What should you know about electronic monitoring?

The thought of spending even a night behind bars can be terrifying to many people facing a DWI or other charge – especially if they’ve never been in trouble with the law before. Fortunately, there may be other options if you are in a situation where your best alternative under the circumstances is to plead guilty and work to minimize the consequences.

An increasingly used alternative to incarceration is electronic monitoring. While it used to be associated with the rich and famous, people from every walk of life are using this option now. 

Jails and prisons have been long been seriously overcrowded, and public health concerns over the past couple of years have made prison overcrowding even more dangerous for those incarcerated and employees alike. 

Therefore, prosecutors and judges are often willing to allow a defendant who’s not considered dangerous to serve their sentence with an ankle monitor to track them. Electronic monitoring may also be an alternative to sitting in jail if you’re awaiting trial.

Abiding by the program restrictions is key

Electronic monitoring programs in Texas are under the supervision of the county. If you are allowed to participate in one of these programs, you’ll need to pay a fee for the cost of the equipment and the monitoring. However, you’ll be able to continue working, which you wouldn’t be if you were in jail. Although it’s often referred to as “house arrest,” people in these programs generally are allowed to travel within the area as needed to go to work, attend school and fulfill court appointments, counseling or other commitments related to their charge.

If you have the choice of electronic monitoring as an alternative to being behind bars, it may seem like an obvious choice. However, it’s important to know precisely what restrictions you’ll be under and be confident that you can live with them. For example, if you were charged with DWI, you likely won’t be allowed to use alcohol. There are special ankle monitors that can detect it,  so don’t assume that you’re on the honor system. 

If you’re caught breaching any of the restrictions of your electronic monitoring, even accidentally, you could end up awaiting your trial or serving your sentence behind bars. With experienced legal guidance, you can determine the best alternative for you.

FindLaw Network