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All About House Arrest: Looking at Florida’s Community Control Program

St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney

When you hear the words “house arrest,” what comes to mind? You may first think of a colloquial use of the term, meaning to ground an unruly teenager. Alternately, images of Lindsay Lohan or Bernie Madoff may come to mind, celebrities who were given a proverbial slap on the wrist by the courts because of their status. These ideas, however, don’t tell the full story of what house arrest means in Florida. It is, in actuality, far more complex.

Below we will learn what it is, and how, depending on your personal situation, it can actually be positive for the various parties involved. Let’s delve deeper into the ins and outs of house arrest: First, what is house arrest?

House arrest is a condition whereupon a judge sentences an individual to remain within the confines of his home or some other place of residence for a prescribed length of time. In the state of Florida, what most people call house arrest is actually called the Community Control supervision program. Florida Statute 948.001(3) defines the program as “a form of intensive, supervised custody in the community.”

House arrest may be appropriate in many situations, which include:

  • Lesser offenses not warranting prison
  • As a transitional measure
  • To reduce taxpayer burdens with the high cost of imprisonment

What Can You Do on Community Control?

Generally, community control means that you stay in your home. You are allowed to move about your home (house or apartment) and in most cases, you may use the yard or outdoor grounds. It’s crucial to understand that house arrest does not allow you to use common areas in your apartment complex, subdivision, or any other type of multi-area community. This means that places like the swimming pool, fitness center, mail room, and laundry facilities are off limits if they are located in common spaces outside your personal residence.

Life under community control has strict rules to which one must adhere. First, you will be required to report to your community control officer on a weekly basis. The office will have you complete a full schedule and daily activity log for the upcoming week, which the officer must approve. You must also keep careful track of your whereabouts at all times, in case your officer wants a detailed accounting to confirm your location.

If you are employed or have other necessary appointments outside of you home (e.g., medical appointments or court-ordered community service work), you have a half hour before and after your excursion to return to your home. Details of your employment commute and other outside activities will be reviewed with your community control officer.

Who Is Eligible for House Arrest in Florida?

Section 948.10 of the Florida Statutes states that the courts or the Commission on Offender Review may use community control for:

  • Probation violators charged with technical violations or misdemeanor violations;
  • Parole violators charged with technical violations or misdemeanor violations; or
  • Individuals found guilty of felonies, who, due to their criminal backgrounds or the seriousness of the offenses, would not be placed on regular probation.

The Community Control program is generally an option for people who have a strong employment history, or who are first-time offenders, non-violent offenders, or juveniles who deserve punishment beyond probation, but not incarceration.

Call the Khonsari Law Group Today to Speak with a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney

For questions about whether the Community Control program may be available for your offense, contact the experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense attorneys at Khonsari Law Group. Our knowledge of the Florida criminal justice system will allow us to pursue all available options to soften the blow of your case. To schedule a free case evaluation with a lawyer, call us today at (727) 269-5300 or send us an email through our online contact form.

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