How Does “House Arrest” Work in Maryland?House arrest, also known as home detention or electronic monitoring, is a form of alternative sentencing that allows individuals to serve their sentences at home under certain conditions instead of being incarcerated in a traditional jail or prison facility. Here’s how house arrest typically works in Maryland:

  • Eligibility: Eligibility for house arrest depends on various factors, including the nature of the offense, the individual’s criminal history, and the recommendations of the court or the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS).
  • Conditions of house arrest: Individuals placed on house arrest are typically required to adhere to strict conditions set by the court or supervising agency. These conditions may include:
    • Staying at home at all times, except for approved activities such as work, school, medical appointments, or other essential purposes.
    • Wearing an electronic monitoring device, such as an ankle bracelet, to track movements and ensure compliance with the terms of house arrest.
    • Compliance with a curfew, which dictates specific hours during which the individual must be at home.
    • Prohibition from consuming alcohol or drugs and submission to drug testing.
    • Regular check-ins with a supervising officer or agency.
  • Monitoring: Individuals on house arrest are typically monitored electronically using devices such as GPS ankle bracelets. These devices track the individual’s movements and can alert authorities if they violate the conditions of house arrest, such as leaving the approved area without permission or tampering with the device.
  • Duration: The duration of house arrest varies depending on the terms of the sentence imposed by the court. It may last for a specific period, such as months or years, or it may be part of a probationary period following a conviction.
  • Consequences of violation: Violating the conditions of house arrest can result in serious consequences, including revocation of house arrest, additional criminal charges, and potential incarceration in a traditional correctional facility.
  • Supervision: Individuals on house arrest are typically supervised by probation officers or other designated authorities who monitor compliance with the conditions of house arrest and provide support and guidance as needed.

If you or a loved one is facing house arrest as a potential sentence, consulting with an experienced Annapolis criminal defense attorney who can explain your rights, obligations, and potential outcomes is a smart move to make.

When is house arrest ordered in Maryland?

According to Maryland law, house arrest may be ordered as an alternative to traditional incarceration under various circumstances, including:

Non-violent offenses

For certain non-violent offenses, especially those that do not involve a significant risk to public safety, a judge may opt to impose house arrest instead of jail time. This might include offenses like drug possession, white-collar crimes, or certain property crimes.

Low-risk offenders

Individuals who are considered low-risk offenders, meaning they have minimal criminal history and pose a low risk of reoffending, may be eligible for house arrest as a sentencing option.

Pretrial release

In some situations, individuals awaiting trial may be placed on house arrest as a condition of pretrial release. This allows them to await trial in the community while still ensuring their compliance with court orders and reducing the risk that they might flee.

Probation or parole

Individuals may be required to serve part or all of their sentence on house arrest as a condition of probation or parole. House arrest permits closer monitoring and supervision but still allows the individual to maintain ties to their community.

Health concerns

In situations where an individual has medical or health-related issues that make traditional incarceration impractical or unsafe, house arrest may be ordered as a compassionate alternative.


In some cases, house arrest may be used as a way to alleviate overcrowding in jails and prisons, especially for non-violent offenders who do not pose a significant risk to public safety.

The decision to order house arrest is ultimately made by a judge, who takes factors such as the nature of the offense, the individual’s criminal history, their personal circumstances, and input from the prosecution, defense, and any relevant probation or parole authorities into account. Each case is considered on its own merits, and although house arrest is not automatically granted but rather considered as a sentencing option, aggressive legal representation is a definite advantage.

Can you get me house arrest instead of jail time?

I can absolutely try! At my firm, we will review the specifics of your case, including the nature of the offense, your criminal history, and any mitigating factors. We’ll assess whether house arrest is a viable option based on these factors.

We can negotiate with the prosecution to explore the possibility of a plea agreement that includes house arrest as part of the sentencing recommendation. Prosecutors may be more inclined to consider alternatives to incarceration if they believe it serves the interests of justice and public safety. If your case goes to trial or sentencing, I can advocate for house arrest before the judge. I’ll present arguments and evidence to support why house arrest would be a more appropriate and effective form of punishment or supervision in your case.

As your defense lawyer, I can emphasize mitigating factors that support house arrest, such as evidence of rehabilitation efforts, community ties, employment or educational commitments, or health concerns that make traditional incarceration impractical.

Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law provides experienced defense when you’re facing criminal charges. Let us work with you to get the best outcome for your case. Call our office in Annapolis or Ellicott City or fill out our contact form to schedule an initial case evaluation today.

And remember – Keep Calm, and Call Drew.