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The Get Out of Jail (But Stay at Home) Card

Arrested, convicted and “doing weekends”? Being sentenced to do your jail time on weekends—intermittent time—can be a good outcome for you if you have been convicted of an offence that requires you to be incarcerated. Serving your sentence on weekends allows you to lead a relatively normal life during the rest of the week. But there is now the possibility of an even better option: serving your intermittent sentence at home. Sound good? It is a good deal but it comes with conditions.

The way it works is that you have to apply to the rehabilitative Temporary Absence Pass (TAP) program. If you are approved for the program, your conditions will be listed on the back of your pass. One condition will be that during the time of your sentence, you will be required to stay in your “inclusion zone” i.e. you will be under house arrest. You will have to wear a Global Positioning System (GPS) device which will monitor your location and movements. (You will only be monitored during the specified times that you are serving your intermittent sentence. So if you are serving your sentence on weekends, you will only be monitored on weekends.) If you leave your inclusion zone contrary to your conditions, your TAP may be suspended or revoked.

Another condition that you will have to fulfill as a requirement of your TAP, is the completion of a self-driven learning program for which you will be given some booklets to complete. If you don’t complete the programming, you’ll be suspended from the program and will have to serve the rest of your sentence in jail.

If you haven’t been convicted yet but think that you might be, remember that intermittent sentences, with or without the TAP, are only available for sentences of 90 days or less. And, to convince a judge to let you serve your sentence intermittently, you have to show that you have some significant responsibilities, like a job, school attendance, child care responsibilities, etc. that would make it difficult for you to serve a regular jail sentence.

Also remember that during the part of your intermittent sentence when you’re at liberty, you will be bound by a probation order. Breaching the probation order would itself be a criminal offence and may result in you having to serve the whole of the reminder of your sentence in jail. It may also result in additional jail time.

Some things to keep in mind about the GPS device is that you are not allowed to tamper with it and you can’t submerge it in water (as in a pool or bath).

To find out about applying for TAP and/or about intermittent sentences, give us a call for a free 30-minute consultation.

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