If you have been convicted of a crime, you may be willing to accept any form of alternative punishment in order to stay out of jail. Home confinement, or house arrest, may sound like the most appealing way to serve your sentence. However, while there are indeed some advantages to serving house arrest, home confinement is not as easy as it seems.
Eligibility for Home Confinement (PC 1203.016)
To be eligible for home confinement in California, you must meet the following conditions:
- You are a low risk, nonviolent offender,
- You are not prohibited from house arrest by the judge,
- You’ve been sentenced to county jail,
- Your permanent or temporary residence is in or near the county you were sentenced,
- You have a compatible phone in your residence,
- You agree to the terms and conditions of home confinement, AND
- You pay for the privilege of house arrest based on your ability to pay
You may also qualify for home confinement if your attorney convinces the court that you are medically impaired or disabled in a way that would make jail time difficult for you.
Advantages of Home Confinement
The biggest advantage of serving your sentence under house arrest is that it allows you to be in the relative comfort of your own home rather than in jail. The program also benefits the state because it saves money by not housing you in jail.
Those under home confinement may also be allowed to continue employment without interruption or attend school if the court permits. You can be visited by family and friends or live with any of your loved ones – although the court may rule that you cannot associate with certain people as a condition of your house arrest.
By not being restricted to jail, you may also have the opportunity to attend and complete any court-ordered programs such as DUI classes, medical treatment and counseling.
Disadvantages of Home Confinement
The confines of your home are preferable to jail, but that doesn’t mean house arrest is without its disadvantages. What may be difficult for many people is that your movement is drastically limited.
While exceptions exist, home confinement often requires you to stay inside your home during certain hours of the day and likely at all times during the night. This may prevent you from performing simple tasks such as walking outside to check the mail, walking your dog, running errands or even stepping outside for a few moments. You will need to discuss your permitted activities with a counselor or probation officer when considering house arrest.
Another potential issue with home confinement is that there is a cost attached to it. Depending on your income and your ability to pay, house arrest could cost of $12 to $15 per day. Though your acceptance into the program isn’t dependent on your ability to pay, it is something to consider when looking at this option.
Unlike jail time, you don’t get time off for good behavior when under home confinement. If the court sentences you to 364 days, you must serve that entire amount of time under home confinement.
In most cases where house arrest is granted, you will wear an electronic monitoring device on your ankle (which you cannot submerge in water) that tracks your every move. If you leave your home, your probation officer will be informed. These ankle bracelets must be electronically charged periodically, further limiting your movement.
A probation officer will also be assigned to you if you are placed on house arrest, requiring you to report to him or her periodically. Violating any conditions of your house arrest puts you at risk of being arrested and having your home confinement terminated. If this happens, you could be ordered to serve the remainder of your sentence in jail.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges and you wish to learn more about home confinement, you should contact a skilled criminal defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our criminal defense lawyers have over 35 years of experience successfully helping our clients obtain alternative sentencing. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Los Angeles, West Covina, Torrance and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us now at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.