One condition of parole for many defendants is that they can’t leave their homes. If they do, then they can be arrested and have their parole revoked, ending back up behind bars to finish the rest of their sentence. Other parolees have permission to leave the house but not the city or county.
Many defendants find ankle monitors embarrassing and even oppressive. Nothing signals you are on parole quite like a visible ankle monitor. Even if you obtain permission to go to work, you might fear that your coworkers will see the monitor and ask, “What’s that?”
At Tad Nelson & Associates, we have helped many people get parole so they can get out of prison, start working again, and be with their families. In this article, our Galveston criminal defense lawyer takes a deep dive into the law surrounding ankle monitors.
What is an Ankle Monitor?
An ankle monitor is a type of monitoring device. There are two types of monitors: a GPS device or a radio frequency device. The GPS device always tells your parole officer your location, whereas the radio frequency device will send a signal when you leave your prescribed geographic area. As you can imagine, a GPS device provides more information, such as whether you are actually going to work or participating in community service.
Many people are confined to their homes for the duration of parole. However, you can seek permission to travel for certain activities, like attending work, school, or church. You might also need to leave the house to attend rehabilitation or treatment. And, of course, you will need to leave the house to buy groceries and seek medical care.
Even if granted permission to leave, you probably will have a curfew. This means you need to be back home by a certain time.
In most cases, defendants are responsible for paying for the ankle monitor. There are daily fees, which can really add up. Some defendants are paying up to $25 a day. You should discuss the cost with your attorney.
Are You Eligible for an Ankle Monitor?
The good news is that house arrest is a popular means of serving out a sentence. Texas jails are overcrowded as it is. And although Texas has a “tough on crime” reputation, the fact is that there are a limited number of beds. Letting you finish a sentence at home with an ankle monitor is an attractive option.
Many politicians also support house arrest because of the expense. It is much less expensive to the state to have convicted criminals wear an ankle monitor than to build more prisons–especially if you are paying for the monitor.
Some judges will order home confinement as an alternative to jail or prison, especially for the following defendants:
- First-time offenders
- Juvenile offenders
- Non-violent offenders
- Those who are employed in stable jobs
- Anyone ill or incapacitated
Someone with a long criminal record or a violent crime offense is far less likely to qualify.
If you are currently serving a sentence in prison, you might seek parole, which allows you to get out early and complete the remainder at home. Most prisoners are eligible unless they were sentenced without the possibility of parole. Good conduct improves your ability to get parole earlier In many cases. Ultimately, the amount of time you must serve depends on many factors, such as the crime that sent you behind bars.
What Happens if You Remove the Device?
Because you must always wear the ankle monitor, removing it without permission is a crime. No matter how embarrassing you find it, you should consider the consequences of an illegal removal. Currently, legislators in Texas are trying to increase this crime to a felony.
You can also face the revocation of your parole if you remove the device to leave your home without permission. This is probably the main reason why people try to remove their ankle monitor. If a judge revokes your parole, you can end up back behind bars to complete the remainder of your sentence. Remember that parole is a privilege—and one that you can lose.
You might also face other charges if you end up committing crimes with the ankle monitor off. Decide to go to a school to sell some drugs? Now you are facing additional criminal penalties for the new offense.
How Can Tad Nelson Help?
We have sought probation for many first-time offenders, which keeps them out of jail. We can also help those already behind bars seek parole or maintain parole after an alleged violation.
Please contact our law firm today. Our Galveston criminal defense attorneys will advise you of the best legal options to take.