Electronic Home Monitoring


Electronic Home Detention (EHM) may be imposed at the judge's discretion upon a first conviction and is required upon a second or subsequent conviction. EHM is a computerized box which is attached to your telephone and which "communicates" with an electronic ankle bracelet which you must wear. The box may also have a breath testing device attached to it. Your movements are monitored and if you walk beyond a prescribed distance, the computer calls the central monitoring computer and reports a violation. In addition, you may be required, at any time, to provide a breath sample into the machine, if it is so equipped. The cost of EHD will be borne by you.

Beyond Jail Time

Washington's new driving under the influence (DUI) laws now prescribe ignition interlock and electronic home monitoring as additional sanctions for DUI drivers. An ignition interlock device attaches a breath-alcohol analyzer to a vehicle's ignition system. All DUI offenders (except first-time offenders with a blood alcohol count (BAC) below .15) are required to have an ignition interlock device on the cars they drive-even those who receive a deferred prosecution. When the ignition interlock device is installed on a vehicle, the driver is required to blow into the device which reads the person's BAC level.

If alcohol is detected, then the engine will not start. After starting the car, the driver is required to take the breath test every ten minutes while operating the vehicle. The device also keeps a record of every breath test result and generates a report that is sent to the courts. The amount of time a DUI offender is required to have ignition interlock on his or her car varies according to previous offenses and restrictions. The first-time offender with a BAC above .15 will be required to have ignition interlock for one year. A second-time offender, who was previously restricted for one-year will be required to have ignition interlock for five years.

A third-time offender who was previously restricted for 5 years will be required to have ignition interlock for no less than 10 years. The offender will be required to pay the cost of the ignition interlock rental which is about $2 a day. In most cases, the court will require from 60 to 150 days of electronic home monitoring be added to the minimum sentence of repeat DUI offenders. The number of days required will be determined by the offender's BAC level upon arrest and the offender's previous DUI conviction record. The court may substitute 15 days of electronic home monitoring for the minimum one day in jail. Offenders pay for electronic home monitoring. Restrictions on alcohol consumption and requirements to take breath tests will be included in the conditions for home monitoring.