The global pandemic caused by COVID-19 has wreaked economic, educational, and governmental havoc. The impact on local Pennsylvania court systems has been particularly impacted. But house arrest in Chester County could help officials reduce the risk of exposure and transmission to defendants and inmates.
Legal trouble that could lead to possible incarceration is never ideal, even in the best of times. However, if you are facing time in custody during the COVID-19 pandemic, the risks are even greater. You need an experienced Pennsylvania criminal lawyer to advocate on your behalf and use every option for your release.
West Chester criminal defense attorney Michael J. Skinner of Skinner Law Firm understands what you are going through and how significant any time in jail could be right now. Call (610) 436-1410 today for a free consultation about your eligibility for home detention in Chester County and how he can help.
In Chester County, the court system has a pre-trial program in place that includes options for “electronic home monitoring.” Under that program, a bail condition can be that a defendant’s activity and movement be restricted.
If you are a suitable candidate, based on the nature of the charges and record, your case is presented to the Court of Common Pleas and a request is made to modify your bond on the condition you are confined to the home and subject yourself to electronic monitoring.
Those with non-violent offenses (such as white-collar crimes), misdemeanors, petty thefts, and driving under the influence likely would be good candidates for consideration for house arrest in Chester County. Your chances for home detention are better if the charges are minor, no one has been hurt, and you don’t have a long criminal record.
For juvenile offenders in Chester County, the chances of home arrest and electronic home monitoring are even greater. A juvenile court program allows alleged/adjudicated juvenile offenders to be sent home so they can go to school but still have their activities curtailed so they are not a danger to the community.
Courts may be more willing to consider house arrest because of COVID-19 concerns. Around the country inmate populations and the staffs that serve them have high rates of infection. At least one scientific model estimates that by September 2020 more than 2 million inmates and correction staff could be infected if measures aren’t taken immediately.
Some are advocating for a moratorium on arrests for all but the most serious of crimes. That may be an unlikely step for law enforcement in Pennsylvania. But state officials are looking to other methods of reducing inmate populations so that the curve is flattened for this vulnerable population.
Health officials warn that such groups are at greatest risk because of the inherent conditions of incarceration. Some jails are overcrowded, lack hygiene resources, and likely have substandard healthcare. Add in a transient population that also pulls in outside visitors, including family, attorneys, social workers, and correctional staff. All of these people are subject to infection and then they can carry it home.
Because of these concerns and the heightened risk of COVID-19 infection, the quicker you can be released or placed on house arrest in Chester County the better.
Even in a global pandemic, there is no “get out of jail free” card. But the danger of contracting COVID-19 for the incarcerated is real. If you are facing charges in Chester County, you may qualify for house arrest. Contact Skinner Law Firm today at (610) 436-1410 for a free, initial consultation concerning your case.