You made a mistake and committed a criminal offense. If it’s a non-violent offense like DUI or a drug-related crime, pleading guilty or being found guilty in court doesn’t have to mean spending months behind bars.
Counties throughout California, including Santa Clara County, offer an electronic monitoring program (EMP). Frequently known as “house arrest” or “wearing an ankle bracelet,” these programs are advantageous for defendants as well as the government. They free up jail and prison space for offenders who present a danger to the community or whose crimes warrant time behind bars.
The EMP helps people go about their lives
More importantly for defendants, being accepted into an EMP allows them to continue to work, attend school, care for their families, get therapy or alcohol/drug counseling and do any ordered community service. They are provided with limits to where they can go without activating the electronic monitoring device. Some devices can also detect alcohol and monitor compliance with any order not to consume alcohol, which is sometimes a court mandate after a DUI.
The EMP can also be used by those awaiting trial who would otherwise have to sit in jail until their case was heard. Unlike in many jurisdictions, the EMP is free to those who are accepted into it.
What can disqualify you from EMP participation?
As we noted, not everyone is eligible for the EMP. The county probation department reviews all applicants. Among those not eligible for EMP are:
- Those whose offense is a serious felony. This generally covers violent offenses, including domestic violence and violent sexual offenses.
- Those who don’t have a verifiable address
- Those who have other pending criminal court cases
In addition to wearing the ankle monitor, a person in the EMP is expected to comply with random searches of their home and surveillance, alcohol and/or drug testing. Anyone who violates the conditions of the program can expect to serve the remainder of their sentence or the time prior to their trial behind bars.
If you believe you qualify for the county’s EMP, it’s crucial to fully understand and adhere to all of the rules and conditions. Having sound legal guidance can help you take advantage of this option and eventually put it all behind you.