What is a breach of recognizance?

A recognizance (of bail) is a promise that an accused person makes in court, to abide by the conditions that made it possible for them to be released from custody. Those conditions always involve attending court as required, staying out of trouble (keeping the peace) and any other conditions such as staying away from victims, locations, non-communications with people identified by the court etc.

The accused person must prove they understand and promise to agree with those conditions to be released from custody.

When that accused person is found to be breaching those conditions, they have essentially broken a promise to the court and that results in a further criminal charge along with any other charges stemming from that breach of their promise to the court.

The accused is arrested and sent for a bail hearing where the chances of them being released on a 'promise' decreases significantly since they have shown themselves to be less than trustworthy. This can result in bail being denied and them being held in custody pending the outcome of their charges. If they are released again, it will be with more strict conditions and with more supervision.

If they are convicted of the breach of recognizance they often face 30 days in jail (the common sentence for failing to honour promises made to the court).

If you are going to promise to abide by conditions, expect to be held accountable for any inability or unwillingness to do so.

If the accused was released to a surety (someone who promised to supervise them while at large) then the surety stands to lose whatever sum of money was pledged for failing to ensure that the accused abided by the conditions that they both agreed to be bound by. If you are a surety and the person you signed out breaches, you had best make financial arrangements to ensure you can pay the court the money that you pledged in the event that you allowed the accused to breach the conditions that you were supposed to enforce on the court's behalf.