For many first-time offenses a judge may opt to offer own or personal recognizance over actual bail. What this is means is that the defendant still has to follow any bond conditions and show up to all scheduled court dates but they won’t have to pay actual bail. This is definitely the optimal conclusion for anyone going through a bond hearing, and while It is always at the judge’s discretion, here are some of the main reasons why a judge would opt not to offer it.
You were arrested in another state
If you were arrested while on vacation or you do not have a residence in the state that you were arrested in then the courts would automatically consider you a flight risk since there is large incentive to just simply go back to your home state and try to avoid making travel arrangements to come back for a court hearing. For this reason, personal recognizance is essentially never offered to out-of-state residents.
This is not your first run-in with the law
In a way, personal recognizance Is the judge’s way of taking pity on the defendant and letting them go through the system relatively unscathed if they have shown that this is an outlier incident but if the defendant has a long history of run-ins with the law, then the judge is all but guaranteed to go for a larger bond cost and personal recognizance will be off the table. This is because defendants with a significant laundry list of charges is not only a higher flight risk but also have shown that they don’t seem to learn from previous warnings which make the judge most likely think that any flexibility or leniency will be an unwise decision.
The charges are above a low level misdemeanor
This is probably the most significant reason why a judge would avoid personal recognizance. Being offered own recognizance is an act of good faith for minor infractions such as traffic violations or low-level misdemeanors but it will never be an option for more serious crimes such as high-level misdemeanors or felonies. In fact, in many states, a district must actually sign off for this to even be allowed to be done for a felony.
Overall, personal recognizance is an ideal option but one that is only available in a few situations for the most minor of crimes. For most, a normal bond will be offered but in this instance, we are here to help you get released without having to hand over your life savings to the courts. If you or loved ones have any questions or need our services, feel free to contact us anytime!