One of the consequences of being convicted of a crime is the real possibility of being sent to jail. Incarceration severely limits your mobility, making it hard to maintain employment, see your family, and make positive contributions to your community. However, it may be possible to avoid jail and serve your sentence under house arrest. Here's how to make this a reality.
Qualifying for House Arrest
There are many benefits to being under house arrest. Counter to what you may think, you are not restricted to your home 24 hours a day. In actuality, you are allowed to take breaks to go to school, work, and fulfill any legal obligations related to your case (e.g. meet with your probation officer). This can help you maintain your job and continue with other important aspects of your life.
However, house arrest is not awarded to everyone. To be eligible for this alternative form of incarceration, you must meet several qualifications. These qualifications can vary depending on where you live, but generally you must:
- Be a first-time offender of have a limited criminal history
- Be convicted of a non-violent offense
- Have steady employment
- Have a place to live
The judge will take a variety of factors into consideration when determining whether to let you serve your time under house arrest including your standing in the community, your social network, the severity of your crime, and whether jail would be too harsh a punishment for your crime. An attorney can help you present your case in the best light to increase your chances of getting approved for this alternative jail option.
Important Things to Know
Although house arrest can be easier in some ways, there is still a cost. Literally. You are required to pay a weekly or monthly fee for your monitoring device and supervision. Some counties have a set price, while others will charge you on a sliding scale based on your income.
Another thing you need to be aware of is you typically will not receive any time off for good behavior. One of the advantages of going to jail is the possibility of being released early for being a model prisoner. However, you will not have this option while under house arrest. You'll need to serve the entire time.
Lastly, if you break any of the conditions of your house arrest, you will be taken to jail to serve the balance of your sentence.
For more information about house arrest or help with your criminal case, contact a law firm, like Larson, Latham, Huettl Attorneys.