Articles on South Carolina Law

8 Questions About Electronic Monitoring in SC

by | Feb 15, 2018 | Bonds & Bond Hearings, Criminal Defense, DUI

If you or a loved one has been released from jail with the special conditions of electronic monitoring, you may be wondering how exactly having an ankle monitor works.

It may be the first time you have ever dealt with something like this, and you want to make sure everything is done correctly so that there are no violations that could get the person wearing the electronic monitor in trouble.

Failure to follow the terms and conditions of the judge set for electronic monitoring could result in your loved one returning to jail. It is very important that the person wearing the electronic monitor follow all terms and conditions imposed by the judge. It is best to err on the side of caution if you are unsure of how to proceed.

Common Questions About Electronic Monitoring

If you are fortunate enough to be released on electronic monitoring, you have the luxury of spending your time waiting for your court dates and/or trial at home rather than in jail. Because this is a privilege and not a right, it is imperative that you follow all instructions of your bondsman and the judge.

If you are unsure of your bond conditions, the clerk of court will have a copy of your conditions. It is your responsibility to follow the conditions and reach out to the clerk of court to find out exactly what you are supposed to be doing. There is no excuse for not knowing what the terms and conditions of your bond are.

1. What is electronic monitoring in SC?

Electronic monitoring is an alternative to someone being accused of a crime remaining in jail until his or her court date. While on electronic monitoring, the person accused of a crime wears his or her ankle bracelet so that the bondsman can see and know where the person accused of the crime is at all times. The bondsman may report to the court if there are any violations of the terms and conditions of the bond.

For example if the person wearing the ankle monitor leaves the geographic area they are bound to be in, that person will be in violation of their bond and may have to go to jail Another example would be if the person wearing the ankle monitor takes the monitor off or tries to tamper with it or destroy it. It is not advisable to tamper or remove an ankle monitor.

2. What is electronic monitoring used for in SC?

Electronic monitoring may be ordered if the Defendant’s attorney can convince the judge that the defendant is not a flight risk and is not a threat to the community. Electronic monitoring also keeps the jails from being overcrowded. Electronic monitoring allows the court and bondsman to monitor the person’s movements and geographic location of the person wearing the ankle monitor.

In some cases the judge may order certain zones or areas that the defendant is allowed to live freely. If there is an alleged victim in the case, the judge will likely order no contact with the alleged victim and the monitoring program will be alerted if this stipulation is violated.

If your ankle monitor becomes damaged or do you have reason to believe it is not working you should contact the bondsman immediately to have this issue resolved. It is your responsibility to keep the bondsman informed at all times regarding whether the monitor is working properly.

3. Are there different kinds of electronic monitoring?

Yes. There are two main kinds of electronic monitoring used in South Carolina.

First, there is a basic electronic transmission type of ankle monitor. The bracelet sends a signal to monitoring company. This type of monitor requires power and a standard land phone line. This type of monitor does not work with cell phones. If you do not have a landline phone, you will need to purchase this type of service order to facilitate this type of electronic monitoring.

The second type of electronic monitoring is GPS monitoring. GPS monitoring is the most sophisticated type of monitoring and uses cellular networks to transfer and transmit data to a monitoring agency and bondsman. GPS monitoring allows the agency to know exactly where you are at all times. It is possible that the court will ask for a printout of every single place that you have been while you have been on electronic monitoring. You should be prepared for your print out to show on geographic coordinates that you did not violate the terms of your bond and that you didn’t go anywhere you weren’t supposed to.

4. Who pays for electronic monitoring and how much does it cost?

You do. GPS is typically more expensive than satellite monitoring. The price varies according to the type of monitoring. Typically the cost is around $130/week. Also, you may be required to pay fees the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon. If you are not able to pay the required fees you will not be able to remain on electronic monitoring. If you fall behind in your fees you will not have the advantage of electronic monitoring.

5. What happens if you take off your ankle bracelet, or tamper with it?

You will likely be returned to jail. You are prohibited from trying to tamper with or remove the device. Tampering or damaging your electronic device will likely result in your privilege of wearing ankle monitor being revoked. It also will not help your pending court case if you cannot show the court you can follow the rules imposed on you. Not only that, you can face additional criminal charges for willfully removing, tampering, altering or destroying the electronic monitor.

If you are convicted of tampering with an ankle monitor, it is a felony and penalties can range from a fine up to $5000 or five years in jail. These conditions will be in addition to whatever you are facing for your underlying charge that you were on bond for in the first place.

If you willfully violate a term or condition of electronic monitoring the court can impose a sentence of up to 10 years in jail for each and every infraction. This offense is also a felony. You can be charged separately for each infraction and sentenced consecutively.

1. Does electronic monitoring time count as time served?

Courts are divided on this issue. Your attorney can argue that you should receive credit for time served while you are on electronic monitoring, but it is all up to the judge. If you are given credit for time served on electronic monitoring it is a privilege and not a right.

2. Do I need a lawyer to get electronic monitoring?

A lawyer who is familiar with obtaining electronic monitoring for his/her clients may be an advantage for you. Your attorney’s job will be to convince the court that you can be trusted on an ankle bracelet. An attorney can also represent you in court if you are accused of violating the terms of your electronic monitoring conditions.

3. Do I need a lawyer if I am accused of violating the terms of my electronic monitoring?

It is important to consult with an attorney if you are accused of violating your electronic monitoring terms. You can easily have your bond revoked, which means you will be returning to jail until your case is called for court.

Have questions about electronic monitoring in South Carolina?

If you are seeking electronic monitoring, you may want to consult an attorney who can advise you on how to get this process started and your options.

Contact Susan Williams to find out if she can help. Set up a free consultation so she can examine the facts of your case. You don’t have to fight this battle alone.

Just call (843) 607-9800 or contact us through our online form.

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