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What it Means to Be Released on Your Own Recognizance After a DUI Arrest

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Being arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) can leave some stunned and horrified by the turn of events. No one intentionally sets out to get a DUI, after all. Those first few hours after an arrest will tell you a lot about what you might be facing going forward, particularly how the judge views your release circumstances. Read on to find out how you could be released without having to pay bail.

What Happens Next?

In some places, you will soon face an initial hearing known as an arraignment. Here, several important events will take place. First, you'll be informed of the charges and asked to enter a plea. You can plead either "guilty," "not guilty," or "no contest." At this point in your case, it's far too early to know how to plead anything other than "not guilty" and most defense lawyers advise their clients to do so. You can change your plea later on.

Then, they'll ask you about legal representation and offer you a public defender if you cannot afford an attorney. If you know you will be hiring a private attorney, let the judge know that. You can always change your mind about this issue later as well. Once you have legal representation, you'll be informed about bail. There are several ways the court system deals with releases and bail issues and it all comes down to your charges and your record.

Bail, No Bail, and Own Recognizance

There are DUI charges and then there are aggravated DUI charges. If you have been charged with more than a simple DUI misdemeanor, your chances of being released on bail may be low. Aggravated DUI charges can occur if there was more to the arrest, such as additional charges, an extraordinarily high blood alcohol concentration, a child in the car, and more. A felony DUI charge might be necessary if it's not your first DUI arrest and you were previously convicted. In some states, you may not be offered bail if you are charged with a felony or you might be burdened with very high bail.

On the other end of the spectrum are straightforward DUI charges with no accompanying circumstances. If you are a first-time DUI offender, you might be offered what is known as an own recognizance release. This type of release carries similar conditions as that of bail but without the need to pay money for your release. You must agree to return for future court appearances, not get arrested again (for any reason) before your trial, and keep in touch with court officials.

Talk to law firm services further about your DUI case, regardless of how you were released.