The Use of Electronic Monitoring Devices in Florida

The Use of Electronic Monitoring Devices in Florida

Our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers know that when someone in Florida is found by a court to have committed a crime, it is not uncommon for the said court to sentence that individual to community control as part of the sentence. When such individuals are placed on community control, they are supervised and monitored by the Florida Department of Corrections, which, as outlined by State Statute 948.11, uses electronic monitoring devices for the purpose of monitoring said, offenders.

The statute stipulates that the Department of Corrections may (at its discretion) electronically monitor an offender who has been sentenced to community control. Further, our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers know that the statute states that any offender who has been placed on community control and who violates the terms and conditions of community control and is restored to community control may be supervised by means of an electronic monitoring device or system.

Monitoring Procedures

In specifying the details of the supervision, s. 948.11 states that for those offenders being electronically monitored, the Department of Corrections shall develop procedures to determine, investigate, and report the offender’s noncompliance with the terms of sentence 24 hours per day. In other words, the Department of Corrections implements a system through which they will be ensuring, around the clock, that the person under supervision is complying with the rules and regulations of the program. If said person is found to be noncompliant, the Department of Corrections will generate a report of noncompliance, which will be immediately investigated by a community control officer.

In addition, our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know that, per the state statute, the Department of Corrections may contract with local law enforcement agencies to assist in the location and apprehension of offenders who are in noncompliance as reported by the electronic monitoring system. The purpose of this type of contract is to provide the department with a means for providing an immediate investigation of noncompliance reports, particularly after normal office hours.

Financial Costs

One part of the statute that is of particular significance to those placed on supervision as part of a sentence (which typically also includes the payment of fines and court costs/fees) is the subsection that states that anyone who is electronically monitored by the Department of Corrections as a result of being placed on supervision has to pay the department for the electronic monitoring services. In other words, if you’re placed on supervision, you have to pay for the electronic monitoring service that the department uses to monitor your activity.

In addition, for probationers, people on community control or people who have been conditionally released who have current or prior convictions for violent or sexual offenses, the department, in carrying out a court or commission order to electronically monitor an offender, must use a system that actively monitors and identifies the offender’s location and timely reports or records the offender’s presence near or within a crime scene or in a prohibited area or the offender’s departure from specified geographic limitations. Procurement of electronic monitoring services under this subsection shall be by competitive procurement in accordance with s. 287.057.

Finally, the statute is clear about the fact that a person who intentionally alters, tampers with, damages, or destroys any electronic monitoring equipment pursuant to court or commission order, unless such person is the owner of the equipment, or an agent of the owner, performing ordinary maintenance and repairs, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and/or 5 years in prison.

As former prosecutors, our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers know the ins and outs of community control supervisory programs, including the use of electronic monitoring devices and the challenge that is subject to such supervision poses for offenders.

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