If you’re looking at a potential jail sentence, you may have the option of what is commonly called “house arrest.” Virginia law refers to it as a “home/electronic incarceration program.” This option can often allow people to continue to work, go to school and care for their children while still serving their sentence.
State and local law enforcement agencies make use of this program where it’s appropriate because it saves the government a considerable amount of money since the defendant has to pay some of the costs. It also helps with prison overcrowding. Of course, it’s not right for everyone, but it can be an option for those who aren’t considered a threat to the community.
Before you agree to participate in the program, it’s essential that you understand precisely what will be required of you. If you don’t comply with all the conditions, you’re likely going to end up behind bars. It’s important to understand the following:
Where you’re allowed to go and when while on house arrest
Most people aren’t required to stay inside their homes 24/7. They’re usually allowed to go to work, the doctor and other approved activities during specified hours. However, any variation from this, especially without pre-approval, can get you in trouble.
Remember that you’re wearing an ankle monitor that tracks your location. Depending on the offense you were charged with, your monitor may also be able to detect alcohol use. If a condition of your home incarceration is that you don’t consume alcohol, you might be fitted with a monitor that detects it.
How much it will cost you to stay on house arrest
You’ll need to pay a fee for the monitoring equipment and potentially other fees. Under Virginia law, if you’re participating in the program, your wages can also be garnished to pay “fines, restitution or costs as ordered by the court.”
How long your home incarceration will last
You’ll likely have to spend more time in the home monitoring/incarceration program than you would in jail. You’re not entitled to time off for good behavior as you would be behind bars.
In some cases, home incarceration can be used as an alternative to spending time in jail while awaiting sentencing. If home monitoring/incarceration is an option, it’s wise to discuss it with your attorney to determine whether it’s the right choice for you.