SCRAM is an acronym for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring. SCRAM is an alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet that the court uses to oversee motorists restricted from taking alcohol. Many motorists convicted of DUI have to wear SCRAM bracelets. The court could order you to wear the SCRAM bracelet on a 24/7 basis upon a conviction for driving under the influence. You can wear a SCRAM bracelet at any place, including in the bathroom, because the bracelet is not only water-resistant but also tamper-proof. If you have been convicted of a DUI and ordered to wear a SCRAM, you should hire a reputable DUI attorney. Our attorneys at Koenig Law Office can help you understand what a SCRAM bracelet is, its implications, and how you can navigate the situation in Bakersfield, CA.
Individuals Required To Wear A SCRAM Bracelet
The court can order you not to drink alcohol as a condition for securing your release from custody. In this case, the judge will likely require you to put on a SCRAM bracelet as a condition of getting out of custody. Wearing a bracelet could also be a probationary condition. The judge needs to be sure that you are indeed refraining from taking alcohol when you wear a SCRAM bracelet. In most cases, you could be ordered to wear the bracelet if you are a repeat DUI offender. Other individuals who could be ordered to put on the bracelet are frequent consumers of alcohol.
The judge decides on the appropriate punishment after an arrest and conviction for a DUI and other alcohol-related violations. At times, the judge can restrict you from taking alcohol for a defined period as part of the penalty. The period can be months or even years, decided at the judge's discretion. The bracelet will help the authorities monitor your alcohol usage during the probationary period.
SCRAM bracelets can also be used alongside other rehabilitative programs. The purpose of the programs and the bracelet is to assist you in breaking your habitual drinking patterns.
How A SCRAM Bracelet Works
The bracelet came into effect in 2003. The SCRAM bracelet checks your sweat every 30 minutes when you are wearing it. The bracelet will detect any alcohol present and then send the outcome daily to a regional monitoring system. The bracelet will send data more frequently if you are a high-risk person. The court will receive a notification within 24 hours if the bracelet detects alcohol in your system.
AMS manufactures both SCRAM and SCRAMx bracelets. SCRAMx is an improved form of SCRAM device because it monitors alcohol presence and has a radio frequency with a house-arrest monitoring system. The SCRAMx bracelet monitors if you have violated the house arrest terms, in addition to checking whether you have consumed alcohol.
Alcohol leaves the body through excretion. Most alcohol comes out through urine. However, some could come from the body through breath, saliva, or sweat. Around 1% of alcohol leaves the bloodstream through insensible perspiration. Insensible perspiration constitutes a small amount of ethanol vapor that escapes through the ankle's skin.
Typically, the bracelet uses transdermal alcohol testing. Transdermal generally means via the skin. The bracelet can test alcohol in your body via the skin since a portion of the alcohol you take escapes through the skin.
The courts in California ruled that SCRAM bracelets are scientifically accurate. The evidence of tampering and alcohol consumption retrieved from the bracelets proved to be reliable and valid in court proceedings. It is hard for you to fight the outcome of the SCRAM. You can only fight the outcome of the bracelets by proving that the device was not functioning correctly, leading to unreliable results.
Most motorists feel that SCRAM interferes with a person's privacy. However, the judge could impose alcohol monitoring as a parole or probation condition. Alcohol monitoring usually acts as an option for incarceration. The bracelets can seem invasive, but they are better than serving a jail term. Additionally, the judge cannot impose an alcohol-monitoring device without sufficient evidence that you have drinking issues.
A modem normally uploads the outcome that the bracelet secures, and a private company monitors the outcomes. The private company will report you to the court if you test positive for alcohol. According to most courts, most defendants complete their alcohol monitoring without any violations.
Challenging SCRAM Readings
The readings of the SCRAM bracelets have had controversies for a long time. The bracelets have submitted inaccurate readings on several occasions. There are also common instances where bracelets have provided false positives. A false positive is a case where a bracelet shows that you consumed alcohol, yet you have not done so.
You could request a hearing with the court if you want to challenge the outcome of a SCRAM bracelet. At the hearing, you will ascertain whether the device provided false readings or whether the violation occurred. During the hearing, you will also have a chance to present the documents to prove your innocence. You could give witness testimony with the help of your attorney, claiming that you did not take alcohol.
It is crucial to consult an attorney any time you face charges for SCRAM violations. Seek the services of an attorney with knowledge of SCRAM technology. A skilled and experienced attorney can help you fight SCRAM evidence in court. A reliable attorney who can deal with the prosecutor on your behalf is the best defense strategy you could have while facing any criminal offense.
Other Cases That Could Require You To Put On A SCRAM
The SCRAM bracelet could be useful in other cases apart from adult driving under the influence, sentencing, and probation. For example, during pretrial supervision, you could be ordered to put on the bracelet as a bail condition. A SCRAM could also be part of a specialty court program, including Veterans Court, Military Diversion, and Drug Court. A SCRAM could also serve as early parole, whereby you secure early release from custody because of overcrowding in prison.
A SCRAM could also be used to support offender reentry programs. If you have been convicted of domestic violence, SCRAM could also be part of your sentence or probationary condition. The court could order you to put on a bracelet if you are facing domestic violence charges and alcohol was a significant contributing factor to the crime. Individuals convicted of violating underage drinking and driving laws could also be ordered to wear bracelets.
Period Of Wearing A SCRAM
The judge can determine the period you have to wear the bracelet. Generally, the judge could order you to wear a bracelet for 30 days to a period that exceeds one year. The judge considers several factors while determining the period you should wear a SCRAM bracelet. Some of the factors the judge considers include the following:
- Your problem with alcohol —The judge can order you to wear the bracelet for a longer period if you are a frequent consumer of alcohol.
