If you have been charged with a crime, facing jail can be a troubling prospect. Being away from friends, losing your job, and missing out on life are all very valid concerns. However, depending on the charges you’re facing, along with other factors, you may be sentenced to house arrest rather than jail. To help you better understand if this is the best option for you, a Raleigh criminal lawyer from Sandman, Finn, & Fitzhugh are breaking down how house arrest in North Carolina works.
What Is House Arrest in North Carolina?
House arrest refers to confinement in one’s home as an alternative to serving a sentence in jail or prison. Offenders are issued with an electronic monitoring device that is worn on the ankle to track their location and ensure they are following the terms of their home confinement.
Contrary to popular belief, being sentenced to house arrest doesn’t mean you can never leave your residence. Typically, there is a strict curfew in place, offenders are limited to a certain radius of where they live, and are limited to specific activities, including:
- Meetings with their probation officer
- Doctor’s appointments
Who Is Eligible for Home Confinement?
For an individual to receive house arrest in place of a jail sentence, it’s typically part of a plea agreement. The prosecutor will recommend it to the court and the court will approve or deny this sentence. Typically, home confinement is only available when the offender:
- Committed a non-violent crime
- Poses minimal risk to the community
- Does not have a criminal record
- Has a steady job
- Is a juvenile and under a paren’ts supervision
Once approved, the judge sets the length of your sentence and sets conditions you must meet, or face penalties if you break them. In this way, home confinement is similar to probation, but much more strict. Common conditions include:
- Meeting with a probation officer as well as receiving surprise visits from the probation officer to ensure compliance is met.
- Abstaining from drug and alcohol use.
- Partaking in random drug testing.
- Wearing the GPS electronic monitoring device.
- Following a set evening curfew.
Benefits and Challenges of House Arrest
Now that you have a better idea of what house arrest entails, let’s consider the benefits and drawbacks.
The main benefit of house arrest in North Carolina is getting to stay in your home and continue to be a part of the community. You get to keep your job, so you and your family won’t miss out on vital income, and if you’re in school, you’ll get to stay enrolled and take classes. Most importantly, you’ll get to stay close to your loved ones and not miss out on time and experiences with them which you would if you are sentenced to jail.
The main drawback of house arrest is that it costs the offender money. Typically, the state will charge anywhere from $4 to $10 a day in monitoring fees as well as administrative costs. Fortunately, if you file a motion showing an inability to pay or financial hardship, many of the fees can be waived. Also, unlike jail, you don’t get credit for time served or time off for good behavior. Once you are sentenced, you must serve it completely.
What Happens if You Violate House Arrest Conditions in North Carolina?
If you do not comply with the terms of your house arrest, it’s similar to a probation violation, with consequences that may include:
- Reciving a warning from your probation officer
- Increased term of house arrest
- Having stricter conditions set out in order to remain on home confinement
- Being found in contempt of court and required to serve up to 30 days in jail
- Having your house arrest and probation revoked and having to finish the rest of your sentence in jail.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Criminal Lawyer in Raleigh Today
If you have been arrested or are facing criminal charges, or you are accused of failing to comply with an existing home confinement order, you need an experienced criminal lawyer to represent you and work to get you the best practical outcome in your case. Speak with a lawyer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling (919) 887-8040 or filling out the form below to get started.