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What happens during a House Arrest?

Philadelphia, PA |

What are the limits? Can you go to work, dental/doctor appts, family visits, church, etc? How does this monitoring system work & why is there a phone land line needed?

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

The key to House Arrest is scheduling. Whoever administers the monitoring is going to need to know when you plan on leaving your house and where you will be going. Generally, these are set times and do not vary on a day to day basis unless previously scheduled as such. You will be allowed to go to work and any necessary medical appointments but documentation will be required. For work, this will probably mean a letter from your employer and for a doctor's appointment, a letter from your doctor stating such may be required. Family visits are generally allowed but you may be asked to provide names and addresses of any anticipated family member prior to his/her visit. Often, your house must be free from all alcohol. When home, you cannot go outside for any reason (usually this means you cannot go outside to get your mail, take out the trash or even smoke a cigarette. These tasks must be done during your permissable time out of the home). Food shopping is allowed at least once a week if you live alone. These times are preset however and are established at the beginning of your sentence. For example, when you meet with the home monitoring administrator you will designate times such as 12-2PM on Saturdays to go food shopping and 10-12 on Sundays for religious worship.

As far as how the monitoring is done, most systems use a radio frequency that is transmitted from the anklet you will be wearing to a unit located in your home. The unit, which is plugged into the phone land line, receives a signal from the anklet and when a person moves beyond the allowed distance, the base unit will transmit a message, via the land phone line, to whoever is monitoring your house arrest. If you are beyond the permitted border for an allowed activity, such as work, no problem. However, if you are beyond the permitted border outside the time, you will be in violation of the rules and remedial measures may be taken.

This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice. Laws vary widely from state to state. You should rely only on the advice given to you during a personal consultation by a local attorney who is thoroughly familiar with state laws and the area of practice in which your concern lies.

Marlo Pagano-Kelleher, Esq.
The Pagano Law Firm
1801 Route 202, 2nd Floor
Glen Mills, PA 19342
phone (610) 357-6035
fax (610) 358-5782


It depends on the county and the conditions of the house arrest. Some conditions may permit travel to work or doctors some won't. Most house arrest programs now use GPS monitoring. The GPS transmitter is attached to your ankle or wrist.


To add to Attorney Zucker's excellent answer-

You need a phone land line so your PO can call in and check up with you to ensure you are home. Obviously, you can be anywhere on a cell phone, so they use that to keep tabs on house arrestees.

Leo M Mulvihill, Jr
Attorney and Counselor at Law
2424 E York Street, Suite 316
Philadelphia, PA 19125
215.385.5291 (LAW1)