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How Can I Get House Arrest in Philadelphia?


10/29/2020

You have been arraigned on new criminal charges and are stuck in jail with a high bail that you cannot afford to pay. Maybe you have already been convicted of criminal charges, and now you are prepared to go to jail. In either situation, you won’t necessarily have to “do time” in a state or county prison. Some individuals are eligible to receive alternatives to prison, including a suspended sentence, probation, fines, community service, and house arrest. These alternatives can be beneficial to not only the person charged or convicted but also the criminal justice system. They help keep jail populations manageable and can be more economical. If you are curious about getting house arrest either pre-trial or after your conviction, don’t delay speaking with an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense attorney.

What Is House Arrest?

The United States criminal justice system uses house arrest or home detention or confinement to reduce repeat offenses and decrease overcrowding and the outbreak of infectious diseases (such as COVID-19) in prisons. Generally, there are two types of house arrest:

  • Pretrial home confinement – The court sentences an individual to await trial at home.
  • Home confinement as a sentence – An individual receives a conviction, and the court sentences them to serve their time at home with the use of electronic monitoring instead of in a state-run prison facility.

For each case, the court lays out the specific terms of the house arrest agreement, which the defendant must sign. Terms of house arrest often are:

  • Abstaining from illegal activity
  • Staying clean and sober
  • Avoiding contact with specific people

You are typically allowed to attend school or work while on house arrest. However, as soon as your school day or workday is over, you must immediately return home. The court might also require you to:

  • Wear an electronic monitoring device
  • Meet in person with your supervisor face to face each month
  • Have three additional contacts with the supervisor during the month
  • Comply with drug and alcohol testing on demand
  • Participate in drug and alcohol treatment sessions

If you don’t follow a condition of your probation, the court will revoke the probation and return you to jail. House arrest is a privilege, and you should treat it as such. It is not a right or a guarantee.

Your Eligibility for House Arrest in Philadelphia

Only the court makes final determinations about house arrest or other sentences. You are more likely to be granted house arrest if you:

  • Have less serious charges.
  • Do not have a history of violent crimes.
  • Make a steady income.
  • Have family or work obligations.
  • Cannot post bail.
  • Are actively seeking employment.
  • Participating in an education or vocational program
  • Taking part in a community service program

House arrest is often beneficial because it allows you to maintain your regular work schedule and continue to go to school or participate in community service. Most people are also allowed to leave their house for counseling sessions, doctor’s appointments, community service, grocery shopping, and other court-approved activities.

Keep in mind, however, that your house becomes your jail. You can’t leave anytime you feel like it. You have a court-approved schedule, and your whereabouts will be tracked with your electronic monitoring device 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You must return home as soon as it is no longer necessary for you to be out and in accordance with your pre-approved schedule. Even if you are going to an approved activity, you must get permission from your probation officer.

Additionally, you must have the means to cover the partial cost of your house arrest. Most people on house arrest must pay a weekly or monthly amount for their monitoring device and the monitoring service. The price of house arrest varies from one probation department to the next. Some have a set price for everyone. Others determine cost on a sliding scale according to the ability to pay.

Obtaining House Arrest in Philadelphia

If you believe house arrest is the best option for you and that you meet the eligibility requirements, ask your Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer to present your request to the court. If the judge determines that there is a compelling reason for you to be in the community, but your crime is too severe for probation, and you require more supervision, they can order you to serve your time on house arrest with electronic monitoring.

If you have been charged with criminal offenses in Philadelphia and cannot afford to post bail, you may be eligible to file a motion for pre-trial house arrest in Philadelphia Municipal Court or the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

If your charge does necessitate jail time, your option for house arrest might depend on how crowded the jails are or if there are any infectious disease outbreaks. Your Philadelphia criminal defense attorney can point out and prove the reasons why house arrest would be a good alternative for you instead of going to jail.

Revocation of House Arrest Orders

You must understand your specific requirements and expectations for house arrest. If you don’t understand them or have questions, be sure to contact the appropriate agency or your Philadelphia criminal defense attorney.

Similar to parole, if you don’t comply with your house arrest orders, you return to jail to serve the rest of your sentence or await trial there. Once sent back, it is highly unlikely that you will be eligible for house arrest again.

Contact Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney Lauren Wimmer Today

If the law charges you with an offense that includes jail time if found guilty, you need aggressive representation from an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer. Your lawyer can help you navigate the upcoming hearings and your potential sentencing. Keep in mind that house arrest is not available for every county and every offense. However, you could be eligible for pretrial or post-conviction house arrest if you meet the requirements and agree to adhere to the court’s conditions.

Lauren Wimmer and her professional legal team are knowledgeable about Philadelphia and Pennsylvania sentencing guidelines and can go over what options might be available for your case. Contact our offices today so we can start advocating for you and your rights. Call 215-712-1212 or use our online contact form to get your free case review. The sooner you contact us, the more we can help you.