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Is house arrest appropriate for a DUI conviction?

Those facing drunk driving charges in Illinois should be relieved to learn that ours is not a state where there is mandatory jail time like some where even those convicted of first-offense DUI must serve time behind bars.

Of course, each case is independently reviewed and outcomes are based on the circumstances of the specific incident, as well as many other factors. But the fact remains that Illinois has several sentencing options for those who plead guilty to or are convicted on drunk driving charges.

Could I get house arrest in lieu of jail time?

One sentencing possibility, especially for those with multiple convictions on their records, is house arrest. The argument for this type of punishment could be strengthened if the defendants are parents responsible for caring for their children or assumed caregiving duties for any dependent adult. There may also be other mitigating circumstances that make this an appropriate consequence, such as a chronic illness or disability.

You will be monitored — but could have a long cord

Courts monitor convicted defendants in a couple of ways, including ankle monitors and Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM) bracelets that record any alcohol usage by the defendant by monitoring levels of alcohol in the wearer's perspiration.

Defendants must assume the costs of installing and monitoring any devices as part of their sentencing.

In some cases, those on house arrest may get permission to leave home in order to:

  • Go to work
  • Seek medical treatment
  • Attend religious services
  • Go to school
  • Purchase groceries and other necessities
  • Visit family
  • Transport kids to school and back

These forays from home are limited by time and geographic barriers. There are also usually curfew hours in effect when the monitored person must be in their home. Those on house arrest are under the supervision of the probation and parole division of law enforcement.

How long will I be on house arrest?

Generally, people on house arrest must remain under restriction for at least as long as they would serve a traditional prison sentence for the same offense. If your incarceration in prison would be for one year, you can expect to serve a year's house arrest.

Those who fail to uphold the terms of their alternative sentencing and continue to drink, use drugs or be noncompliant with monitoring could face enhanced sentencing spent behind bars.

Should my attorney seek house arrest?

That decision is best left up to your experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney who knows the circumstances of your case, as well as the strength of the prosecution's. In some cases, it could be the best possible outcome to pursue.

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