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What Is Electronic Monitoring?

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What Is an Alternative Sentence?

An individual convicted of a criminal act will receive a sentence consisting of jail time, prison time, or an alternative. An alternative sentence is one that deviates from the traditional sentence of time behind bars and/or paying fines. Alternative sentences include work furloughs, community service, community corrections programs, and diversion and rehabilitation programs. An individual may also receive an alternative sentence that includes electronic monitoring, such as house arrest of alcohol intake monitoring.

What Is Electronic Monitoring?

Electronic monitoring is a monitoring system that includes a residential phone line, a monitoring device, and an ankle bracelet. It keeps track of the defendant’s every move. The residential phone line cannot have specific features such as call forwarding, caller identification, or call waiting. The electronic monitoring system does not work on cellular phones.

How Does Electronic Monitoring Work?

The monitoring system obtains a continual coded signal transmitted from the ankle bracelet. The signals are transmitted via the telephone line. These signals track the wearer’s every movement. For example, the device can detect when the monitored person enters or exits their house. The system can even detect if the person tries to or does:

  • Remove the bracelet
  • Tamper with the bracelet
  • Alter the bracelet
  • Damage the bracelet

Can the Electronic Device Test My Breath?

Yes. Some monitoring devices can test a person’s breath as well. This type of accessory is used by police to test the alcohol concentration level of the wearer.

Who Receives the Transmitted Information?

The electronic monitoring provider receives the information transmitted via the telephone line. It’s the provider’s job to distribute a status report to the probation office or court over the defendant’s case.

Are Electronic Monitoring Devices Used in Immigration Cases?

Yes. The devices are used to make sure the immigrant is complying with removal orders while they avoid being formally detained.

When Is Electronic Monitoring an Option?

Electronic monitoring is usually an option when the sentence involves probation house arrest or drug testing. 

Should I Contact a Criminal Lawyer about Electronic Monitoring?

Yes. If you are facing criminal charges that could result in being monitored, contact a criminal lawyer regarding electronic monitoring. Your lawyer will help you understand if you are eligible to receive it and/or how to go about getting this alternative sentence.

Photo of page author Taelonnda Sewell

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 11-10-2015 10:03 AM PST

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