Peter Blair | April 19, 2023 | Criminal Defense
House arrest is a type of alternative sentence that may be offered to certain offenders as part of their plea bargain or sentencing. It mandates them to stay at home for a specified amount of time and to follow additional regulations, such as curfews and mandatory drug testing.
In addition, the defendant must wear an electronic ankle bracelet at all times, allowing police to trace their whereabouts and movements at any time. While under house arrest, they may also be required to participate in therapy sessions or meetings with their parole or probation officer.
Offenders Can Often Leave Their House During House Arrest
Offenders can usually leave their residences for work, school, medical appointments, court hearings, family obligations, and approved activities outside the home. During these outings, offenders must remain within a designated area and follow all other restrictions set forth by their probation officers or court order.
These restrictions may include wearing an ankle bracelet monitor or maintaining contact with a probation officer at certain intervals during the day. They may also include avoiding contact with people involved in criminal activity and staying away from places where drugs are sold or used illegally.
Attempting to violate any of these conditions can result in house arrest being revoked and the offender being incarcerated instead.
Visitors Are Often Permitted
Visits from family and friends may be allowed for someone on home confinement if this is specified in the conditions of the order.
However, it’s important to note that any visitors must be approved by a probation officer or other supervising personnel before they arrive. Further, any visitors who have been prohibited from entering the residence but do so anyway may result in a violation of house arrest terms.
House Arrest and Time Served
In California, those on house arrest still have to serve their full sentence imposed by the court; they do not benefit from any “good time credit.” This means that even if they demonstrate good behavior or complete programs while under home confinement, it does not result in a reduced sentence or early release.
In contrast, those who are incarcerated can earn good time credit for demonstrating good behavior or completing educational programs, which can lead to an earlier release date than originally imposed by the court.
House Arrest Violations
When a violation has occurred, the probation or parole officer will notify the courts. The offender will then appear before a judge at a probation violation hearing. At this hearing, three possible outcomes could occur:
- The judge could warn the offender
- The judge could impose stricter terms and conditions on house arrest
- The judge could revoke house arrest altogether and sentence the offender to jail or prison time
If the person on house arrest is on parole and parole is revoked due to a house arrest violation, reincarceration is likely unavoidable.
House Arrest Is Not Free
In California, there are also costs associated with house arrest. Depending on the terms of your sentence and the county you live in, you will likely pay between $12 and $20 per day for house arrest services such as electronic monitoring equipment, installation fees, maintenance fees, removal fees, and monthly service charges.
The Benefits of House Arrest
House arrest has numerous benefits, including:
- Saving taxpayers money by not having to pay for incarceration costs associated with imprisonment
- Allowing the offender to keep their job and continue providing financial support for the family
- Reducing recidivism rates of both misdemeanor and felony offenses
- Allowing them access to treatment programs such as alcohol/drug counseling
- Getting integrated back into society more quickly after serving out their sentence since they were never incarcerated in the first place.
House arrest can be a great alternative sentencing option for those who qualify under California law, but those who qualify should know what is expected of them before agreeing to any terms set forth by the court.
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