By posting cash bail or a Surety Bond, an accused person (Defendant) may be able to avoid or be released from jail soon after arrest, and usually before his/her first court appearance (arraignment). The funds can be posted at the Washoe County Jail, or using the services of a bail bondsman, or in person at the Reno Municipal Court. There is an amount of bail set for each type of violation of law. The full amount can be paid in cash, by credit card, or a bail bondsman can post a percentage of it with the court after you pay them a fee. Either way, there is a $50 fee charged by the court to post bail or bond. If the Defendant fails to appear in court on the scheduled date and time, the funds may be forfeited to the court.
After a Defendant is sentenced by the Judge, the bail or bond is usually exonerated (released). However, the Judge may decide to hold the bail to ensure that the Defendant completes all the terms of his or her sentence. Any fines, fees and assessments may be deducted from the bail posted, thereafter; any remaining funds will be refunded to the person who posted the bail. Bail that is posted on one case may be used to pay fines/fees owed on another case before any refund is given. Refunds are in the form of checks issued by the City of Reno Finance Department.
It takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks to receive a refund check. The person who posted bail may check on the status of a refund by calling the court clerk (not the City of Reno Finance Department) at 775-334-3069. Refunds are mailed to the address given at the time bail was posted. The court must be notified in writing of any address change. If the person who posted bail wants to pick up the refund check at the court, he/she must notify the court clerk at 775-334-3069. If the person who posted bail believes the refund check has been lost in the mail, and if the check has not been cashed or returned by the post office after thirty (30) days, he/she may request a new check by calling 775-333-7766.
OWN RECOGNIZANCE (OR) RELEASE
Another way to be released from jail is for the Judge to grant an Own Recognizance release, also called “OR.” Pretrial Services may grant a person an OR based on criteria set by the court or the Defendant may ask the Judge for an OR during their arraignment. A written promise to appear must be signed by the Defendant. If he/she fails to appear in court on the date given, an arrest warrant will be ordered by the court. A “Failure to Appear” is a separate violation of law and can be punished by 25 days in Jail and/or $500 in fines.