Home Detention / House Arrest in DUI Cases
Being arrested and convicted for a DUI is typically embarrassing enough. But when you add in the penalties and jail time, the entire process can seem too much for some people. In addition, many jails across the country are suffering from too little room for inmates and not enough employees to handle the workload. Certain states have addressed this problem by utilizing home detention for certain drunk driving cases.
How Home Monitoring Works
In the case of home monitoring, a person is assigned a schedule for work and home. The probation officer will call at home and ensure that the defendant is present. The probation officer may also call randomly at work or at home during the appropriate schedules to make sure the person is complying with the requirements.
For electronic monitoring, the defendant is required to rent or purchase the equipment used in the monitoring process. This equipment is usually an ankle bracelet or wristwatch device as well as a base. The anklet or watch sends a signal to the base describing their location. The base records this data and keeps a log that is transmitted via the internet or phone line back to the local authorities or a probation officer. Some courts may also require that the person has a breath testing unit at their home to see if the person is complying with any alcohol consumption restrictions.
Determining Home Detention For Those Arrested for DUI (House Arrest)
There is a misconception that people can barter or plead for home detention in exchange for jail time. This is not the case. All DUI cases carry a minimum amount of time that must be spent in jail. However, the court may decide that any jail time above the minimum can be served at home using surveillance devices, including items like Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAM) Bracelets. Usually, people with their first DUI offense will be offered to serve one or two days in jail and then serve several days under home monitoring. In addition, people with multiple DUI arrests may have to serve a significant amount of time in jail in addition to some time spent under home detention.
The Pros of Home Detention
Obviously, the biggest advantage of home detention for a person arrested for DUI is the opportunity to avoid a lot of jail time. But it also provides the person with a chance to carry on with their normal life. Most courts and DUI attorneys will stipulate that the defendant can attend work on a regular basis and also report to any doctor appointments. It is important for the defendant to stay in contact with their probation officer and keep the officer aware of their schedule and alert them immediately if there are any changes.
Besides going to work and taking care of necessary doctor visits, the person can stay in their own environment. Their kitchen is read for meal preparation, their bathroom is there for necessary items and they can sleep in their own bed.
Penalties of Home Detention
Anyone that is serving a sentence under home detention must realize the severity of the situation. Most of the time the home detention is extended over the mandatory jail time to impress upon the DUI offender the consequences of their crime. For instance, if a person serves only one day in jail because it is their first offense, they may serve 30 or 45 days of home detention. Considering the fact that the defendant is responsible for renting the equipment and paying the daily use charges, the fees can quickly add up.
In addition, if the person is found to be outside of their home base for any unaccepted reason, they have violated the terms of the home detention and will be sent to jail. They will then serve a sentence in jail according to the judge’s discretion on top of the mandatory time.
The ankle or watch devices are usually equipped with a monitor that detects any tampering. If people are guilty of trying to remove the device this may also violate the house arrest provisions. Some courts have ordered defendants to use a SCRAM device in conjunction with the monitoring equipment. This allows the court and the probation officer to keep tabs on the individual to ensure they are avoiding alcohol and are serious about changing their ways.