If You're Sentenced To House Arrest, Do You Have Access To /All/ Of The House?

Let’s say I live in gilded mansion with dozens of rooms. I’m sentenced to house arrest because of [insert terrible crime here]. Never being allowed to leave my house would suck ass, but compared to my mansion there are worse places to be.

Could a court sentence me to only one wing, or only a few rooms? Or when you get house arrest, do you get the run of the whole house?

I suppose the judge could order something limiting, but all my clients who had pre-trial home confinement (not as part of a sentence) were allowed access to all of their residence. (they didn’t live in mansions, of course, but the judge wouldn’t have known that). There were also allowed to leave for doctors appointments, attorney meetings, etc.

House arrest as a sentence for a crime isn’t common at all. (I’ve never heard of an actual case).

Jeffrey Epstein served a year of probation under house arrest, according to Wikipedia:

Epstein served almost 13 months before being released on July 22, 2009, for a year of probation on house arrest until August 2010.[119][120][121] While on probation he was allowed numerous trips on his corporate jet to his residences in Manhattan and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He was allowed long shopping trips and to walk around Palm Beach “for exercise”.

I assume someone under house arrest has to wear an ankle monitor so that LE knows where they are. How else would they know if they left the premises? I doubt they would be monitoring what room they were in and could do that even if the judge ordered it. Being confined to a house, regardless of its size, is still confinement.

This is the case in Florida, which allows for “community control”, their version of house arrest. They will also make surprise visits at the home.

You can go to pre-approved appointments (like a once weekly trip to the grocery store, or to a doctor’s appointment) but are otherwise confined to the premises. But, I’ve never heard of a person being only allowed to go into certain parts of the home.

I just did a plea earlier this week. My client, who was facing 22 months in the Department of Corrections, took a plea to 2 years community control followed by a year of probation (with an option to roll community control into probation after 1 year, and early termination of the probation after he’s done 6 months of that).

I’ve read that the authorities put an ankle monitoring base inside the house, which will send out an alarm if you go past the limits, which range from 50-150 ft.

That would allow me to go into my front and back yards, but I can see problems in other situations. A high rise apartment might be larger than those limits, and so might a mansion. Are multiple bases used in those circumstances?

What if you are billionaire rich and live on a 64000 acre ranch (some actually do)?

Are you restricted to the main residence?

Or are you allowed to access the entire 64000 acres of your property?

I believe the purpose of “house arrest” is to keep you away from society for awhile. Not to re-create the harshness of prison. I would therefore expect the prisoner to have access to his or her entire property. However, a judge might decline to allow house arrest if the defendant had such a situation. House arrest is relatively rare (or was before COVID hit) so there are not a lot of examples to look at.

In my cases (decades ago now) it was only used for pre-trial confinement and in limited situations. None of my clients had 64,000 acres.

I have never heard of being restricted in terms of where you can go inside your house.
I have heard of visitors being restricted.

My neighbor was limited to about 35 feet from his base unit. This allowed him access to most of his parents house. Some of the garage and a back bedroom were the only places he had to avoid. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t stay away from a couple buddies that he was suppose to avoid so he had to spend a couple months in jail instead of cooling his heels at home.

Similar to what I wanted to ask.

I’ve got a shop about 100’ from my residence. Would I be able to access it? What about my storage buildings?

I think you’re right- I can’t imagine house arrest is taken so literally as to mean the actual building itself. I’m sure people under house arrest can go tend their backyard gardens, etc… But the judge might frown on someone sitting out in a lawn chair in their frontyard chatting with passers-by, etc… as it violates the spirit of the sentence, if not the exact wording of the law.

I would agree that someone with a home on a substantial plot of land might have the run of it, provided they confined themselves to it. I think the point of house arrest is to be about the most minor sort of curtailment of freedom save maybe ankle monitors- you can stay at home with your family, but you’re still constrained/punished in a small way.

It’s probably going to depend to some extent on how compliance is monitored. If radio frequency monitoring is used, the person must stay in range of the receiver, which I believe is somewhere between 50 and 150 feet. This sort of monitor would not allow someone to roam over a 64,000 acre ranch - it might not even allow someone to be in their entire front or back yard. One of my neighbors had to be very careful not to go all the way down his front steps - sitting on the top step was fine but sitting on the bottom step was not.

I’m not sure what you mean about the high-rise apartment - any house or apartment might be larger than those limits. And although I’ve actually never encountered that situation, my guess is that the person who is under house arrest will have to agree to remain in the rooms in range of the monitor since after all, house arrest is normally an alternative to being incarcerated.

There is also GPS monitoring , which doesn’t involve a receiver. It does involve inclusion and exclusion zones, which are set by address and therefore the mansions or the 64,000 acre ranch might depend to some extent on how the address system works.

I live on a plot of a third of an acre. That’s 150 feet from front to back. My house, not tiny, does not stretch 50 feet from any point: there are good-sized front and back yards.

I’ve never been in an ordinary house that a 150’ base unit couldn’t reach. That could reach from the basement to the top of 10-story apartment buildings.

I used to do house tours of historic mansions for the local Landmark Society. I never was in a single one where a 150’ centrally located unit couldn’t scan the entire structure. Even a central 50’ unit could reach everywhere. Again, a 100’ radius dwarfs even a large home.

Any dwelling that these couldn’t completely scan would be extraordinary compared to a basic single- or double-occupancy home or even a line of two-story apartments in one building.

Oh , I think I understand now - it wouldn’t matter if your apartment was on the top floor of a 30 floor apartment building or the top floor of a 3 story building because you would be confined to your own apartment and the fact that the front door of the building would be more than 200 feet from the receiver would be irrelevant. As a practical matter, it may be that no one could tell if you were actually in your apartment or the one next door or one flight up or down until someone checks up on you in person - but the actual restriction would be to your apartment.