What is House Arrest?
House arrest, often known as “electronic monitoring,” is a sort of criminal sentencing that is used instead of imprisonment or prison time. An electronic monitoring device is frequently attached to the arrestee’s ankle and is difficult to remove. The device tracks the arrestee’s movements and location using GPS.
House arrestees are normally not restricted to their homes, but are only allowed to leave for pre-approved sites and activities. Although their movement and freedom are still restricted and monitored, unlike incarceration, house arrest permits a person to remain active in society and at home.
House arrest comes with a set of rules that must be obeyed. In most circumstances, the following house arrest guidelines apply:
The arrestee is assigned a probation officer who will monitor compliance and visit with them on a regular basis to ensure that they are meeting all of their sentence’s terms. The arrestee may also be subjected to “surprise” or “random” check-ins by the probation officer. It’s possible that the arrestee will be forced to abstain from both narcotics and alcohol. The probation officer might inspect the arrestee’s residence to ensure that no illegal substances are present. The arrestee must obey the curfew in the evening. The arrestee must submit to drug testing at any time.
As part of their sentencing, the arrestee is often required to perform community service. If the arrestee breaks the home arrest rules, they may have to serve the balance of their sentence in jail or prison.
Who is Eligible for House Arrest?
Offenders must normally meet specific criteria in order to be eligible for house arrest. Nonviolent offenders are usually eligible for house arrest. It also occurs more frequently in first-time offenders than in recurrent offenders. The criminal must be able to live in or near the jurisdiction that is imposing the sentence. Most of the time, the perpetrator must have a landline phone at home. When assessing whether house arrest is an acceptable penalty, the court will take into account the offender’s employment options as well as their family and community support.
House arrest may not be available to an offender who utilized their home in the commission of the crime for which they are being punished.
How Do I Apply for House Arrest?
In most criminal instances, the prosecution will offer a recommendation for sentencing, but the judge will decide whether the offender is qualified for house arrest. One of a criminal lawyer’s responsibilities is to show why their client is a good candidate for house arrest.
During the sentencing phase of the trial, you and your attorney will need to show that you and your counsel meet the jurisdiction’s eligibility standards. For instance, you might be required to demonstrate the following:
- This was your first transgression.
- You were convicted of a non-violent offense and have no prior criminal record.
- You have a track record of stable employment or can show that you will be able to find work.
Any documentation that may help you demonstrate that you are a good candidate for home arrest can be brought to court. During sentencing, your lawyer can also arrange for witnesses to testify on your behalf.
What Happens If I Violate House Arrest?
If you break the terms of your home arrest, your probation officer will either issue a warning or summon you to court for a hearing. Following a violation of home confinement, the probation officer may recommend that the rest of the term be served in jail or prison. If the offense was small, the court may modify the curfew or the list of allowed reasons to leave the house.
The consequences of a violation of home confinement will be determined by the facts and circumstances of the offense. If the offense was caused by a personal or family medical emergency, the court may be more indulgent.
Can I Leave My Home At All While Under House Arrest?
House arrest is a misnomer because the arrestee is nearly always permitted to leave their home for pre-approved reasons or to destinations specified in the Home Detention Agreement. An arrestee may leave their house for a variety of reasons, including:
- School Work Medical Appointments
- Community service and counseling
- Testing for drugs
- Probation officer consultations
The arrestee may also request and be allowed release for other reasons, but these decisions are determined on a case-by-case basis by the probation officer. Within a specified distance of their house and only before the predetermined curfew, the arrestee may be permitted more freedom of movement.