Labre Law Office | Family Law & Criminal Defense Lawyer | Edwardsburg, MI

Tampering with an Electronic Monitoring Device: Penalties in Michigan

May 1, 2023 – Rob LaBre

Has a Michigan court ordered you to wear an electronic monitoring device on your ankle? You might wonder what consequences you could face if you tamper with it and get caught.

Tampering with electronic monitoring devices in Michigan is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison and/or a fine of up to $4,000. Though the penalties for messing with electronic monitoring devices are harsh, you could have a plausible defense.

Fines and incarceration aren’t the only consequences. A person who violates the law by device tampering may also have to reimburse the department that issued the device and the company that provides the monitoring services.

This blog explains the penalties for tampering with an electronic monitoring device. Read on to learn more, then contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at LaBre Law at (269) 431-2058 to schedule a consultation.

How Are Electronic Monitoring Devices Used?

An electronic monitoring device must be worn 24/7 for one of a couple of reasons:

  1. To track the location of a person, or
  2. To detect the presence of alcohol by monitoring alcohol consumption through sweat.

Electronic monitoring devices are a type of surveillance applied in various situations where the person is not physically incarcerated but still under the supervision of law enforcement authorities. Potential situations requiring the use of an electronic monitoring device include:

  • Work or school release: In some cases, someone convicted of a felony may be released from jail to attend work or school. While the person is out of jail for these purposes, they will wear a device with GPS tracking to ensure compliance with the release orders.
  • House arrest: In Michigan, house arrest typically involves a defendant staying in their home while awaiting trial or serving a sentence. This confinement may be under shelter-in-place orders, as part of a plea deal, or as a result of being convicted and sentenced to probation.
  • Pretrial release: While someone is waiting for trial and is not yet convicted of a crime, they may be released on the condition that they wear an electronic monitoring device
  • Probation or parole: After someone is released from prison, there could still be restrictions on where the person is allowed to go. An electronic monitoring device can detect if the person has violated these probation or parole conditions.
  • Post-release supervision: A person might be released from prison but still subject to electronic device monitoring when the crimes include first- or second-degree sexual conduct.

Why People Tamper with Electronic Monitoring Devices

Wearing a court-ordered electronic monitoring device limits freedom, and multiple factors can lead individuals to tamper with the technology. People sometimes remove their trackers due to physical discomfort or the social stigma associated with wearing one. Nonetheless, tampering is unlawful, and asking someone else to do it on your behalf will not exempt you from legal repercussions.

In a medical emergency, a qualified physician must authorize the removal of any electronic monitoring device.

Defenses to Electronic Monitoring Device Tampering Charges

Because tampering with an electronic monitoring device is an “intentional” crime, the courts often institute harsh punishments for offenders. A criminal defense attorney will explore every possible defense with you to see if any apply.

Potential defenses include:

  • Unintentional damage: Accidents happen, and an electronic monitoring device can become damaged through no fault of your own. For example, the device could have gotten wet or unintentionally struck an object like a wall or rock, interfering with its function. If your actions were not intentional, you might have a valid defense.
  • Malfunctioning device: If an electronic monitoring device is malfunctioning, the authorities might mistakenly assume it’s been tampered with, even if you are entirely innocent of wrongdoing. No technology is perfect, and these devices can malfunction or lose battery power.
    If your device malfunctions, immediately contact your probation officer or another contact person to prevent escalating consequences.
  • Accidental removal: If the device was accidentally removed, you could have another valid defense to prevent being charged with a felony, paying a fine, or going to prison. Explain to your defense attorney what happened so that the attorney can craft a defense.

Excellence Is Our Standard. Contact the Experienced Attorneys at LaBre Law Office

The authorities are cracking down on people who engage in electronic monitoring device tampering. Evidence of tampering can lead to an arrest and other severe penalties.

If you have been charged with tampering with an electronic monitoring device, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. At LaBre Law Office, excellent is our standard. Contact us today at (269) 431-2058 or complete our online form to schedule a consultation.

Copyright © 2023. LaBre Law Office. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

LaBre Law Office
68897 Cass St,
Edwardsburg, MI 49112
(269) 431-2058

Tampering with an Electronic Monitoring Device: Penalties in Michigan

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