Pennsylvania is pretty progressive when it comes to enforcing alternative sentences to incarceration. One of the most traditional options for defendants is house arrest. When a defendant is put on house arrest, their house essentially becomes a jail. House arrest can be pretty restrictive for some, as it completely prohibits narcotics, alcohol, firearms and other forbidden items from the home. Also, most activities that ensue in the home will be closely monitored by supervising officers.
Below are a few facts that you should know about this sentence.
1. House arrest can be an alternative to incarceration or bail
Traditionally, house arrest is used as an alternative punishment to jail. It's usually ordered in situations when a defendant would fare best in the community, but the crime committed or criminal history is too severe for probation.
Also, instead of waiting in jail for trial or paying bail to be released, an attorney can request pretrial house arrest. This allows defendants with numerous obligations like work, school, parenting, etc. to tend to their lives while going through the process.
The matter of whether house arrest is an available option certain defendants depends on the county they live in and its rules. Some counties are hesitant to allow this sentence, while others temporarily order this sentence if jails are overcrowded.
2. House arrest traditionally requires you to own a landline phone
Because of the portable cellular phone, landline phones have become a thing of the past. But although solely having access to a cell phone is now common, it's not always enough to satisfy the terms of this sentence. House arrest requires a landline phone because most jurisdictions call this number at random times of the day to ensure the defendant is actually home. Some jurisdictions are adapting with the times, however; for example, house arrest in Philadelphia can be imposed as a sentence with a cell phone.
3. House arrest comes with additional requirements
Being on house arrest is a harsh punishment all by itself. But to the horror of defendants, it almost always comes with additional requirements. The types of terms enforced vary depending on the jurisdiction. But most defendants are faced with random drug and alcohol tests, the burden of maintaining employment or attending school, meeting with a probation or parole officer periodically, and obviously, coming straight home after doing permitted activities.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
A significant part of being adequately prepared for your case entails seeking the help of an experienced attorney. A legal professional who defends criminal defense cases will know the ins and outs of the process and can help put you on a course of action that is ideal for your circumstances. Attorney Joseph D. Lento brings a wealth of experience to the table, as he's successfully handled numerous cases just like yours. But most importantly, his familiarity with the overall process can be a source of comfort for you in one of the most stressful times of your life. For more information about his representation or how he can help you, contact him online or by phone today at 215-535-5353.