When people are arrested in Hillsborough County, sometimes they are released on electronic monitoring if the circumstances allow a release under Sec. 907.041 of the Florida Statutes. This procedure was established after a committee of judges and other members of the criminal justice community recommended it as a solution, and it’s been in effect since the early 1990s.
In Florida, the Hillsborough County Sheriff has been utilizing an electronic monitoring pretrial house arrest program since 1993, and since 2004, has used an active Global Positioning System (GPS) to keep track of offenders in the pretrial release house arrest program.
The Pretrial House Arrest Program involving the GPS is operated by the Hillsborough County Sheriff and is for certain qualified individuals, namely offenders who are released on their own recognizance (ROR) instead of posting bond, and who are not seen as a threat to the community.
Who is eligible for Pretrial House Arrest Program?
Not everyone is eligible for the Pretrial House Arrest Program. For an offender to be eligible for the program, the detainee cannot be held with a bond amount that exceeds $5,000.00 and the individual must have been in jail for at least 48 hours. They can’t be a flight risk, and they cannot be a non-resident of Hillsborough County.
If any of the following criteria applies to the detainee, he or she is excluded from the Pretrial House Arrest Program:
- Someone who qualifies as a sexual offender under Section 943.0435(1)(a) of the Florida Statutes.
- Someone who has ever been convicted of: home-invasion robbery, kidnapping, aircraft piracy, sexual battery, kidnapping, manslaughter, murder, or treason.
- Someone with any convictions in the past 10 years for: arson, aggravated assault or battery, aggravated stalking, carjacking, arson, robbery, unlawful throwing, or a felony involving a violent crime.
- An individual who is currently being charged with dangerous crime under Section 907.041(4)(a) of the Florida Statutes.
- A resident of Hillsborough County in an area that has no cellular service.
- Someone who is not a resident of Hillsborough County.
- An individual with any kind of a detainer.
- An individual whom the Sheriff’s Office believes is an escape risk, especially if he or she has any history of attempted or successful escapes.
If an individual is excluded from the Pretrial House Arrest Program because he or she meets any of the criteria listed above, that does not mean they cannot ask to be accepted into the program.
Under certain circumstances, a judge can consider an offender for the Pretrial GPS House Arrest Program, even if they are initially excluded. If you have any questions about this, we encourage you to contact our firm as soon as possible.
Pretrial GPS House Arrest Program by Court Order
Sometimes an offender will not have sufficient assets to post bond. If he or she is eligible, the felony pretrial detainee may be released on their own recognizance by the court and subsequently placed on the Pretrial House Arrest Program.
If a judge decides to grant an eligible felony detainee ROR with the requirement that he or she goes on the Pretrial GPS House Arrest Program, it must be put into a written court order.
An offender cannot be considered for the program if they are not a resident of Hillsborough County, or if they live in an area that does not allow cellular service. Why? This is because GPS tracking will not work unless the area has cellular service.
Do I have to pay for the program?
The good news is that if you are accepted into the Pretrial GPS Program, you will not have to pay for your participation; there are no fees involved. However, if you damage the equipment, you will have to pay the replacement costs.
If someone is placed on the program and they violate the terms of their contract, or if they are deemed a risk to the community, the offender will be picked up and taken to jail without the need of an arrest warrant or pick-up order as are usually required in similar situations.
Are you interested in learning more about being released on your own recognizance and the Pretrial GPS House Arrest Program in Hillsborough County? If so, contact our Tampa criminal defense firm for a free consultation with a former prosecutor!