Washington State DUI Law Changes

HB 1943 – Electronic Monitoring – Home Detention

To settle a criminal complaint, a defendant may choose home detention, a form of electronic monitoring where you are confined in your private residence for 24 hours a day (unless you’re approved to leave) throughout the course of your sentence. Electronic Home Monitoring may be preferable to you over traditional incarceration because it enables you to serve your time in your home while still being able to carry out other tasks like working or grocery shopping.

After the most recent legislative session, the governor signed a couple of bills that affects defendants in this state. One of these bills, Engrossed House Bill 1943, was effective in July of this year.

Section 2 (6) (a) of the legislation requires a court to deny a plea deal or release allowing home detention if the court finds that you have previously violated the terms of a home detention program (and that the violation was not minor). The law gives the court discretion to deny a home detention program if your violation was “technical, minor, or nonsubstantive.” What this means is that if you have previously entered into EHM but not followed the rules, the court will no longer even have the option of allowing it in your case unless it was a minor violation.

Supervision Over Monitoring Agency 

When you are being monitored on EHM, you choose a private provider as your monitoring agency. The county or municipality supervise your provider to ensure that they are doing their job properly. Monitoring agencies must place in a conspicuous location a notice of criminal penalties if you violate the terms and conditions of your home detention program.

The new law requires that your EHM provider notify the relevant authorities if they cannot account for you for 24 hours. The law requires that notification also be provided to “the probation department, the prosecuting attorney, local law enforcement, [and] the local detention facility.”

The EHM provider must notify the supervising agency of any known violation of the law or court order. So even though you are serving your time at home, you must still follow all conditions of your release. EHM providers are now required to verify in-person that you are actually at home, on a random basis, at least once per month. The law also makes clear that you cannot procure your monitoring from individuals who you have a personal association with.

Leaving Home 

You can leave your residence for specific purposes only during EHM as ordered by the court. Common purposes include: “school, employment, treatment, counseling, programming, or other activities from which a court may select.” But when in doubt, call your EHM provider.

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