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What Are The Penalties For Tampering With An Electronic Monitoring Device In Michigan?

by | Mar 29, 2021 | Criminal Law |

 

In lieu of incarceration, corrections departments in Michigan can effectively supervise offenders in the community by requiring them to participate in an electronic monitoring system.  This usually takes the form of an ankle monitor that the offender must wear at all times.  Depending on the type of behavior targeted for monitoring, an offender can be equipped with a device to monitor curfew, to monitor alcohol consumption, or to otherwise monitor the offender’s whereabouts at all times through use of a global positioning system (GPS).  Electronic monitoring may be required under the following circumstances:

  • As A Condition Of Pretrial Release: A judge can require a person accused of a crime to wear an electronic monitoring device while on pretrial release, even if not yet convicted.  Failure to comply can result in a violation of bond conditions and can result in incarceration pending trial.
  • Work or School Release From Jail: “If the court permits an individual convicted of a felony to be released from jail… for purposes of attending work or school, the court shall order the individual to wear an electronic monitoring device on his or her person that will provide a signal to the county sheriff through the use of the global positioning satellite system or by other means of the individual’s movement and location at all times while he or she is on that release. The device shall be an ankle-worn device approved by the court that provides information to the county sheriff if it is tampered with or removed. The information provided by the electronic monitoring device shall be recorded and monitored by the county sheriff to ensure the individual’s compliance with his or her work release requirements. The installation, maintenance, monitoring, and removal costs of the electronic monitoring device shall be paid for by the individual.” MCL 771.3e.
  • As A Condition Of Probation: A judge can require a person to wear an electronic monitoring device as a condition of probation and restrict the locations that the offender is permitted to go.  At a minimum, an offender may be permitted to go to a place of employment, school, obtain medical services, participate in community service or attend religious services.  Failure to comply with probation conditions can result in a violation that can cause the judge to re-sentence the offender to jail or prison.
  • As A Condition Of Parole. An offender reentering the community from prison may be required by the Parole Board to wear an electronic monitoring device as a special condition.  Failure to comply with this special condition can result in a parole violation that can return the offender to prison to serve his or her maximum sentence.
  • Lifetime Monitoring Required When Convicted Of CSC 1st Degree and CSC 2nd Degree – A person convicted of criminal sexual conduct – first degree (MCL 750.520b) or criminal sexual conduct – second degree (MCL 750.520c) where the victim was under 13 years old and the offender is 17 years old or older SHALL be sentenced to lifetime electronic monitoring. MCL 750.520n(1).  A person subject to lifetime electronic monitoring is guilty of a felony punishable by a fine up to $2,000.00 or up to 2 years in prison, contrary to MCL 750.520n(2), if he or she does ANY of the following:
      • “Intentionally removes, defaces, alters, destroys, or fails to maintain the electronic monitoring device in working order.”
      • “Fails to notify the department of corrections that the electronic monitoring device is damaged.”
      • “Fails to reimburse the department of corrections or its agent for the cost of the monitoring.”

If required to wear an electronic monitoring device (other than for lifetime monitoring for sex offenders under MCL 750.520n), Michigan law prohibits the following behavior:

  • “A person shall not knowingly and without authority remove, destroy, or circumvent the operation of an electronic monitoring device or knowingly interfere with a signal, impulse, or data that is being transmitted by or stored within an electronic monitoring device worn or otherwise used by an individual as a condition for any of the following: work release or house arrest, bond or other pretrial release, probation, parole, post-release supervision or postconviction bond, or release under MCL 771.3e.” MCL 771.3f(1).
  • “A person shall not knowingly and without authority request or solicit any other person to remove, destroy, or circumvent the operation of an electronic monitoring device or knowingly interfere with a signal, impulse, or data that is being transmitted by or stored within an electronic monitoring device worn or otherwise used by an individual” for purposes of work release or house arrest, bond or other pretrial release, probation, parole, post-release supervision or postconviction bond, or release under MCL 771.3e. MCL 771.3f(2).

A person who violates any of these laws regarding electronic monitoring devices is guilty of a felony punishable by a fine up to $4,000.00 or up to 2 years in prison, or both.  MCL 771.3f(4).  This applies to “any electronic device or instrument that is used to track the location of a person or detect the presence of alcohol.”  MCL 771.3f(5).  This does NOT apply to either of the following:

  • “The owner of the electronic monitoring device or his or her agent while performing proper maintenance and repairs on that device.” MCL 771.3f(3)(a).
  • “A person who removes the electronic monitoring device at the direction of a physician due to an immediate medical necessity.” MCL 771.3f(3)(b).

In addition, if the electronic monitoring device is damaged or destroyed, the offender may be required to reimburse the probation or parole department (or the electronic monitoring company) for the cost of the equipment.

Tampering with, destroying or removing an electronic device is a serious offense that will not be taken lightly by the prosecutor and judge.  You need a skilled criminal defense lawyer in your corner that will protect your rights and put forward the best defense to help keep you out of jail or prison.  Remember, these are intentional crimes and would not be applicable if the electronic monitoring device was accidentally damaged (e.g. ankle monitor got wet or was accidentally struck by a foreign object).  Be sure that you know all of the rights and defenses available under the law.

If you or a loved one is charged with any crime and need legal representation, then do not hesitate to contact the experienced attorneys at Kershaw, Vititoe & Jedinak PLC today.

 

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