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    Understanding House Arrest, Home Confinement or In Home Detention as a Jail Alternative in Colorado Criminal Sentencing Cases

    Introduction – Home Detention – House Arrest is an option In a case where a sentence to probation is an alternative to the Court. Home detention is a very desirable result as the Defendant is allowed to live at home – usually with an ankle monitor. This web page addresses the nature and kind of terms and conditions surrounding that sentence.

    House arrest…sometimes referred to as home confinement, home detention, or electronic monitoring…is a type of alternative sentencing.

    “Alternative sentencing” provides a convicted defendant with alternatives to a jail or prison sentence.

    The Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney handling your case seeking a sentence to home detention must make a very persuasive argument to allow you to serve your sentence under house arrest / home confinement rather than in jail or prison.

    What is House Arrest In Colorado?

    Although house arrest can exclusively confine you to your residence, that isn’t always the case. When the judge places you on home confinement or detention, he/she orders you to abide by specific terms and conditions that restrict your freedom and mobility. After all, home confinement is still punishment…it’s simply more desirable than traditional incarceration.

    These terms and conditions may include:

    curfew restrictions,

    random drug testing, and/or

    in-office face-to-face meetings or home visits with your probation or parole officer.


    depending on the severity of your offense and your criminal record…the judge will probably allow you to work or attend school,

    travel to medical appointments, attend and participate in counseling appointments, alcohol / drug classes, community service, etc., tend to family obligations, and participate in any other court-approved activities, provided that you only travel to/from court-approved appointments/locations and are in your home when you are otherwise required to be there.

    A  judge just doesn’t offer house arrest.  Home confinement…and, for that matter, any type of alternative sentencing…is a privilege which must be requested by your Colorado criminal defense lawyer. In all honesty…most requests get denied. The attorney has to know how to convince the prosecutor and judge that his/her client is deserving of such an opportunity and that he/she will benefit from its imposition.”

    It is important to understand that as the offender, you are generally responsible for paying any costs that are associated with regulating your house arrest sentence (although you will not be excluded from participating in home detention or confinement based exclusively on an inability to pay).

    How Do the Courts Monitor Home Confinement?

    House arrest is monitored via electronic monitoring. Electronic monitoring is administered in a number of ways, depending on the county in which you live. Some typical examples include (but are not limited to):

    Basic electronic transmission

    Here, you will be fitted with an ankle transmitter and a home monitoring unit. The bracelet sends a 24-hour signal to the monitoring agency and accounts for any irregularities. “Irregularities” include tampering with the instrument, violating your curfew, or traveling outside your authorized radius. This type of system can be set up as long as you have a power outlet and access to a standard phone line or cellular service.

    Global Positioning System (GPS)

    GPS is the most advanced of the home detention devices. It uses commercial cellular networks to transmit data 24-hours a day to the monitoring agency. GPS tracking allows the supervising agency to create specific inclusion and exclusion zones, mapping, and tracking. The agency knows your exact whereabouts at all times.

    Many courthouses throughout Colorado utilize this technology.

    The Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAM) device

    Judges only order the SCRAM device for the defendant who has been convicted of alcohol-related offenses (or who the judge believes may have an issue with alcohol). This alcohol bracelet continuously monitors alcohol concentration, not your whereabouts.

    Colorado courts are beginning to use these devices more and more…especially in driving under the influence cases where the defendant has prior D.U.I. convictions.

    Drug patches – Drug patches are sometimes used to monitor those convicted of California drug offenses. These patches are removed and replaced weekly. Once removed, they are tested for traces of marijuana, heroin, PCP, cocaine, and methamphetamine.

    Violating the Terms of Your Colorado Home Detention Sentence

    When the monitoring agency receives an alert that you have violated the exact terms and conditions that were imposed in connection with your house arrest, it notifies your probation or parole officer. And Colorado probation laws allow your probation or parole officer to arrest you without relying on a Colorado arrest warrant.

    If…following a probation violation hearing…the judge believes that you have violated the terms of your home detention, he/she may revoke your house arrest and order you to serve the remainder of your sentence in jail or prison.

    This is simply another reason why having an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney is important to have the opportunity to convince a judge to allow you another opportunity to comply with home confinement before he/she imposes incarceration.

    Call us for assistance…

    For questions about Colorado house arrest, or to discuss your case confidentially do not hesitate to contact our firm – The Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm.

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    H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
    Attorney and Counselor at Law
    The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
    A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
    Colorado Criminal Law For Over 40 Years.
    The Edward Building
    8400 East Prentice Ave, Penthouse 1500
    Greenwood Village, Colorado, 80111
    E-Mail:  [email protected]
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