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In an effort to eliminate overcrowding in jails, judges sometimes sentence offenders to house arrest. This can be beneficial for both the government and the offender because it costs less to confine someone in their own home, and it also allows that person to continue working and making a living. So when is house arrest used, and what are the terms that are usually associated with it?
Home confinement is generally given to non-violent offenders and occasionally to those who commit juvenile crimes. Those chosen for this type of sentencing typically have no prior arrests and are not associated with gang activity. Individuals who are currently employed or have a steady employment history are usually highly considered.
While on house arrest, the offender will be responsible for paying a monthly fee, which is usually based upon his or her income. These fees are assessed in addition to any court-ordered fines or probation fees that are also required. According to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, home detention fees help offset the cost of electronic monitoring equipment and the expenses associated with having a community corrections officer monitor one’s whereabouts.
Those who are on house arrest must adhere to a stringent schedule. They are typically permitted to leave their home only when going to work or when looking for work. Special exceptions could be granted in the event there is a medical emergency. Extra time may also be given to allow the offender to attend religious services.
While on house arrest, offenders agree not to possess illegal drugs or alcohol and to otherwise obey the law. This includes avoiding people of bad character or harboring known criminals. Individuals could be subjected to random drug and alcohol tests. The premises of their homes may also be searched if there is just cause to do so.
Community corrections officers may check up on an individual by dropping by his or her residence or place of employment. If it is discovered that a detainee has violated the terms of house arrest, he or she could be arrested and resentenced on the original charge. This normally results in that person serving the remainder of his or her incarceration time behind bars, and it could also result in additional charges as well.
Home confinement allows the accused to retain more privacy than if he or she were incarcerated. Those on house arrest can also continue to maintain relationships with family and friends. The benefits of house arrest are numerous, yet this sentencing option is not always offered by the prosecution. Instead, it typically comes after a skillful negotiation conducted by a defense attorney.
If you’d like to know more, get in touch with Shahin Zamir at 713-223-8900.