Electronic monitoring is a way criminal courts can keep convicted defendants out of jail on a Nevada suspended sentence while still supervising them. Not every case is eligible for electronic monitoring. But a skilled Las Vegas criminal defense attorney may be able to persuade the judge to impose it in lieu of incarceration.
This page describes how electronic monitoring works in Las Vegas, Nevada. It also explains how SCRAM alcohol detection devices operate. Scroll down to learn more.
What is electronic monitoring in Las Vegas, Nevada?
Electronic monitoring is a type of alternative incarceration where defendants wear a GPS-type ankle bracelet so law enforcement can keep track of their whereabouts. Nevada judges may allow certain defendants to serve some or even all of their sentence outside of jail as long as they abide by all the rules of electronic monitoring such as:
- going to rehab and submitting to drug testing
- completing community service
- avoiding certain locations, such as the victim's residence
- keeping curfews
- paying fines and fees
In some cases, a defendant under electronic monitoring is free to go nearly anywhere. In other cases the judge may order house arrest in Las Vegas, which is when the defendant is required to stay home at all times except for any court-sanctioned exceptions. These exceptions usually include going to work, court, counseling or to the doctor.
It depends on the case. The defendant's attorney usually has to request it, and then the judge has the discretion whether to grant it. Electronic monitoring is often seen in cases where the defendant is undergoing a rehabilitation program or is on probation after serving prison for a sex offense. It's a way the courts can keep tabs on defendants as they reintegrate into society.
Nevada judges consider several factors when deciding whether to grant a defendant electronic surveillance such as:
- whether the defendant has violent tendencies
- whether the defendant has been involved with the sale or trafficking of drugs
- whether the defendant is associated with a gang
- the defendant's mental health
- whether the defendant has a history of substance abuse
Learn more about eligibility at the Nevada Department of Public Safety, Division of Parole and Probation's Intensive Supervision Unit.
How does electronic monitoring work?
Eligible defendants are outfitted with a high-tech ankle bracelet that allows Las Vegas Metropolitan Police continually to monitor their whereabouts. The surveillance system used in Clark County is called Omnilink. It is waterproof and tracks real-time locations both outdoors and indoors.
The ankle bracelet is programmed to signal law enforcement if the defendant ever either:
- tampers with the bracelet,
- ventures into prohibited locations ("exclusion zones"), or
- breaks curfew
Note that defendants have to pay for all costs to use electronic monitoring. There's usually a one-time setup fee of about a hundred dollars and a smaller daily monitoring fee.
What's the penalty for violating electronic surveillance rules?
If the judge determines that the defendant violated his/her terms of electronic surveillance, the judge has various options for punishment. Depending on the case, the judge may either:
- give the defendant a warning,
- punish the defendant with some jail time or other penalties,
- revoke the defendant's electronic monitoring privilege and send him/her to jail or Nevada State Prison for the remainder of the sentence
What is SCRAM in Las Vegas, Nevada?
SCRAM is a type of electronic surveillance that monitors not location, but rather alcohol level. Judges normally mandate SCRAMs in cases where the defendant was convicted of the Nevada crime of drunk driving and has been ordered into an alcohol rehabilitation program.
A SCRAM is also in the form of an ankle bracelet. It uses "transdermal monitoring" to detect whether the defendant has ingested any alcohol and then to notify law enforcement. If the judge decides that the defendant violated court orders by drinking alcohol, the judge may send him/her to jail.
Accused? Call for help . . . .
If you're facing jail in Nevada, call Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). They may be able to get you enrolled in an electronic surveillance program so you avoid incarceration and can continue with your life.
To learn about electronic monitoring in California or Colorado criminal cases, go to our informational article on electronic monitoring in California criminal cases and electronic monitoring as a jail alternative in Colorado. Also see our pages on house arrest in Las Vegas and Nevada crime of drunk driving.