For a defendant to be released without bond, or on their Own Recognizance (aka: ‘OR”) or Supervised Own Recognizance (aka: ‘SOR’) from jail while awaiting trial in Florida, he or she has been accused of a misdemeanor crime or violation that is not a capital offense (i.e. first-degree murder; murder with special circumstances; rape with additional bodily harm or the federal crime of treason; or a felony punishable by life imprisonment where the “proof of guilt is evident, or the presumption is great”).
In Florida, the accused requesting to be released merely on their Own Recognizance or Supervised Release (SOR) must meet the requirements listed on The 2019 Florida Statutes 907.041 for Pretrial Detention and Release.
The statutes specify that defendants who qualify have not been arrested for any type of dangerous crime, such as:
- Abuse of an Elderly Person or Disabled Adult
- Acts of Domestic Violence
- Acts of Terrorism
- Aggravated Assault
- Aggravated Battery
- Burglary of a Dwelling
- Child Abuse or Aggravated Child Abuse
- Aircraft Piracy
- Lewd, Lascivious or Indecent Assault Upon or in the Presence of a Child Under the Age of 16 Years
- Manufacturing Controlled Substances
- Sexual Activity with a Child 12 Years of Age or Older But Less than 18
- Sexual Battery
- Stalking and Aggravated Stalking
Although the above requirements are listed according to the statute, a long list of Florida pretrial defendants have been released on OR and SOR who are not eligible according to the statutes. Violent offenders are released daily, including domestic abuse cases where victims are greatly at risk of being assaulted again upon the arrestee’s release.
Florida Statute 903.046 (2) provides a list of items for judges to consider when determining pretrial release. But this statute does not provide any guidance on how to weigh or assign each item of criteria in the process of assessment.
- Current status on pretrial release, probation and parole
- Employment history
- Finances resources
- Mental conditions
- The nature and circumstances of the offense
- The nature of probability of danger which the defendant’s release poses to the community
- Prior criminal history
- Prior history of appearance in court
- The weight of evidence
- The defendant’s family ties
- The length of time within the community