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What does it mean to be released on recognizance?

If a law enforcement officer arrests you, you may get a release on recognizance prior to your trial. This means that you can leave jail based on your own level of trustworthiness, and do not have to pay bail.

Here is some of what it means to receive a release on recognizance in Virginia.

A prosecutor may make a statement

To get a release on recognizance, you often have to display that you have good reasons to come to your court date. Signs that you are reliable enough to do so include having steady local employment, being well-known in a community, or having a prosecutor recommend you for recognizance. People with no prior criminal record, or those who are only accused of minor crimes, are good candidates for this release.

You will sign a document

Prior to a release on recognizance, you will sign a statement saying that you will return to appear in court on a specified date. Depending on what your charges are, you may have to agree to other terms and conditions as well, such as not leaving the state of Virginia before you appear in court.

You must appear in court

Being released on recognizance still means that you have pending criminal charges. You must still appear in court for sentencing. Failing to appear for your court date comes with harsh penalties.

These are some things to expect if you get a release on recognizance. Knowing what to do will make the process go more smoothly for all involved.

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