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Own Recognizance

Definition - What does Own Recognizance mean?

Own recognizance is a written promise by a criminal defendant to appear in upcoming court proceedings, and is used as a basis by the judge to grant temporary liberty to the defendant even without requiring the latter to post bail. Other matters considered by the judge in determining whether the accused is entitled to be released on his own recognizance include the seriousness of the crime, the probability that the defendant will escape or commit another felony or offense, and the character and background of the defendant.

Justipedia explains Own Recognizance

Own recognizance allows for a criminal defendant with good character, and without previous conviction, to be given temporary liberty during the period of time that the court case is being processed, even without bail. There can be several hearings before a court renders judgment, and it is preferable that defendants enjoy temporary liberty prior to any final determination of their criminal guilt. If defendants promise in writing to show up in court for all upcoming proceedings, and the assessment of their character is looked upon favorably by the court, then defendants can be given temporary liberty and be released on their own recognizance.

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