FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – On Saturday night, Mayor Tom Henry was given his own recognizance, or “OR,” bail after being arrested for operating under the influence.
Henry’s first interaction with police was around 10:30 p.m. Saturday. He was not released from jail until around 8:30 a.m. Sunday. That’s when he was released on his own recognizance.
According to local attorney Michelle Kraus, who is not associated with Henry or Henry’s case, OR bond is typical for first-time offenders of nonviolent crimes in Allen County.
“It’s not at all unusual that somebody who is a first-time offender on a nonviolent offense like an OWI, my guess is that 95% of the people in that position are being OR’d,” Kraus said.
Allen County Chief Public Defender William Lebrato is not associated with Henry or Henry’s case, but he also said many people accused of their first operating while intoxicated charges are released on their own recognizance, and noted that everything regarding Henry seemed above board.
He added that typically, jail staff waits until someone’s blood-alcohol content dips below .02 percent – the legal limit is .08 percent – to release them.
According to point 14 of the attached court document, no recognizance is the typical bond for an OWI. The document is in the jail to determine pre-trial bond for those who are arrested:
The bond for misdemeanor Operating While Intoxicated shall be Own Recognizance (OR), subject to Pre-Trial Service conditions.
Being released on OR varies from county to county. It’s a type of bond that doesn’t have a monetary punishment but is attached to some sort of condition or promise.
“It’s subject to conditions like ‘don’t commit a crime, don’t drink alcohol, or don’t drink excessive alcohol, don’t use controlled substances.’ Sometimes people have to report in-person or by phone,” Kraus said. “So it’s almost like being on probation, but it’s pre-trial, meaning you have not been convicted yet.”
According to court records, at least six other people were arrested this weekend on OWI charges, and those people were also released on their own recognizance.
“From what I’ve been told and seen, [Henry] has received zero preferential treatment,” Lebrato said.