To release on one's own recognizance means for a judge to allow a criminal defendant to be released from custody without posting bail. Often called "O.R." or "R.O.R," it is commonly granted in traffic matters, minor and technical crimes. A defendant released O.R. must simply sign a promise to show up in court. A defendant commonly requests release on his own recognizance at his first court appearance.
It is granted based on the past history of the defendant, roots in the community, regular employment, the recommendation of the prosecutor, the type of crime, and the overall likelihood of making all appearances in court and the improbability that the defendant will commit another crime while awaiting trial. This release program is usually administered by a county agency or through a local law enforcement agency. A criminal history background check is performed, and a recommendation is given to the court based on those findings. This form of release is common only for first-time offenders and non-violent offenses.