How Far Can You Go On Electronic Monitoring? How Does It Work? 

How Far Can You Go On Electronic Monitoring

House arrests are a common issue in our community. However, many people do not know much about it until they are victims or people close to them. 

Electronic monitoring has several things to know about, and the law guides them. As a result, it is essential to know about electronic monitoring, especially if you are affected.

For both the offenders and the probation or monitoring officers, some rules and regulations guide using the gadget, what you can do and cannot. 

However, most of the rules are on the offender. Knowing these things will help you prevent more trouble with the authority. So, 

How far can you go on electronic monitoring?

50 to 150 feet is how long you can go on electronic monitoring. A unit monitors and detects the bracelet, and once you cross the range of 50 to 150 feet, it sends a signal to your monitoring center. 

The center has staff on 24 hours basis, every day meaning no matter the time, the signal will be picked. 

However, although this is the most common distance, it may vary from one person to the other depending on various factors. The judge will decide on how far you can go with your monitor.

What Is The Meaning Of Being Electronically Monitored?

Electronic monitoring is a form of incarceration where a digital device is used. In most cases, an ankle or wrist electronic bracelet will be used to monitor your location and, in some cases, your behavior.

The bracelet monitors your movement with a beacon placed on the edge of your assigned perimeter. If you move past the perimeter, the bracelet signals a monitoring center.

Is Electronic Monitoring Legal?

Yes. Electronic monitoring is legal. However, some countries do not allow this. Electronic monitoring happens on either petty offenders who do not need to go to jail or offenders on parole.

A judge will decide whether you need electronic monitoring or not and for how long. Your attorney may secure an electronic monitor to save you from prison in some cases.

Ankle Monitor Vibrating. What Does It Mean?

Different monitors have different designs. Some monitors beep if there is a need to warn you, while others vibrate. 

Remember that electronic ankle monitors have either GPS or Wi-Fi that enables the device to transmit data and triangulate your location. In some cases, a monitor may have both Wi-Fi and GPS.

If your ankle monitor vibrates, here are the reasons.

  1. You have moved past the regulated perimeter radius.
  2. If you are in a location or building with too many metals that interfere with the monitor’s signal, it cannot send any data.
  3. In case your program officer is contacting you. 
  4. Since an ankle monitor is electronic, it will always need to charge; the monitor will vibrate when the battery goes low.
  5. If the ankle monitor has problems or errors, it may vibrate. In this case, inform your program officer as soon as possible.

Ankle Monitor Beeping. What Does It Mean?

An ankle monitor may beep for several reasons, which include;

  1. If you move the beacon to a different location.
  2. If you move outside your required perimeter.
  3. Some monitors will also beep when the battery is low.
  4. A malfunction on the monitor may also make it beep, and you should report the matter as soon as possible.
  5. In case your PO is contacting you. It beeps to notify you.

How Long Does An Electronic Monitoring Device Battery Charge Last?

Most electronic monitoring devices have internal batteries that last for 40 hours. As a result, you should charge your device for 2 hours every day to ensure it does not go off unexpectedly.

However, it is crucial to note that the battery weakens as you use the device, and you will not get 40 hours as before.

Lights On My Electronic Monitoring Device. What Do They Mean?

When you notice a red light on your ankle monitor, it means you need to charge the device. It can also mean you have not done a required action, such as making a telephone call or internet check-in.

In cases where the program officer is doing an initialization process from the office, green and red lights come on. 

The yellow light will be on when you are charging the device.

However, it is crucial to look at the device manual to ensure you are right about various lights and their meaning. You may also ask your program officer.

Electronic Monitor Cannot Stop Vibrating

You may experience a problem where your monitor vibrates and does not stop in some cases. It means the device may be experiencing some technical issues. As a result, you should contact your program officer. In addition, in case you see things that you do not understand about your device, always contact your program officer.

Precautions when using an electronic monitoring device

Do not do any of the following things.

  • Do not move your monitoring unit. It will be a breach of rules and will alert the monitoring office.
  • Do not cover your monitoring unit
  • Do not unplug your monitoring unit
  • Do not open any of the equipment set to monitor you
  • Do not wet the monitoring device charger.
  • If you have a cordless battery, have it on your tracker when taking a shower.
  • Do not damage any of the equipment
  • Do not wet the monitoring unit

Side Effects Of Using A Gps Ankle Monitoring Bracelets

GPS ankle monitoring bracelets are crucial to many people, and they are better than going to jail. However, they come with several side effects. They include the following.

  1. GPS ankle monitors are expensive. The set-up fee will cost you around $175 -$200. Using the device will cost you $5 to $25 every day. You will be required to pay all the charges. It also includes the installation fee. In cases where you cannot pay the charges, you may easily go to jail.
  2. Since you wear the device on your skin full time, you should expect discomfort and, in some cases, irritation on your skin.
  3. Suffer medical care problems. A GPS ankle monitor is an electronic device. As a result, hospitals may decline to offer you services such as x-rays, CT scans, mammograms, or MRIs. Tests that use machines will interfere with the ankle monitor and endanger your life. In cases where such tests are critical, you will have to get your program officer to help.
  4. Power. A monitoring device is electronic, and you have to make sure there is access to power at all times. If the device goes off, you will have problems with the authorities.

Would You Go To Jail For Cutting Off Your Ankle Monitor?

There are penalties for tampering with an ankle monitor bracelet. It all depends on the level of offense. In some cases, you will get a warning from your program officer.

However, if you deliberately cut off your monitor, you will get a fine of up to $5,000 or a jail term of 5 years.

Frequently Asked Questions About Electronic Monitors

1. Is a landline a must for an ankle monitor?

It depends on your state. For some is not a must, while you will need one for others. Landlines enable a check with the program officer on various occasions. Some states still use this method to leave a clear and straightforward communication path between you and the program officer.

2. Can an Ankle Monitor detect drugs?

Yes, an ankle monitor can detect drugs. With modern technology, many ankle monitors are designed with several features to ensure the offenders do not get into trouble. 

As a result, some devices can monitor drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine. A SCRAM ankle device can test your sweat and quickly detect whether you have taken alcohol and to what amounts.

3. Can an electronic ankle monitor listen to my conversations?

Yes. Ankle monitor devices have microphones that can listen to conversations. However, you must discuss this matter with your attorney to get a clear picture and raise any concerns.

4. Why do some employers use electronic monitors?

In some companies, you will find employers using electronic monitors. Employers do this to evaluate their employees effectively. 

The technology is used as a way of monitoring employees’ production output. In such cases, employers also set standards and goals and encourage employees to meet them. You can discuss this case with your employer if you have concerns about it.


Electronic monitoring is common in many states. Whenever you fall under electronic monitoring, it is crucial to learn as much as possible about the process to prevent making mistakes that will cost you and send you to prison. 

Talk to your program officer or attorney for any questions or clarifications at any time.

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