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Going to jail isn’t any fun. It’s something everyone tries to avoid, which is why so many people hope that the judge handling their case will agree to house arrest rather than a jail sentence.

Not everyone is eligible for house arrest in California, especially if the house arrest is being used instead of an actual jail sentence. For house arrest to even be a consideration during your sentencing, a few criteria must be met.

Conditions for house arrest in California include:

  • The charges can’t be for a felony crime
  • The charges must be non-violent in nature
  • Your home is equipped with a working phone
  • You must have a stable home (a history of living at the same address)

The most important component of house arrest is that you agree to wear an electronic tracking device that allows the police to easily see where you are at all times. Even though the general shape and comfort of these devices have improved in recent years, they’re still cumbersome and embarrassing to wear.

The other thing you have to understand when it comes to house arrest is that while you may not be confined to a jail cell, you’re still very limited in what you can do. The judge wants you to understand that this is a form of punishment for the crime you’ve committed. You’re only going to be allowed to leave your home to do things like go to work/school. You won’t be allowed to enjoy an evening stroll around the block, there’s no going out to the movies on Saturday night, and you aren’t allowed to go for a long drive after a long work shift.

When you’ve been ordered to house arrest in California, you not only have to submit to wearing an electronic monitoring device that lets the police know where you’ll be, but you’ll also have to provide the police with your schedule in advance. They’ll compare the schedule you provided with the data transmitted by your GPS device. If things don’t add up, you’ll be arrested a second time.

Most people find house arrest in California preferable to spending several months in jail, but it’s not a walk in the park. Problems connected to house arrest include not taking it seriously and forgetting that you have to follow the rules, growing bored when you have nothing to do but sit around the house all day, and having to deal with unexpected issues that create problems with scheduling such as unexpected problems with your work schedule and traffic delays.

What are your thoughts on house arrest in California?