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"Own Recognizance" Release

When a criminal suspect is arrested, booked, and granted "own recognizance" release, no bail money needs to be paid to the court, and no bond is posted. The suspect is merely released after promising, in writing, to appear in court for all upcoming proceedings. Most state criminal courts impose certain conditions on own recognizance release, prohibiting the suspect from leaving the area while proceedings are ongoing, or requiring that the suspect contact the court periodically while the case is ongoing.

As with setting bail, when deciding whether to grant own recognizance release a criminal court judge considers:

  • The seriousness of the crime;
  • The suspect's criminal record;
  • The danger that the suspect's release might pose to the community; and
  • The suspect's ties to family, community, and employment.

If a suspect who has been released on "own recognizance" fails to appear in criminal court as scheduled, he or she is subject to immediate arrest, and any chance for bail release is all but eliminated.

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