House arrest orders offer criminal offenders an alternative to being housed in jail when serving their sentences. While under house arrest, offenders are confined to their homes for most or all of the day. This may be inconvenient, but in many cases, it beats serving time in jail.
To qualify for house arrest, you must meet certain criteria. By learning more about how house arrest works in California, you can determine whether you may be eligible for house arrest. Keep reading to have your questions answered.
What Is House Arrest?
House arrest is an alternative sentence that is offered to people who meet the eligibility criteria. While under house arrest, offenders are mostly confined to their homes, though there are a few exceptions that allow those under house arrest to travel. When and why they can leave is stated in the home confinement rules ordered by the judge in their case.
Examples of home confinement rules are as follows:
- Restricted curfew (specifically stated times when you are allowed outside of your home)
- Administration of random drug tests by police officers or other law enforcement agents
- Location tracking via electronic ankle bracelets that provide movement details to authorities
- Monitoring of alcohol use
- Monitoring of drug use
- Mandatory community service
- Mandatory meetings with a probation or parole officer
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Can You Leave Your House During House Arrest?
People who are convicted of less severe crimes may be allowed to exit their homes for certain reasons. Some reasons an offender may be allowed to leave their residence include:
- They are going to work
- They must go to school
- They need to attend medical appointments
- They are participating in behavioral management classes or programs
- They have a family obligation that must be performed
- They must attend a court hearing or other proceeding
- They are engaging in activities that have been approved by the court that sentenced them
Where you go is thoroughly tracked by an electronic monitoring system that monitors your position using GPS. Therefore, it is incredibly difficult to leave your home without someone knowing. If you do, your house arrest order may be rescinded.
Who Qualifies for House Arrest?
We have already mentioned that you must be eligible to be ordered house arrest instead of jail time. To qualify for house arrest, your charges must warrant a sentence in county jail, not state prison.
You also are not allowed to serve your time under house arrest if you are not a nonviolent offender. This means people who have committed crimes like rape or assault will not be offered house arrest. Some other requirements are that the offender must:
- Live close to the county that they were sentenced in
- Have access to a telephone at home
- Agree to submit to every rule the judge orders
While both misdemeanor and felony charges can result in house arrest, you will likely not be eligible if you committed a serious crime, a crime that involved violence, or multiple crimes consecutively. If you believe that your crime fits these criteria, it is time for you to speak to a criminal defense lawyer.
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Are Visitors Allowed During House Arrest?
One of the perks of being under house arrest is that offenders are often allowed to be visited by their friends and family. Though, this is only allowed when visitors are specifically approved in the terms of the house arrest sentence. Another important thing to note is that some visitors may not be allowed to see you, even if visitors are allowed in general.
If someone who is not supposed to visit you does show up and you let them in, you risk violating your house arrest terms.
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What if You Violate Your House Arrest Terms?
Remember, being under house arrest means that you must submit to wearing an electronic monitoring device that tracks your every move. Whenever you go somewhere you are not allowed to be, the agency that is responsible for monitoring you will receive an alert. The agency then reaches out to your supervising parole officer or probation officer.
This can result in the officer arresting you, even without an arrest warrant. If you are arrested, you must attend a hearing for violating your probation. During the hearing, you will explain to the judge why you violated your house arrest terms.
Depending on your defense, the judge has the option to:
- Pay no heed to the violation
- Restrict your ability to travel further by updating the terms of your house arrest sentence
- Sentence you to jail time rather than house arrest
Usually, if you are on parole and on house arrest, breaking your parole will lead to your house arrest sentence or parole being revoked. This will likely result in you being incarcerated again.
Prove that You Deserve House Arrest
House arrest can make it much easier to serve the time that you have been sentenced. Though, you will not simply be offered house arrest. Instead, you have to ask the court to offer you house arrest. This is not guaranteed to result in you getting a house arrest sentence, but having a lawyer certainly increases your odds.
Let Our Attorneys Help You
Choosing a lawyer to represent you is critical in the processing of fighting criminal charges. If you know you will be convicted, the next best thing to do is to have a lawyer help minimize the consequences of the conviction. Getting house arrest ordered is one option, but there are other ways to improve your experience following a conviction.
Use the contact form on this page to learn more about what you can do leading up to your criminal proceedings.