Criminal Defense

House Arrest & How To Request It

May 21, 2024 by Seppi Esfandi in Criminal Defense  
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Home Confinement Instead of Jail

House arrest is an alternative sentencing option for individuals meeting specific eligibility requirements. Offenders under house arrest are mostly restricted to their homes, though some circumstances may allow for some minimal movement. The presiding judge establishes home confinement restrictions, including guidelines for leaving and the rationale behind them.

These regulations include restricted curfews, random drug testing conducted by law enforcement officials, electronic ankle bracelet monitoring for location tracking, supervision of alcohol and drug consumption, mandatory community service, and obligatory meetings with probation or parole officers. The purpose of these guidelines is to guarantee responsibility and cooperation while under house arrest.

Individuals convicted of minor offenses under house arrest may be permitted to leave their residences for specific purposes, such as work, school, medical appointments, family obligations, court proceedings, or approved activities mandated by the sentencing court. However, their movements are closely monitored via GPS-enabled electronic tracking systems, making it challenging to leave undetected. Violating the house arrest order could result in its cancellation.

Who Is Eligible For House Arrest?

Eligibility for house arrest isn’t automatically granted but must be requested by your legal representative, who must then present a compelling case demonstrating your suitability for home confinement. To qualify for consideration, you typically need to meet several criteria:

  • Non-violent, Low-Risk Offender: House arrest is often reserved for individuals convicted of non-violent offenses who pose minimal risk to society.
  • County Jail Sentence: Those sentenced to serve time in county jail, rather than state prison, are more likely to be considered for house arrest.
  • Residence in County of Offense: You must reside in the county where the offense occurred to be eligible.
  • Accessibility: You must have consistent access to a telephone.
  • Compliance: You must agree to adhere strictly to the terms and conditions set forth by the court for home confinement.
  • Financial Responsibility: Payment for the program is typically based on your ability to pay.
  • Court Approval: A judge must approve eligibility

You may also qualify if you’re a juvenile offender under parental supervision or have a consistent employment record. In cases where imprisonment appears excessively severe for the offense committed but parole seems overly lenient, house arrest may be deemed a suitable alternative.
While house arrest is an option for both misdemeanor crimes and felony offenses, it’s generally uncommon for individuals to serve a prison sentence under house arrest. Priority is usually given to those sentenced to county jail over state prison.

Defendants convicted of severe, violent, or repeat offenses are typically denied house arrest. However, individuals who are physically or mentally impaired or disabled in a manner that would significantly impede their ability to serve time in jail may also be eligible for consideration under certain circumstances.

How to Request House Arrest

The option of requesting house arrest can vary depending on jurisdiction, as it involves cost considerations, necessary equipment, and personnel to administer the program. State laws may also impose restrictions on eligibility, with certain offenses like domestic violence or violent felonies potentially disqualifying individuals from consideration.

The process for requesting house arrest varies based on the circumstances and stage of the case. Your lawyer plays a crucial role in assessing whether house arrest is a viable option and advocating on your behalf. During the pretrial phase, house arrest may be proposed as a condition for release, either with or without bail, particularly if you’re deemed not to pose a danger to the community or a flight risk. As part of plea negotiations or sentencing considerations, your attorney might also recommend house arrest as an alternative to incarceration or a probationary requirement. Additionally, inmates seeking parole or supervised release may request house arrest, which may even be mandated in certain states or for specific offenses.

Considering the cost, numerous individuals facing allegations of non-violent criminal acts wonder whether they need to hire a criminal defense lawyer. In California, however, it is imperative to have legal representation irrespective of the seriousness of the allegations. A skilled attorney can help you steer the legal maze, possibly resulting in a better conclusion than jail time, such as house arrest. Investing in competent legal representation can have a significant impact on how your case plays out and successfully protect your rights and interests.

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Lara S.
December 3, 2019
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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