February 18, 2015 By Paul Wallin

Being ordered to serve time in a county jail is a common punishment for many crimes under California law. However, some offenders may be eligible to serve their time at home. An alternative to jail time is house arrest. Also referred to as Supervised Electronic Confinement (SEC) or home detention, house arrest is provided for under California Penal Code Section 1203.016. 1 

The law says that house arrest is available to all offenders who meet specific conditions. These conditions include that you:

  • Are a non-violent, low risk offender
  • Have not been prohibited from a house arrest program by the sentencing court
  • Are sentenced to county jail
  • Have a place to live near the county where you were sentenced
  • Have a land-line telephone service at your residence
  • Agree to pay for your participation in the SEC program based on your ability to pay

You may also be eligible for house arrest if you are physically or mentally impaired or disabled in some way that would make it unreasonably difficult to serve your sentence in jail.

Jail Alternatives Used at Judge’s Discretion

Even if you meet the conditions for house arrest, it is up to the judge to decide if you will be granted an alternative to jail. It is very important that you are represented by a highly experienced criminal defense attorney who can convince the prosecutor and the judge that you are deserving of an alternative form of sentencing and would benefit from home confinement.

How House Arrest Works

There are different types of house arrest, and there are advantages and disadvantages to each. Some of the most common disadvantages of home confinement include:

  • You will not be eligible for time off for good behavior like offenders who serve theirsentence in the county jail.
  • Offenders who serve their sentence under house arrest serve the full term.
  • House arrest is paid for by the offender and its $12 to $15 daily price tag makes it cost prohibitive for some offenders.
  • Offenders on house arrest may be required to wear an electronic monitoring device such as an ankle bracelet that tracks-their location and movement. These devices
    A GPS tracking device is often worn by criminal offenders on house arrest.
    It is very common for offenders on house arrest to be forced to wear a GPS tracking device around their ankle.

    can’t get wet so offenders often find it difficult take baths or swim. These devices may also need to be charged during the day, requiring offenders to limit their activity while the device plugged in.

The terms of your house arrest are established at the discretion of the court and may include a curfew, in person meetings with your probation officer, random drug testing, and attending self-help programs.

The court has no tolerance for offenders who violate the terms of house arrest. The court can terminate you from the program if you break any of the rules of your home confinement. You would then be arrested and required to serve your sentence in jail.

The biggest advantage of house arrest is being able to serve your sentence at home instead of at the county jail. However, other advantages include:

  • The ability to continue working to support yourself and your family throughout your sentence
  • Being able to attend school and continue your education if the court approves
  • Having friends and family able to visit you in your home and having access to everyday luxuries and amenities

Under California Penal Code Section 1203.016, the court can allow you to attend family obligations, religious gatherings, doctor’s appointments and other court-approved events.

If You Have Been Charged with a Crime, Contact Wallin & Klarich Now

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in California, it is imperative that you contact an attorney at Wallin & Klarich today. The knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich may be able to negotiate for home confinement as an alternative to jail time in the event your case warrants custody time.

With offices in Tustin, Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance,San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Temecula and Victorville, our attorneys have been successfully representing clients facing criminal charges for over 40 years. We will help guide you through all of your options and help you to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

Contact us at 877-4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation.
We will get through this together.


1. [http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=PEN&sectionNum=1203.016.]

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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