When it comes to a Minnesota DWI, most convicted drunk drivers face license suspension, hefty fines, and even jail time. The good news for offenders is that there are numerous alternative sentencing methods that can replace time behind bars.
One of the most common alternative sentencing methods is electronic home monitoring or EHM. Under electronic home monitoring, the DWI offender is allowed to serve the time at home instead of in jail.
If the judge rules that a DWI offender qualifies for EHM, then the offender’s jail time may be reduced or eliminated completely. For repeat offenders, electronic home monitoring may be offered in addition to jail time. Of course, other penalties such as license suspension and paying fines will still apply.
While electronic home monitoring is a preferred alternative to serving time in prison, it also comes with its own set of personal and financial challenges. You can better prepare for it, however, by knowing what to expect ahead of time.
Electronic home monitoring is similar in nature to house arrest. As a participant of the electronic home monitoring program, you will be required to wear an ankle bracelet that tracks your location 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – whether you’re asleep, showering, at work, or at church. The time you will be required to wear an electronic monitoring device may be equal to the length of your jail sentence or longer.
As a participant of the electronic home monitoring program, you must also adhere to a strict schedule. You are typically allowed a few hours each week for personal time, which means that you will be permitted to attend medical appointments, court appearances, or AA meetings apart from going to school or work. You must, however, submit proper documentation to your program manager or parole officer as proof that you attended that particular appointment or meeting.
With electronic home monitoring, there is a daily fee to be paid on a weekly basis. In Hennepin County, for instance, this fee is $16 per day. In Olmsted County, the fee is $20 per day. If you are being charged with a 2nd degree DWI in Minnesota, then you may be facing 30 days in custody and 60 days on electronic home monitoring. This means that you’ll be paying more than $900 in fees EHM fees over the course of those 60 days. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of this fee until they are already enrolled in the program.
Under the EHM program, you will be required to check in with your program manager or parole officer on a weekly basis. All administrative tasks will be done during your weekly check-ins, such as making payments, discussing upcoming schedules, and submitting documentation of your activities during the previous week.
If you are employed, expect that someone from the program will contact your employer in order to verify your employment. You will likely need to have a daily log sheet signed by your manager or an HR representative in order to prove that you were indeed at work at the said date and time.