In criminal defense, it is often advantageous to accrue “jail time” credit while remaining out on parole/probation before trial. This process, known as home monitoring, is valid in both DC and Maryland. Home monitoring is elected in lieu of a bond, and involves the use of an ankle bracelet to track the location of the individual released on a pre-trial detention Order.
Because liberty is restricted with home monitoring, each day spent on the “system” constitutes a credit towards any future detention awarded by the judge after a plea or guilty verdict. Do not over look this advantage! Often, there is a significant delay between the bond hearing (where the defendant is assigned home monitoring) and the final merits hearing. A crafty defense counsel can prolong the court process even more, allowing the defendant to accrue considerable “jail time” prior to being sentenced, significantly reducing the amount of time the defendant will actually be sent to jail.
MD Code 5-201 specifically grants the magistrate or district court judge the authority to place the defendant in home monitoring.
- The legislative history can be found here: https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Legislation/Details/sb0023?ys=2021RS&search=True. If your client has been granted a bond, you may move the Court to revoke the bond and place the defendant on home monitoring. The right to amend or change pre-trial release conditions is found at MD Code 4-216.3.
Obviously, home monitoring is only useful in serious felony cases where jail time and plea/conviction is likely. In a recent case defended by our firm, a defendant was charged with a first time gun offense (carrying on the metro). No violence was involved, however, he had prior 2nd degree assault convictions, which made negotiations with the prosecutor difficult. We obtained ankle monitoring for him, and the case had a procedural duration of almost a year-and-a-half (requesting videos and forensic evidence on the weapon is an excellent way to stall the system), allowing us to plea out the charge and our client spent less than 20 days in actual jail.
Typically, this charge would carry a sentence of anywhere from one to two years behind bars. However, because he received credit for the home detention time, and the Court accepted several of our arguments regarding the cooperative and non-confrontational nature of our client (ironic, I know – however, the police officers involved in the stop were very sympathetic), he actually spent about 15 days in jail – an outstanding result.