Can I Serve My Sentence on House Arrest Instead of Going to Jail?

If you’ve been charged with a crime, it’s normal to be concerned about the possibility of going to jail. How will incarceration affect your job and your family? If you have children, you’re probably worried about how you will care for them if you’re required to spend time behind bars. Understandably, many people wonder if it’s possible to serve their sentence under house arrest rather than going to jail if they’re convicted.  

Texas law allows courts to sentence an individual to house arrest. While house arrest isn’t very common, it may be possible to convince the court to grant you house arrest rather than time in jail. If you’re interested in serving a sentence under house arrest, you should speak with an experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer.  During the times of Covid-19, you should consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer like Dallas criminal lawyer who was a former federal criminal prosecutor.  

Who Is Eligible for House Arrest? 

You can be sentenced to house arrest if you’re convicted of a misdemeanor crime. When the court orders you to serve house arrest, you must comply with all the terms of your sentence. Many people believe house arrest means they are never permitted to leave their home under any circumstances. 

However, this is rarely the case. In most situations, the court will permit the individual to leave their home to attend to important responsibilities. This can include work, looking after children, and even day-to-day necessities such as grocery shopping. In some situations, the court may restrict the individual to their home with exceptions only in the case of emergencies. In general, courts in Texas have broad discretion when it comes to setting the terms of house arrest. 

On the occasions the individual is allowed to leave home, however, they are typically required to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet on their ankle. It’s common for the court to require the defendant to cover all costs for the ankle bracelet and for monitoring services.

In cases in which the defendant is convicted of a drunk driving offense, the judge may impose house arrest with the condition that the defendant is required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. When the device is installed, the individual must blow into a machine before the vehicle will start. If the machine registers the presence of alcohol, the car won’t start. Additionally, the system will notify the monitoring service that the individual has alcohol in their system. 

House Arrest Is Still a Serious Sentence 

If you’re placed under house arrest, it’s critical to comply with all of the terms of your sentence. Just because you have the flexibility of being at home doesn’t mean you can come and go as you please. In most cases, the court will require the defendant to make regular reports to a parole officer.

You may also be required to complete certain coursework or programs as part of your sentence. For example, if you were convicted of drunk driving, the court may require you to attend alcohol addiction rehabilitation or training. If you fail to comply with these requirements, the court can revoke your house arrest and require you to spend the rest of your sentence in jail.  

When Do Courts Grant House Arrest? 

While the court has the discretion to grant house arrest for misdemeanors, courts are only likely to allow it under specific circumstances. For example, a defendant convicted of a violent crime or a crime involving a weapon probably isn’t going to be successful in asking to be placed on house arrest. 

The court will also look at factors like the defendant’s criminal history and whether this is their first offense or a repeat offense. The court may also consider the defendant’s responsibilities and the likelihood of them losing their job if they’re required to spend time incarcerated. 

It’s important to remember that house arrest isn’t a right, and asking for it doesn’t guarantee the court will grant it. Whether a defendant is eligible for house arrest is largely within the court’s discretion.

This is why it’s essential to work with a knowledgeable Texas criminal defense lawyer. Your lawyer can help you decide whether it’s in your best interest to ask for house arrest, as well as prepare a motion that sets forth all the reasons why house arrest is appropriate in your case.  

How Does a Person Get House Arrest? 

If you would like to be placed on house arrest, the typical route to request it is to consult with a John Helms Dallas criminal defense lawyer. Your lawyer can prepare a motion and file it with the court.

The motion should offer compelling arguments designed to persuade the judge that time in jail could result in unnecessarily negative consequences, such as the loss of a good job. If the defendant is a single parent with no family members who could care for their children, the motion might argue that it would be detrimental to the defendant’s children if the defendant was confined to jail.     

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