GPS MONITORING AS A CONDITION OF BAIL OR PROBATION IN MASSACHUSETTS

John L. Calcagni IIIJohn L. Calcagni III
GPS Monitoring

As a condition of a defendant’s bail or probation in Massachusetts, he or she can be ordered by the District or Superior Courts to be subject to Global Positioning Systems (GPS) monitoring.  GPS monitoring is ordered in circumstances where the Court believes the defendant poses either a danger to others or a flight risk.  The GPS monitor is affixed to a defendant’s ankle with a nonremovable rubber, water resistant bracelet.  The device must be charged regularly to ensure continual operation.  A GPS order may include exclusion zones from which the defendant cannot go while under monitoring.  The GPS device tracks a defendant’s location at all times.  Once on GPS monitoring, the defendant may be subject to certain restrictions, such as curfews and limits on travel.  Violating these conditions may serve as the basis for a bail or probation violation that can lead to a defendant’s incarceration.  

When GPS monitoring is ordered as a condition of bail and/or probation, the Judge or the Clerk will instruct the defendant to immediately report to the Probation Department to set up and fit him or her with a GPS device.  Sometimes a GPS device is not readily available when ordered.  It is wise for defense counsel to check on GPS availability before appearing before the Court for a proceeding where it is foreseeable that GPS monitoring may be required.  If a device is not readily available, a defendant may be ordered detained pending the availability of a GPS monitoring system.   In the alternative, the Court may order the defendant to report to Probation daily until a device or monitoring system becomes available.  

            GPS monitoring systems or devices are regulated by the Probation Department.  Probation possesses, provides and instructs the defendant on GPS usage immediately following the Court’s order that monitoring be implemented.  Once at the Probation Department, the defendant will meet with a probation officer, who will review the instructions and rules regarding GPS monitoring.  The device is then attached and fitted to the defendant’s ankle.  The defendant is also provided with a charger and related equipment to ensure continual operation of the device.  The defendant is financially responsible for any damage or loss to the GPS device or any of it components.    

            Probation recommends that a GPS device is charged for two (2) hours every day.  It also recommends that you do not charge the GPS while sleeping.  This could result in the charger detaching from the unit, the GPS not properly charging and an alert being sent to the Electronic Monitoring Program (ELMO).  ELMO is the company that regulates all GPS monitoring systems in the United States.  An alert will also occur if the defendant enters an exclusion zone or fails to abide by any curfew associated with his GPS monitoring.  Sometimes technical difficulties may arise with the GPS device and related equipment.  Defendants are advised to immediately call ELMO and notify their Probation Officer if an alert occurs to prevent any misunderstandings and/or possible bail or probation violations arising from the alert.

            A GPS monitoring system cannot be submerged in water via activities such as swimming or bathing, however the defendant may shower while wearing the device.  Water-related damage can adversely impact the proper functioning of the device and cause an alert to ELMO.  

GPS monitoring is a good alternative to a high unaffordable bail or being held without bail.  The Law Office of John L. Calcagni III has extensive experience representing individuals in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts who are on GPS monitoring.   If you are a defendant in Massachusetts facing bail or probation where GPS monitoring is a required or anticipated condition, consult with a criminal defense lawyer by contacting us at (401) 351-5100 today.