DUI / DWI defendants face serious consequences if convicted, including fines, license suspensions, and jail time. However, a jail sentence can sometimes be avoided through alternative sentencing programs such as electronic monitoring.
Electronic monitoring, also known as “house arrest”, allows the convicted DUI offender to be confined at home instead of jail. The option is typically offered as a condition of probation. If the DUI offender doesn’t comply with the terms of house arrest, he or she violates the terms of probation, and likely will have to serve time in jail.
The cost of electronic monitoring programs is paid by the DUI offender. There are many different programs and companies who are licensed to provide electronic monitoring.
Electronic monitoring may include the ability to work during the day, with the requirement that the DUI offender remain at home during the evening, when most Driving Under the Influence arrests occur.
Some programs involve an electronic device that straps to the wrist or ankle linked to a monitor in the offender’s home. The device sends a signal to a computer at the probation office or a contractor that indicates whether the defendant is in compliance with the terms of house arrest.
Some programs require the DUI offender to respond to random phone calls to insure compliance with house arrest. Other programs involve the use of global positioning systems (GPS) which monitor the location of the defendant via satellite. The devices record whether the offender stays within an assigned area, such as the home or workplace.
Only certain DUI offenders are eligible for alternative sentencing such as house arrest. For a first offense, there is no mandatory jail time, but a judge may impose a sentence of up to six months in jail. For such an offender, electronic monitoring may be a viable option. However, for individuals with more than one DUI conviction within 10 years, jail time may be mandatory. A California criminal defense attorney experienced in drunk driving defense can evaluate each case to determine whether electronic monitoring may be an option.