The last thing I guess we’ll go into right now is alternative punishments to jail or prison. When are they a factor in sentencing? Is it a good idea even to try to negotiate these things, and how can they be accomplished? Let’s say home detention, or ankle bracelets, or sleeping at jail and a work release program? What’s available?
Home Detention and Continuous Alcohol Monitoring
Brian: The biggest issue is simply educating yourself about that option and not all attorneys are aware of the alternatives. Different courts handle things different ways. The city of Phoenix is the only court that offers not only home detention as an option, but also something called continuous alcohol monitoring.
Many attorneys aren’t aware of the continuous alcohol monitoring classes or they don’t know what’s all involved with that. I prefer to have my clients on continuous alcohol monitoring. It allows them to live their life the best way that they can without so much interruption.
All of the city courts offer home detention. The justice courts will not. All the courts offer work release or work furlough. On misdemeanor cases, I’ve had no issue getting work release, which is preferred over work furlough. But you need to know that the these options are available, and you need to know how to try and convince the judge to not only get the work release, or get the home detention, or get the continuous alcohol monitoring, but explain to the court why it might appropriate to get two or three of those things all at the same time to your client’s benefit.
Work Release Versus Work Furlough
Interviewer: What’s the difference between work release versus work furlough?
Brian: Work release is basically what’s done in the city courts. It allows someone to get out to go to work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week to go to his or her job and report back to jail. Work release is pretty simple. Basically, the jail says, okay, we’ll see you in 12 hours. Work release is much preferred over work furlough.
Work Furlough Is More Structured
The Probation Department is involved in a work furlough program. They will get in contact with your employer, they will ensure that you are working, they are going to go to your employment to check up to make sure that you are there. You have to turn over your paychecks to the probation officer. They are going to take out fees involved with the work furlough system and return back what’s left, if anything, from your paycheck.
People Employed in Certain Professions Will Not Be Eligible for a Work Furlough Program
There are more problems with construction workers, exotic dancers, and certain professions. It’s true. The issue is, especially with exotic dancers, and these are people who get DUI’s just like anyone else, the county doesn’t want probation officers to go to their place of employment to check up on them because you’re going to see a county car parked outside a strip club.
Interviewer: That’s hilarious.
Brian: Well, it’s problematic. It’s a legitimate job, and they should be entitled to the same rights and privileges as everyone else, but the Probation Department takes issue with the county having their employees park a vehicle at the strip club.
Interviewer: Well, they’d probably be very incentivized to check up on their people a lot.
Brian: Exactly. But, looking at it from the person’s point of view, they’re working, they’re making their living, and they’re supporting their family. It’s not really fair to single them out along with construction workers. The issue with construction workers is they don’t tend to be at the same place all the time. They go on to different worksites.
Work furlough is supposed to be about, okay, we’re going to check up on you at work. Where do you work? With the construction employees, you never know. You’re at one worksite one day and a different worksite a different day. So work release is definitely preferred. It is difficult to get work release in the Maricopa County court system when you’re dealing with felony cases, but I’ve been fairly successful in doing it where it really is appropriate.
Ignition Interlock and Ankle Monitoring Devices
Interviewer: Any other alternative punishments that people should be aware of that they might be able to qualify for?
Brian: There’s a little-known law in keeping with the ignition interlock devices. There’s a little-known provision that occurred in the 2011 legislative session that started in January 2012. Basically, what it said is that in lieu of an ignition interlock device, if a person does not want to have an ignition lock device placed on the vehicle they operate for one year, they do have an alternative available, but in my opinion the alternative is worse.
The alternative is that you have to wear an ankle monitor for a year. This becomes a necessity to certain people. In theory, motorcycle riders, because they are not allowed to have an ignition interlock device placed on their vehicle, it’s considered too dangerous. And people with certain medical conditions simply cannot blow into a device. They don’t have the lung capacity to do it, maybe because of their age or a medical issue. It’s a nice alternative, rather than just telling them you’re not allowed to drive ever again because you can’t comply with this ignition interlock device requirement.