What Is Electronic Monitoring?

Electronic monitoring is an alternative punishment that can be used in certain cases, including DUI cases. If a defendant qualifies for electronic monitoring, that can be used in place of (or in some cases in addition to) jail time. However, the defendant may still face other penalties, such as probation and fines.

Electronic monitoring involves wearing an ankle bracelet that electronically tracks the individual’s location constantly. The electronic bracelet transmits information on the individual’s whereabouts to law enforcement. The individual is told where he or she can travel. He or she may be confined to his or her home (also known as house arrest). The person may be able to travel within a certain radius of home, work or school. The details of where the defendant is allowed to travel are determined by the court.

If the signal is interrupted, which could happen if the individual tampers with the bracelet or travels beyond the area permitted, the computer system will notify law enforcement officials, who will investigate. This could result in the person facing other criminal penalties. In some drunk driving cases, the person may also be required to use a monitor that will test for signs of alcohol, which can be tested by measuring the person’s sweat. If the system detects alcohol use, that would also send an alert to law enforcement.

Generally, defendants would much rather be sentenced to electronic monitoring than to serve jail time. Electronic monitoring allows a person to stay in his or her home or designated locations. Electronic monitoring may allow the individual to work or attend school, and won’t have such a huge impact on family life that jail time would have.