Own Recognizance Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Own Recognizance, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Own Recognizance?

A person released from the jail by the judge on the basis of his/her reputation, seriousness of offence, employment, financial burdens and other justified facts, without paying bail, but with a promise to apear in court as and when required is known to be released on own recognizance.

History and Meaning of Own Recognizance

The concept of Own Recognizance (OR) dates back centuries when it was known as "personal recognizance." The term refers to an individual's promise and ability to appear in court without any bail or financial security. When a judge releases someone on OR, they are trusting the defendant to return for future court appearances based on their personal integrity and reputation. The US justice system values OR as it treats everyone equally, regardless of their social or financial status.

Examples of Own Recognizance

  1. During the arraignment, the judge allowed the defendant to be released on his Own Recognizance, trusting he would return to court for his upcoming trial.
  2. After examining the evidence and facts, the judge released the defendant on his OR, knowing he had a good employment history and would not run away.
  3. Mary was granted release on her OR when her lawyer argued that her continued detainment was not justified, and she would appear for all her court hearings.

Legal Terms Similar to Own Recognizance

  1. Bail: Bail is a set amount of money that an individual has to pay to be released from custody before their court hearing.
  2. Probation: It involves having to serve some jail time before being released under certain conditions or undergoing rehabilitation.
  3. Citation release: This involves releasing the accused from custody upon issuance of written notice that the 'citation' requires appearance in court on a pre-decided date.