’s attorney can file a motion to quash the warrant. Then the court will hold a hearing on the matter. If the defendant had a good excuse for missing court – such as being in the hospital – the judge may recall the warrant. Or if this is the first time the defendant missed court, the judge may give him/her a second chance.
But judges have the discretion to remand to jail any defendants who violate their OR release conditions. Sometimes these defendants can bail out. In other cases, they must be held in jail without bail pending the outcome of the underlying criminal case.2
If the judge sets bail, do I have to pay the entire amount?
In cases where a Colorado court sets bail, defendants can be released only if the court gets paid the full bail amount. And the court holds onto this money while the case is pending. Once the case ends, the court will return the bail money. (Note that when defendants violate their bail conditions, they may have to permanently forfeit their bond money.)
When defendants cannot afford bail, they may hire a bail bondsman. They pay the bondsman a small percentage of bail (10% to 15%), and the bondsman posts the entire bail amount. When the case ends, the court returns the money to the bondsman.
Note that each Colorado court has its own procedures for posting bail.3
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Michael Becker has over a quarter-century's worth of experience as an attorney and more than 100 trials under his belt. He is a sought-after legal commentator and is licensed to practice law in Colorado, Nevada, California, and Florida.