If you’re facing a first-time DUI and you’ve never been in trouble with the law, the thought of having to spend even a couple of nights behind bars can be understandably unsettling – maybe even terrifying. That’s why it’s important to know that there are other options if it’s impossible to avoid a conviction.
Tennessee, like other states, allows some people to avoid jail time with electronic monitoring. You may know it as “house arrest” or “wearing an ankle bracelet.” This isn’t just an option for wealthy, connected people. With prison overcrowding at an all-time high, many courts welcome this alternative for people who haven’t committed a violent offense and aren’t considered a serious threat. Sometimes, it’s also an alternative for those who would otherwise have to stay in jail while waiting for their trial to begin.
Know what restrictions you’ll be under
Electronic monitoring isn’t for everyone – even if you qualify. It’s crucial to understand the restrictions before you agree to it and be ready and willing to comply. Contrary to the term “house arrest,” you’ll likely be able to continue with certain activities outside of your home, like going to work, school, recovery meetings and court dates. However, if you go somewhere else without notifying the right authorities, you’ll be in violation of the program’s rules and could find yourself in jail.
Some ankle monitors can detect alcohol. You may be fitted with one of those if you’re prohibited from drinking, as often happens if you have a DUI offense. Therefore, if you’re not sure you can abstain for the length of your monitoring, this probably isn’t the right choice for you.
There’s a lot more to know about electronic monitoring. If you have experienced legal guidance, you can determine whether it’s something you want to seek and improve your chances of being approved.