own recognizance (OR)

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Own recognizance (OR), also called personal recognizance, means a release, without the requirement of a posting bail, based on a written promise by the defendant to appear in court when required to do so.

Courts may consider the following factors when determining whether release on own recognizance is appropriate: the severity of the charges, the defendant’s criminal record, the defendant’s ties to the community, the likelihood that the defendant will return to court, and the defendant’s threat to public safety. However, even if a defendant demonstrates that they will appear in court and are not a safety risk, they not guaranteed to be released on their own recognizance.

Failure to appear after a release on own recognizance is punishable by a fine and will result in additional charges.

Some examples of own recognizance statutes are listed below:

  • In California, own recognizance release is governed by California Penal Code Sections 1270 and 1318 to 1320.

  • In Texas, own recognizance is governed by Articles 17.03, 17.04, and 15.17 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.

  • In Ohio, own recognizance is governed by Ohio Revised Code Sections 2937.29 and 2937.99.

[Last updated in July of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]