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One’s Own Recognizance: The “Get Out of Jail Free” Card

After an arrest is made, most people have some understanding of how the process usually plays out. Generally, the accused will face an arraignment and bail will be set. They will then have to put up money or property to fulfill the bail amount or face the prospect of sitting in jail until their trial. For more detail on bail, please read our previous blog on the subject.
However, did you know that it is possible to be released without having to pay bail? Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to get your very own “get out of jail free” card instead of having to sit in jail or front a large amount of bail money. This process is known as being released on one’s “own recognizance.”
When you are released on your own recognizance, you will be freed from jail without having any bail set or paid. You may continue to live your life as normal—aside from a few exceptions like being forbidden from traveling—so long as you agree in writing that you will show up for your trial and all other court proceedings relating to your case.
In South Carolina, there are two different reasons for which a judge can refuse to grant an “own recognizance” release:
1) There is reason to believe that the defendant will not appear at his or her trial, or;
2) The judge believes that releasing the defendant would create an unreasonable risk to the community.
If the judge believes that either of the above statements are true, he or she will either set bail at an amount commensurate to offset the risk, or withhold bail and force the defendant to stay in jail while the case proceeds.
There are a few things that a judge will consider when deciding whether or not to grant a release on the defendant’s own recognizance. They will consider the seriousness of the alleged crime, the defendant’s past criminal record, any resources that could potentially allow the defendant to flee, the danger that the defendant’s release might pose to the community, and if the defendant has any ties to family, community, or has employment. Every situation will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and the judge will examine the facts and make a decision.
If a person who has been granted release on their own recognizance does not show up for his or her court dates, they will then be subject to immediate arrest and will likely not be eligible for any amount of bail, meaning they will have to sit in jail until their trial is decided.
If you have been arrested, it is important that you immediately contact a criminal defense attorney who can help give you the best chances of being released on your own recognizance. Please do not hesitate to call the Greg McCollum Complete Legal Defense Team today and let us fight to protect your freedom.

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Complete Legal Defense Team

We defend clients who have been accused of felonies, misdemeanors, and DUI. Our goal at the Complete Legal Defense Team is to examine the facts and circumstances completely and help our clients.

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