How Do Ankle Monitors Work? 

 January 24, 2019

By  LMW Attorneys

When faced with the possibility of going to prison, being sentenced to wear an ankle monitor instead sounds almost like a dream. But having to wear one is not a walk in the park. In fact, it has many restrictions; and if the wearer fails to comply with them, he or she could end up behind bars.

Learning how ankle monitors work is crucial if a convicted person wants to remain within the comforts of their own home.


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What are Ankle Monitors or House Arrest Bracelets? | How Does Ankle Bracelet Monitoring Work?

Ankle monitors are electronic devices that are tethered around your ankle. They are designed to be tamper-resistant and must be worn at all times. The device uses a radio frequency signal to communicate back to a monitoring station. It may be programmed to allow you to roam freely within a certain area, and it may have GPS monitoring functions that alert the monitoring station if you go outside of the permitted area.

If the device is tampered with or removed, authorities will be alerted and you will be arrested.
The people who have to wear them are those sentenced to “house arrest”. In Florida, the legal term for it is “Community Control”. The sanctions imposed may include any or all of the following:

– Having to pay back stolen or misappropriated money
– Having a curfew
– Revocation or suspension of the person’s driver’s license
– Community Service
– Deprivation of nonessential activities or privileges
– Any other restraints the Court may find appropriate.

Therefore, the conditions may vary greatly from one person to the next. Some people may have to stay at home the entire time of their Community Control sentence, while others are allowed to go to work or travel within their own community.


Different Types of Ankle Monitors | Are Ankle Monitors Waterproof?

Ankle monitors are large, black devices that are affixed to your ankle. They are rather bulky in appearance and cannot be removed. They are generally waterproof, but can malfunction at times. Be sure to call your probation or parole officer immediately if this happens so that you don’t run the risk of being accused of noncompliance.

Some may have listening functions, and a person at a monitoring station may use the device to listen to your conversations with others.

Certain models may have alcohol or illegal drug monitoring functions, and they may be used to alert authorities if you consume alcohol or ingest drugs when specifically instructed by the Judge not to do so. The Sentinel Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor, or SCRAM, is a common alcohol monitor.

These special features of advanced monitoring devices allow authorities to ensure that you comply with the terms of your house arrest while enabling you to enjoy the privacy and limited freedom in your own home.

House Arrest Ankle Monitor Rules and Restrictions

If you have been required to wear an ankle bracelet by the court, it is important that you listen to the usage requirements, rules, and restrictions.

Some of the restrictions may include:

  • Interruption of signal when user should be within their home
  • No drugs or alcohol and submit to drug testing
  • Pay court fees and fines
  • Meet with probation or parole officer weekly
  • Employment
  • Compliance with all other conditions of supervision

If you fail to follow the rules, for example, if you step outside of the perimeter or take the device off, authorities may be dispatched to your home. You may then be found in violation of your Community Control sentence, and this can result in any of the following consequences:

– Getting arrested without a warrant wherever the person is found
– Instead of an arrest, the Judge may issue a Notice to Appear in Court

Once in Court, the Judge will inform the person of the alleged committed violation. If the person does not admit the violation, the Court may send the person to jail with or without bail while they wait for an additional hearing.

How Far Can You Go With an Ankle Monitor?

Depending on the specific terms of your house arrest, you may have a predetermined schedule where you are allowed to leave your residence at specific times for employment and other approved activities, such as grocery shopping or going to church. At all other times, you will need to stay within the range of your monitoring equipment.

What Does it Mean When Your Ankle Monitor Vibrates?

Since there are different types of ankle monitors, they also have different capabilities. Yours may vibrate if your supervising officer is attempting to communicate with you. If this is the case, follow the instructions provided to you to acknowledge having received the communication.

If it starts vibrating and you were never given instructions on what to do in such an eventuality, contact your supervising officer immediately to let him or her know. Don’t put this on the back burner. You don’t want to risk it malfunctioning and you being accused of violating the terms.
What happens if you cut off your ankle monitor?

Removing or tampering with an ankle monitor is a felony in the third degree, punishable to up to 5 years in prison, having to pay a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

Need Help with a Criminal Charge in New Port Richey, FL? Contact Us to Schedule Your Free Consultation

Our Tampa Bay area lawyers previously served as prosecutors for the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit, and have an incredible array of experience handling matters from ordinance violations all the way up to capital cases. Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins provides free initial consultations on criminal cases.

Free consultations are always available for new clients, including those of Holiday, Hudson, and Trinity, at our office in Port Richey, Florida. During that time the nature of the charge(s) and the complexity of the case(s) will be discussed. You will only owe us a fee if you decide to retain us to represent you. The amount of the fee is dependent on many facts and circumstances, but you will be quoted a reasonable fee during the free consultation. You can then decide if you wish us to handle your matter or not.

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