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Criminal Law Blog

Essential Info About House Arrest

August 7, 2020

Arizona allows the possibility of house arrest for certain offenders. House arrest refers to a period of incarceration that is served at the defendant’s home. Typically, defendants are required to serve a certain amount of time behind bars, followed by a term of house arrest. House arrest is an important program for state and local jails because it helps relieve overcrowding in detention facilities. It also enables defendants to more easily transition back into everyday life once they have served their time. Talk to a criminal defense attorney about whether you might be eligible for house arrest.

Eligibility for House Arrest

House arrest is only an option for those convicted of certain offenses. Generally, it’s reserved for those convicted of misdemeanor offenses. However, certain felony convictions can also be eligible, as long as the defendant had not previously been convicted of any type of felony. Those convicted of sexual offenses are not eligible for house arrest. (However, in Tucson, those convicted of prostitution can be eligible.) The following are situations that could disqualify a defendant from serving house arrest:

  • Determined to be a risk to him-or herself or to other members of the community
  • Prior history of violent behavior
  • Prior conviction of assault or any domestic violence charge
  • Prior conviction of child abuse
  • Determined to be residing in the U.S. without proper documentation

Your criminal defense attorney can take a closer look at your case to determine if state or local laws enable you to petition for house arrest.

Costs of House Arrest

In addition to relieving overcrowding in jails, another reason why house arrest is an attractive program for state and local officials is its impact on municipal budgets. It’s expensive to house and monitor inmates. Home confinement is far more cost-effective. Furthermore, the defendants are required to pay some of those costs. Before you ask a defense attorney to request house arrest on your behalf, be sure you can afford it. The electronic monitoring device generally costs between $10 and $30 per day. If you’re unable to pay, a sliding scale may be available. In addition, you may be required to undergo multiple drug and alcohol tests, which you must also pay for. If you were convicted of DUI, you must also participate in a substance abuse/alcohol treatment program. You’ll be required to pay for this as well. 

Requirements of House Arrest

You must abide by all requirements of your term of house arrest or you will be arrested and placed back in jail to serve the remainder of your term. The main requirement is to wear an electronic monitoring device at all times. This device informs the authorities of where you are. The authorities will know if you attempt to remove or tamper with the device. Other restrictions and requirements vary from one case and jurisdiction to the next. Defendants may be required to:

  • Abstain from drugs and alcohol
  • Attend court-ordered counseling
  • Attend court-ordered drug or alcohol treatment programs
  • Meet with probation or parole officers
  • Fulfill community service requirements

In addition, you may or may not be allowed to have visitors at your home while on house arrest. It’s essential that you carefully review and understand the requirements of your house arrest. Don’t hesitate to speak with your attorney if anything is unclear, as the consequences of violating the conditions of house arrest include being sent back to jail.

Exceptions to House Arrest

For most of the time that you’re on house arrest, you’re expected to remain in your home. However, there are times when you may be permitted to leave. For example, you may be required to leave your home in order to complete court-ordered treatment programs, counseling sessions, or meetings with your probation/parole officer. You might also be permitted to leave for medical appointments and school or work. However, you must always have permission to leave; do not leave your home unless you are specifically permitted to do so. If you are allowed to leave, you will be expected to return immediately to your home after your appointment.

Employment While on House Arrest

It is sometimes permitted to work while on house arrest, pending the court’s review of the appropriateness of your place of employment. Your employer will be notified that you’re on house arrest. If you do not show up for work without calling in sick or if your employment is terminated, then your employer is required to promptly notify the court.

Criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler will explore all possible avenues for keeping you out of jail, including the possibility of house arrest. Regardless of whether you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, your future and your freedom is at stake, and you need reliable legal counsel you can count on. Call the office of Janet Altschuler in Tucson at (520) 247-1789 to request a free initial consultation.

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