Anyone Have Info on the House Arrest Ankle Bracelet?

Written by James Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

In an increasingly mobile world, house arrest ankle bracelets have many practical purposes. They're most commonly used to monitor the movements and behaviors of repeat drug and impaired-driving offenders serving active sentences of probation. In many jurisdictions, they represent a partial solution to the perennial problem of overcrowded prisons. Most states offer convicts the option to wear an ankle bracelet during a period of supervised probation in lieu of spending time in prison.

Some ankle bracelets are relatively simple devices that use GPS technology to alert the authorities when their wearers deviate from a pre-planned route. Others are more complex affairs designed to detect traces of alcohol or illegal drugs in the blood. In both cases, ankle bracelets can be powerful deterrents for convicts who might otherwise flout the terms of their probation sentences.

House arrest is commonly meted out for non-violent misdemeanors like impaired driving, drug possession, burglary, auto theft and certain financial crimes. In jurisdictions with perennially overcrowded prisons or high rates of violent crime, it may also be a sentencing option for more serious offenses like armed robbery, simple assault, or impaired-driving accidents that result in significant injury or property damage.

If you're forced to wear an ankle bracelet as a condition of your house arrest, you'll need to remain within the confines of your home or yard for most of the day. If you're gainfully employed, you'll likely receive a variance that permits you to travel to and from work along a pre-planned route. If the GPS device on your ankle bracelet indicates that you've deviated from this route, lingered for too long at a non-approved location along the way, or removed your bracelet for any reason, it may automatically send a signal to your probation officer or local police department.

If this happens, you'll probably be arrested on suspicion of violating your probation. In short order, you'll find yourself standing before a judge to explain your alleged disregard for the terms of your supervision. Unless you can provide a compelling reason for deviating from your routine, your probation will be voided and your original sentence will be reinstated. In many cases, this means that you'll have to spend some time in prison.

You must wear your ankle bracelet at all times until your house arrest sentence has lapsed or been lifted. The device is waterproof and can be worn under most types of clothing.

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