As part of many criminal convictions, you may be ordered to serve jail or prison time. You can get jail or prison time for anything from driving while impaired to homicide. Your sentence can be for anywhere from one day to life in a correctional facility. Many feel the jail and prison system in the US is out of control. While putting criminals into custody has been around since the beginning of civilization, putting non-violent criminals behind bars for significant periods of time is a relatively recent phenomenon, resulting in overcrowded jails and prisons. Though new prisons are being built all the time, there is still not enough room for all the convicted criminals and so there are some lenient alternatives available to certain people who pose no serious threat to society. Home detention, also called house arrest, electronic confinement or electronic monitoring, is one such alternative available to some Californians. Home detention is a punishment, like jail or prison time, but allows for more freedom and comfort than being in a correctional facility. It is an alternative sentencing for certain criminals however it is not a hand out that the judge will give you. If you are facing a jail or prison sentence and want to request home detention, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. As you can imagine, not all requests for home detention are approved. You will have to present your case to the judge and convincingly argue that you are a good candidate for home detention, that you deserve such alternative sentencing and that it would be a significant benefit to you. To apply for home detention, you must fill out an application through your local county court system and pay an application fee. On your application, you must demonstrate a compelling reason why you should be allowed to participate in a home detention program. For example, you must either be going to school, working or have a serious medical condition that cannot be best treated in a correctional facility. Your offense and prior criminal history will also be considered on your application. In general, home detention is permitted only for those who've committed relatively minor non-violent crimes of a non-sexual nature. Those convicted of serious crimes, sex offenders or violent criminals will not be granted home detention. Generally, when on home detention, you will be monitored via one or more monitoring devices. The devices will either monitor your whereabouts on your property or elsewhere or monitor the presence of drug or alcohol in your system. There are devices you attach to your body that can keep constant readings of the alcohol content in your blood or patches that measure the presence of drugs in your system. If you don't have one of these drug or alcohol monitoring devices, you may be required to submit to regular drug tests and be required to avoid consuming certain substances during home detention that may skew the results of a drug test. Home detention is much like staying in a correctional facility. You will have certain restrictions and limitations put on your life and you must adhere to the terms of your sentencing. In this respect, it is much like being on parole or probation. You will be restricted on where you can go by a residential monitoring system that prevents you from leaving your residence and/or a global positioning system, or GPS, device, which prevents you from traveling to unauthorized locations. Authorized locations may include work, school or a medical care provider. You may also be given curfews or timelines that restrict where you can go and when. You will also have to have frequent contact with the court system, have one on one meetings, and will be held responsible for any violations to the terms of your home detention sentencing. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has information about home detention programs as will your local county courthouse. Your local county will handle home detention requests according to their own procedures. In Orange County, home detention is called Supervised Electronic Monitoring and is handled through the Orange County Probation Department. You will be responsible for paying for the costs of the home detention program in your county however you won't denied access to a home detention program for solely the inability to pay. Home detention is an attractive alternative to serving your sentence in a correctional facility and for some can be well worth the effort to apply for.
Have you or a loved one recently been arrested and have questions about home detention as an alternative to jail or prison time? Tulare County criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens knows how important your freedom is and will fight for your rights. Serving the Visalia and Fresno areas, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can provide expert criminal defense. Call our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.