When a judge allows a defendant to be released on bail without any deposit or collateral, the defendant can pay the bail with a personal recognizance bond. The defendant is still made to promise he or she will appear in court despite the removal of bond conditions; this means their release is on their own recognizance (OR) or personal recognizance (PR). PR bonds are allowed in rare instances, primarily in non-violent misdemeanors.
As mentioned, a PR bond is a relatively rare occurrence. And when it does happen, the overwhelming majority of the time it’s in non-violent cases, such as shoplifting or some kind of traffic violation. The judge also considers a defendant’s criminal history and whether or not they are a flight risk and looks at any ties the defendant has to the community in which they reside.
Judges understand how much of a privilege it is to release someone on a PR bond, which is why it doesn’t happen very often. Even though background checks are conducted, and other risk assessments are considered, a PR bond essentially places the responsibility of showing up for court squarely on the shoulders of the defendant. This is why low-class misdemeanors make better cases for PR bonds. The likelihood is slim that someone would not show up for court or is afraid to show up for court for something like a traffic ticket.
Getting a PR bond tends to be more time-consuming than securing more standard forms of bail bond in Texas. In some Texas jurisdictions, a judge will simply grant the PR bond on the spot, after considering all the details mentioned previously. However, in other jurisdictions the defendant may be required to file a motion. That motion is a one-page letter to the judge explaining why they should be allowed to get a PR bond. This motion can go under the title of Motion for Personal Recognizance Bond or Motion for Bond Reduction, for example.
Once that motion is submitted, the process still isn’t over. The defendant must then request a date be set so they can provide evidence as to why they deserve a PR bond. Some of the more common reasons are that they can’t afford a standard bail bond or have some kind of medical condition. In any case, the opportunity for a PR bond is not given out repeatedly. Defendants should come well-prepared to plead their entire case the first time around, because there likely won’t be a second chance.
Obviously, there are clear advantages to getting a PR bond. You get to be home with your family and don’t have to spend time in jail for the duration of your court case. It also saves you or your family money by avoiding a bond deposit. It must be noted, however, that not all PR bonds are completely cost- or condition-free. Some still require the defendant to visit a probation officer on a monthly basis at a cost of $30.00-$50.00. Sometimes an upfront deposit must be made in order for this program to be set up.
PCS Bail Bonds knows all the ins and outs of the bail bond system. If you are thinking about a PR bond, give us a call at (817) 335-1655 and we will walk you through the process.