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SCRAM Bracelets

A SCRAM bracelet is a device that attaches to your ankle and detects the presence of alcohol in sweat. SCRAM is short for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring. Many jurisdictions use SCRAM devices to monitor alcohol consumption use after a driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) conviction.

SCRAM bracelet programs are a form of continuous alcohol monitoring. The benefit of these programs is that frequent in-person check-ins aren't required to test for alcohol use. Alternatively, an offender may have their car outfitted with an ignition interlock device (IID) to check for alcohol on their breath.

This article discusses who might be ordered to wear an ankle bracelet. It also addresses how SCRAM bracelets work and who pays for them. Finally, the article covers what happens after a SCRAM bracelet violation.

Who Might Be Ordered To Wear a SCRAM Bracelet?

In many states, judges may order or allow the use of a SCRAM alcohol monitoring device as a condition of probationparole, or early release if you've been convicted of a DUI.

Most often, judges order SCRAM bracelets to be worn for a set period of time after repeat drunk driving charges. Judges have historically ordered repeat DUI offenders to refrain from drinking alcohol. This is especially true for offenders who have shown a severe problem with alcohol. Sometimes, a SCRAM bracelet is merely an alternative to in-person testing.

SCRAM bracelets and other technology for continuously monitoring alcohol levels allow for easier enforcement of court orders not to drink. They also don't require frequent in-person alcohol tests, which can be burdensome for everyone involved. Studies also indicate that wearing a SCRAM bracelet, when combined with alcohol treatment, reduces the risk of reoffending.

How SCRAM Bracelets Work

SCRAM monitoring bracelets measure the amount of alcohol in a person's sweat. This measurement is called the transdermal alcohol concentration. The bracelets often check the levels of alcohol in the wearer's sweat once per hour. A SCRAM ankle bracelet determines if you've been consuming alcohol much like a Breathalyzer test measures blood alcohol content (BAC). The device resembles an ankle monitor used for house arrest.

Through a SCRAM bracelet modem or periodic manual download, SCRAM bracelets report the measurements to a regional monitoring center. If the wearer's sweat contains alcohol, or if the wearer tampers with the bracelet, the regional monitoring center contacts the appropriate authorities.

False positives can happen with SCRAM devices. For example, using alcohol-based mouthwash could lead to a false positive.

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 and daily monitoring fees. SCRAM bracelets are relatively expensive. 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

Suppose you've been ordered to refrain from drinking, but you consume alcohol anyway. In that case, your conduct can constitute a parole or probation violation. This type of violation may result in jail time. While many courts have accepted SCRAM bracelet results, those results have also been successfully challenged. Some defendants have argued that SCRAM bracelets give some false positives.

If a defendant can convince the court that the prosecution hasn't presented adequate evidence of drinking, the court may reject SCRAM bracelet results. Some defendants have countered with witness testimony that they weren't drinking and expert testimony that the SCRAM results show unlikely drinking behavior based on when alcohol was detected and how long it stayed in the defendant's sweat.

Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney About SCRAM Bracelets and More

Challenging SCRAM bracelet violations can seem like an uphill battle. A skilled criminal defense lawyer who specializes in defending DUI cases can help with your criminal defense after a drunk driving arrest. Contact an experienced DUI attorney near you today to learn more about DUI laws in your state. A DUI defense attorney can help you with your alcohol-related offense, whether you've been charged with a misdemeanor or have a prior DUI conviction.

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