Many jurisdictions have started using SCRAM bracelets to monitor alcohol use following certain DUI convictions. SCRAM is short for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring. SCRAM bracelets attach to a person's ankle and look for the presence of alcohol in sweat. SCRAM bracelet programs are a form of continuous alcohol monitoring with the benefit of not requiring frequent in-person check-ins to test for alcohol use.
Who Gets a SCRAM Bracelet?
In a growing number of states, judges may order or allow use of a SCRAM bracelet as a condition of parole, probation or early release of those convicted of driving under the influence. Most often, judges order SCRAM bracelets for repeat DUI offenders. For a long time, judges have ordered certain DUI offenders not to drink any alcohol, particularly those who have shown a severe problem with alcohol. Sometimes, a SCRAM bracelet is merely an option for the offender instead of in-person testing.
SCRAM bracelets and any other technology for continuous monitoring of alcohol levels allow for easier enforcement of orders not to drink. They also don't require the frequent in-person alcohol tests which can be burdensome for everyone involved.
How SCRAM Bracelets Work
SCRAM bracelets detect even minute amounts of alcohol present in a person's sweat. Often, the person's alcohol levels are checked once per hour by the ankle bracelet. Through a SCRAM bracelet modem, or in some places through a periodic manual download, SCRAM bracelets report the measurements to a regional monitoring center. If the wearer's sweat contains alcohol, or if the person has tampered with the bracelet, the regional monitoring center will contact the appropriate authorities.
Who Pays for SCRAM Bracelets?
In general, the offender pays for SCRAM bracelet services. This can include the purchase of (or a deposit on) the bracelet itself, as well as monthly monitoring services. SCRAM bracelets are not cheap. In some places, the total cost per month can be hundreds of dollars. Offenders who can prove an inability to pay may be able to have their fees covered.
SCRAM Bracelet Violations
Alcohol use by someone who has been ordered to avoid drinking can constitute a parole or probation violation, and may result in jail time. While SCRAM bracelet results have been accepts by many courts, they have also been successfully challenged. Some defendants have argued that SCRAM bracelets give some false positives. If the defendant can convince the court that the prosecution has not presented adequate evidence of drinking, the court may reject SCRAM bracelet results. Some defendants have countered with witness testimony that he or she was not drinking, as well as expert testimony that the SCRAM results show unlikely drinking behavior based on when alcohol was detected and how long it stayed in the persons sweat.
Consult an Experienced DUI Attorney
Challenging SCRAM bracelet violations, however, is an uphill battle. As with other consequences of a drunk driving conviction, the impact on an offender can be significant. A skilled attorney who specializes in defending DUI cases can evaluate all the evidence, including the procedure and results of any field sobriety and chemical tests, to ensure that your legal rights are protected. It's also important to speak to a lawyer familiar with the laws in your jurisdiction. Most offer free consultations, so your first step should be to contact an experienced DUI attorney. If you would like to know more about SCRAM bracelets, or have other questions that are specific to your case, there are many DUI and criminal defense attorneys in your area who may be able to help.