Electronic monitoring is an option increasingly used by Georgia courts and sheriffs as an alternative to jail for those who have pleaded guilty or been convicted of certain crimes. It can also be used while awaiting trial as an alternative to sitting in jail.
It typically involves wearing an “ankle bracelet” that tracks a person’s location. For counties throughout Georgia, it helps reduce jail/prison overcrowding. It allows people to continue working and participating in any “assigned educational or other rehabilitative program.”
Who can qualify for electronic monitoring?
Not just anyone can choose electronic monitoring instead of jail. Under Georgia law, for a person to be approved for it, they should generally meet the following qualifications:
- Have no record of “assaultive offenses of an aggravated nature” or history of some other offenses, like drug trafficking or distribution, or attempting to escape from authorities in the past five years.
- Not have any outstanding warrants or orders
- Not have any conditions that would “interfere with the ability to work on a regular schedule.”
- Work only for a “legitimate, recognized, and established employer.”
Going anywhere besides between your home and the approved locations for any reason or attempting to disable or remove the ankle bracelet can land you in serious trouble. Besides having to give up your right to home arrest, you can be charged with a misdemeanor and potentially with attempting to escape. Once you breach the requirements of home arrest, it’s no longer an option for the current offense.
Know what electronic monitoring involves before you do it
If you have the option of home arrest, either as you’re awaiting trial or as a penalty for a criminal offense, it’s crucial to understand the rules and be certain that you can follow them. Sometimes, people dealing with a DUI are fitted with ankle bracelets that can detect alcohol in a person’s perspiration. Whether yours does or not, if not drinking is a condition of your home arrest, that must be followed as well.
Further, while ankle bracelets are no longer just an option for the wealthy and well-connected, there are financial costs involved. However, by being able to continue working, you can more than defray the cost.
Before you seek or accept participation in a home arrest program, it’s wise to learn more about it. Having experienced legal guidance can help you make the best decision for yourself and your family.