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Can House Arrest be a Viable Option for DWI Convictions
12Oct

Can House Arrest be a Viable Option for DWI Convictions?

If you are wondering if house arrest can be a viable option for DWI convictions, you are in the right place. A DWI refers to “driving while impaired.” Typically this implies driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, illegal or prescription, or in some instances a mental or physical impairment, such as lack of proper sleep. 

Most states tend to use DUI, “driving under the influence” and DWI interchangeably, although depending on the jurisdiction, the charges and consequently punishments could vary slightly. This article will explore if house arrest can be a viable option for those convicted of a DWI. 

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How do individuals get charged with a DWI?

It is quite simple, DWI charges arise when law enforcement officers suspect an individual of being unable to operate a vehicle safely due to impairment. It is important to remember that DWI or DUI charges are not just limited to vehicles, but apply to essentially anything on wheels or battery operated: boats, jet skis, electric scooters, bicycles, construction equipment, or a lawnmower just to name a few. In addition to what is being operated, an individual does not need to actually be driving or moving to be charged. Sitting or falling asleep in the driver seat with keys nearby is enough to convict one of DWI or DUI charges in most jurisdictions. 

Law enforcement officers can charge individuals with a DWI or DUI if they suspect an individual is under the influence or impaired by alcohol, drugs, lack of sleep, or any other factor. For the safety of yourself, others, animals, and property, never operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, illegal or prescription, or if experiencing sleep deprivation. In most cases, DWI charges are misdemeanors, but multiple offenses could arise in felony charges. The circumstances of a conviction determine the consequence. 

What are the consequences of a DWI conviction?

To be convicted of a DWI, law enforcement will administer a series of tests to determine the level of intoxication of a substance, like alcohol, that is involved to determine an individual’s blood alcohol content (BAC) or if drugs are in one’s system. This is usually done via breathalyzer, blood, or urine test.

Most states consider a BAC of 0.08% or more to be under the influence or impaired. As BAC levels increase, the charges and thus consequences increase as well. 

Convictions of DWI charges can result in the legal penalties of probation, jail time, fines, mandatory drug/alcohol education programs or counseling, and/or loss of driving privileges. Aside from legal penalties, individuals can also have consequences and repercussions with insurance companies resulting in policy cancellation or higher premiums, as well as a criminal record.

Of the legal penalties often applied to DWI convictions, house arrest is seldom an option, but not impossible to obtain as a consequence. House arrest is an alternative sentence where an individual is confined to their residence under specific terms and conditions. It is typically granted to those considered low-risk and non-violent, and first-time offenders as it is implemented by minimum security. 

Under the terms and conditions of house arrest established by the courts, individuals can usually leave their residence for a period of time each day. A judge will take into consideration the following:

  • medical appointments or treatments
  • employment reasons
  • attending school
  • mandatory counseling
  • participation in community service
  • face-to-face visits with a parole officer

Each of these reasons to leave the confinement of one’s residence involves the need for transportation. Although there are alternatives to personal operation of a vehicle, house arrest can be dismissed as an option because of this. However, if the circumstances are favorable, house arrest may be a viable option.

House Arrest Monitoring and Eligibility

Under house arrest, individuals cannot be trusted completely to follow all restrictions. For this reason, monitoring systems are used to track the locations of individuals, and curfews are implemented to restrict times of confinement in and out of one’s residence.

Monitoring systems include:

  • Electronic trackers- use a signal to define a radius of confinement within and around one’s residence
  • GPS tracker- use precise location to track one’s whereabouts
  • SCRAMx tracker- monitors the location and tracks BAC levels constantly

Individuals may be eligible for house arrest as an alternative if the following is applicable:

  • Sentenced to jail time
  • Conviction is a first-time offense
  • An individual is non-violent and low-risk
  • A physical or mental impairment was a factor
  • If a disability makes jail time unreasonably difficult

Regardless of the scenario, if you are charged with a DWI or DUI, consult a lawyer to review the legalities.

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Can House Arrest be a Viable Option for DWI Convictions?

Individuals are convicted of a DWI or DUI when operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or impaired in some manner. Each state’s level of charges and penalties vary depending on the severity of the incident and BAC levels. Although the courts will not offer house arrest as an option, a lawyer can argue it as a viable option for DWI convictions.

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DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not formal legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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