Criminal Defense Law

5 Things You Need to Know About House Arrest

If you have committed a crime, you may be sentenced to jail. But, depending on the circumstances, the judge may allow you to spend your time in your home under house arrest. House arrest is not like it is on TV, and you certainly do not have as many luxuries as you think. While you are naturally free to be in your home and away from the discomfort of jail, you may want to know the facts about house arrest and how it will impact your time at home.

You May Be Given Breaks

In some house arrest cases, you may be given “breaks”, as long as they are granted by the judge. That means you may be able to leave the house for doctors’ appointments, counseling, court hearings, community service time or even work. But, you will still be required to wear the ankle monitor and you will only be permitted to leave your home at specific times.

If the monitor shows you are away from your home at an unauthorized or not permitted time, then the police will be notified and you will be picked up. In some cases, the judge may only let you leave on special permissions, and the rest of the time you are confined to your house 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

You Have to Pay for House Arrest

House arrest is not free. In fact, the courts make up for the savings of putting you in jail or prison, which average about $20,000 a year in expenses per person. By confining you at home, it only costs the courts about $6,000 per year. But, you will be handling some of the expenses instead of the court.

Just some of the expenses you may be required to pay include:

  • Weekly or monthly costs associated with monitoring you (this includes the cost of the monitoring service and the device)
  • Fines and fees associated with house arrest
  • Maintenance fees for the ankle monitoring device—and replacement costs if you break it

You Do Not Receive Time Credits

The biggest disadvantage to house arrest is that you do not receive time credits. That means you will not have any credit toward a lesser jail sentence or good behavior. So, if you have been sentenced to 120 days of house arrest, you must serve 120 days of that house arrest to satisfy the requirement.

You May Be Assigned House Arrest Without Being Convicted

House arrest isn’t just for those who have been convicted. It can also happen while you are waiting for your trial and it may be assigned as a condition of your bail. There are plenty of instances where individuals facing non-violent crimes may be sentenced to house arrest to ensure that they show up for trial.

You Can Go to Jail

You have strict rules during your house arrest and if you violate any conditions of your house arrest, you could wind up back in jail to serve out the rest of your sentence, similar to a parole sentence. Judges are harsher on those on house arrest because it is a privilege to be able to stay at home; therefore, if you violate your rules even once, the judge may have you finish your sentence in jail or prison.

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