If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, you may wonder if there is a way to be released from jail without paying bail. In Virginia, this is possible through a process called personal recognizance.
You should retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you hope to be released from jail without paying bail. You must also know what to show to be released on personal recognizance in Virginia.
What Is Personal Recognizance in Virginia Criminal Cases?
Being released on personal recognizance is your best option if you are arrested. It would allow you to remain free until your trial date without paying bail, which you may not be able to afford. To convince the judge to agree to release you on personal recognizance, you must promise them that you will attend all court hearings and comply with any other conditions they set.
What Do You Need to Show to Be Released on Personal Recognizance?
In Virginia, you would have to attend a court hearing where the judge decides whether you can be set free while your criminal case is pending and ask them to release you on personal recognizance. The judge will consider these factors when considering your request:
- Whether you are charged with a minor crime. First, the judge will consider the nature of your crime and whether it is a minor, nonviolent offense, such as DUI. You would not be released on personal recognizance if you were accused of murder, rape, or another violent crime.
- Not a danger. The judge will also evaluate whether you are a danger to the public if you are released from jail without paying bail.
- Not a flight risk. Whether there is a danger that you will flee will be another determining factor in the judge’s decision. One way to show that you are not a flight risk is to present evidence that you have strong ties to the community, have a stable job, and do not have a history of failing to appear in court.
- No criminal record. The court would also review your criminal record. You are more likely to be released on personal recognizance if you have never been arrested.
If the judge grants your request, you must sign a statement agreeing to attend all court hearings and comply with any conditions of release that the court may impose.
What Happens if You Fail to Show Up in Court?
If you do not appear at a required court hearing, the court might issue a warrant for your arrest and revoke your personal recognizance release. You could also be charged with failure to appear, a separate offense punishable by fines and imprisonment.