What does released on own recognizance mean in a criminal trial?

When someone suspected of committing a crime in Massachusetts is arrested, they often have to go through the booking process as well. After this, the court can require bail money be paid before the defendant is released from prison, or the person can be released on their own recognizance. This means no bail is paid to the court and no bond is posted -- the person will return to court for their hearing, as they promise to do so in writing.

When deciding whether to release someone on their own recognizance, the court considers certain factors, including the suspect's criminal record, the severity of the crime charged, the danger posed to the public if the person is released and the person's ties to both the community and their family.

There can be some conditions attached to the release, depending on the nature of the charges. For example, the person can be prohibited from leaving the area while the charges are not resolved, or the person may need to make periodic visits to the court until it's settled. Similarly, someone charged with multiple driving under the influence charges may have to give up their vehicle and begin going to alcohol treatment classes in return for their release. Domestic violence offenders may have to begin domestic violence education classes immediately.

Conditions for the release should be reasonably related to the crime one has been charged with and the circumstances of the case. It is also important to know that that if any of the conditions are not fulfilled and the person is not in court when they are supposed to be, they may be subject to immediate arrest and the bail amount may be set very high as a result of their behavior.

Understanding the different options available to one to be released from prison pending one's trial is an important aspect of one's criminal defense, as it allows the person to play an active role in their criminal trial. A criminal defense attorney may be able to help those facing criminal charges ensure their rights are protected.

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