Personal recognizance is an agreement the defendant makes with the judge and courts promising to appear at all their scheduled court dates in turn for release from jail while waiting for these hearings. What makes personal recognizance different from bond however is that there is no actual bond that has to be paid which makes it a best-case scenario for most defendants. Personal recognizance however is only granted at the decision of a judge and it is only offered in a few circumstances such as very minor crimes and first time offenders. If you were hoping for personal recognizance, here are some reasons why getting offered it might not be so easy.
You do not have residence in the state
Defendants who do not live in the town in which they were arrested tend to be considered higher flight risks right off that bat. This is because if they do not have a residence and nearby but have one far away, it is an easy getaway to avoid being held accountable in a hearing. For this reason, out-of-state arrests are almost never granted personal recognizance no matter how minimal the charges are.
You have previous charges
Personal recognizance will always have a higher chance of being offered if the defendant is a first-time offender. In the eye of the courts, it is easier to be more lenient and flexible when it can be assumed that the charges were out of character or that lessons will be learned but if the defendant has other previous charges and especially a lot of them, then the judge will probably not only bypass the option of own recognizance but make the bond prices set higher as well.
The charges are too severe to warrant personal recognizance
This final category will be the most important reason why personal recognizance wouldn’t be offered. This type of deal is meant for very minor charges such as traffic violations or the lowest level misdemeanors but not only that, it is actually almost impossible to even offer it when it comes to more severe misdemeanors and especially felonies. In fact, felonies would have to be signed off by the district attorney in some states to even be allowed. It’s also important to note that if any type of violence is involved, it would not be offered as well.
To sum up, while the idea of getting personal recognizance might give some hope, and it is definitely an option for some, it really is only possible in very specific instances so bond will be more likely.