Release on your own recognizance

If you are arrested and booked into jail, you may be eligible for release on your own recognizance, also known as OR.

In this page:
What is release on your own recognizance (OR)

Release on OR is when the court releases you from jail in exchange for your written promise to show up for future court appearances. There is no cost. The court may add conditions to your OR release such as electronic monitoring supervision and case management. That means you would be assigned a case manager who will track your progress and connect you with helpful services.

Qualifying for OR release

A judge will decide if you qualify for OR release before you are scheduled to appear in court -- also known as arraignment. The courts use your Public Safety Assessment (PSA) results to help them decide if your release from jail, before arraignment, presents a public safety risk.

What is a PSA?

The PSA is a validated risk assessment tool. It measures the likelihood that a person will commit a new crime or fail to appear in court. In 2016, San Francisco began using a PSA tool that reduces decision-making bias. It excludes factors such as race, gender, level of education, socioeconomic status, and neighborhood.

Who runs the PSA?

The San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project (SFPDP) performs your PSA. It is part of your “workup” for the courts. Your workup includes:

  • PSA with a recommendation for release or no release; 
  • Copies of the police report; 
  • Your Records of Arrest and Prosecution (RAP). 

SFPDP will submit your PSA and release recommendation to the Superior Court within eight hours of booking. (Booking refers to the time that ID confirmation for an arrestee is received.)  

The judicial officer must make a release decision within 18 hours of booking. 

If there is no ruling from a judicial officer, the Sheriff's Office will follow the PSA release recommendation.

Peace officers with reasonable cause to believe a person will fail to appear in court or pose a threat to the community may file a declaration that extends the 18-hour time requirement by 12 hours. 

What happens if I don’t get released?

Certain criminal charges, your criminal history, out-of-county warrants, and holds may disqualify you from a pre-arraignment release.

The September 3, 2019 federal court judgment, known as Buffin, allows certain defendants who are ineligible for OR pre-arraignment release under existing California law to apply to a San Francisco Superior Court judge for release. However, those defendants are not included in the accelerated OR procedures.

You also will have another opportunity at your arraignment for the judge to consider releasing you to OR. 

SFPDP will complete a risk assessment and present this to the arraignment judge. The judge will then decide if you can be released on OR and may attach conditions to your release. 

If the judge grants you OR release, you must follow all conditions. This includes appearing in court on the dates and times stated. If you fail to appear in court, the judge may issue a warrant for your arrest.