- The number of prior DUI crimes you have committed — The judge could order you to wear a bracelet for a longer period if you have committed more DUI crimes in the past ten years.
- The severity of the DUI crime — The judge could order you to wear a bracelet for longer periods if you commit a more serious offense.
Punishment For Violating The SCRAM Requirements
You have to comply with the requirements and instructions of a SCRAM if the judge orders you to do so. You could face severe repercussions if you fail to comply with all the requirements outlined by the court. Original penalties for DUI are some of the repercussions you face for failing to adhere to the requirements of a SCRAM. The punishment could include serving a jail term and paying hefty fines.
You could lose your driver's license if you fail to adhere to SCRAM requirements. Most DUI crimes attract suspension of driving privileges. The court could allow you to retain your driver's license if you accept to wear the SCRAM and honor its terms and conditions. The court could enforce license suspension if you violate the requirements of the SCRAM.
You could also lose civil privileges if you fail to comply with the requirements of the SCRAM. The judge could withdraw your rights and impose a jail term rather than parole, probation, or alternative sentencing. You could also face rehabilitative measures, including mandatory community services and counseling programs.
It is hard to remove the SCRAM bracelet, but you can remove it with much effort. However, the device will alert the regional monitoring center if you remove it. Once you remove it, the monitoring center will notify the court immediately. The judge will convene a hearing upon receiving the notification. The hearing is the same as a probation violation hearing. The judge will determine whether to send you back to custody during the hearing or impose harsher conditions.
Other Conditions of Electronic Monitoring
You are free to visit various places while wearing the ankle bracelet. For example, you can go to school or work with a bracelet. You can also enroll in an alcohol counseling program and other court-ordered programs. People wearing SCRAM are free to complete community service and other duties the court imposes as conditions for parole or probation. You are free to visit places like the grocery store and the gym. You can participate in pre-approved and scheduled activities on specific days.
You could be subject to additional conditions if you are on electronic monitoring. For example, the court can impose a curfew. The court can order you to stay in your house at night or during certain daylight hours. You also undergo random drug testing. Law enforcement could come into your house at will and test you for drugs or alcohol.
The court can also order you to meet with the probation or parole officer periodically while on electronic alcohol monitoring. You could also be subject to a random search of your house or within your residence. The judge can restrict the places you can visit, the hours you can spend away from home, and the people you should meet with.
Attending School or Going to Work With a SCRAM or SCRAMx Device
There is a restriction on your movement when wearing a SCRAM device, but you can visit any place you desire. Unfortunately, you cannot do so while wearing a SCRAMx device. The SCRAMx program involves monitoring your alcohol use and your house arrest. You could be on a total house arrest or curfew. You will have to remain in the house at all times if you are on complete house arrest. However, you could visit certain places if the judge imposes a curfew. Some places could be school or work, but only during specific times of the day or night.
A SCRAM program does not constitute house arrest. Therefore, you will still be free to attend school or work even as you participate in the program. You could also undergo alcohol treatment while wearing the device. You will continue with your normal life, but on the condition that you avoid taking alcohol.
You could secure credit for your service period while wearing the SCRAMx bracelet. If you are under house arrest and DUI monitoring, the court could order you to wear a SCRAMx bracelet. The court could credit you for your serving period because you lived in confinement. The judge could give you credit even if you leave at certain times and for specific reasons. However, the court cannot give you credit if you are not living in confinement while wearing the SCRAM bracelet.
SCRAM Bracelet Vibration
You are likely to feel a slight vibration whenever the bracelet is taking a reading. Therefore, if you notice a slight vibration of the device, you should not worry. Most people get used to the vibrations in as little as a day. A SCRAM device normally differs from urine, breath, or blood testing equipment. The difference is based on the fact that the device monitors a person's sweat automatically and continues to measure alcohol intake.
The SCRAM bracelet could also light up from time to time. Often, the bracelet could show a green light. The green light indicates that the device sends the information to the central monitoring station. The blinking of the green light could mean the modem is trying to communicate with the device. If your bracelet blinks a red light, it could inform you that you need to charge it. The bracelet will vibrate and stabilize once you connect the charger.
You can shower with the bracelet on since it is water-resistant. You should always clean the bracelet and the area around the bracelet. Bracelets always come with manuals to guide the users on cleaning and maintaining them.
Many defendants often ask if a SCRAM can sense when you consume a small quantity of alcohol. A SCRAM will typically sense alcohol via your skin because your body usually breaks down alcohol. The SCRAM will sense alcohol in your body even while it is being processed. A person's liver takes about one hour to break down one ounce of alcohol. Therefore, it will depend on when you drank for the device to detect. It will also depend on the amount you took for the device to sense. However, a SCRAM can detect even a little alcohol consumption because of its high level of effectiveness. You should keep off alcohol if you are under electronic monitoring.
Interfering With The SCRAM
At times, a defendant could attempt to interfere with the SCRAM device to prevent it from sensing alcohol in the bloodstream. For example, you could attempt to place something between the SCRAM and your ankle. Usually, the bracelet can detect any form of interference because it has an infrared sensor. The infrared shines a beam of infrared against your skin. Your skin absorbs part of the beam while the other part bounces back to the device. The device will measure the baseline infrared reading when you first install it. Later on, the device will interpret that you have inserted something between it and your skin if the reading varies significantly. SCRAM will then send a signal that you attempted to interfere with it.
SCRAM devices also come with a temperature sensor and an infrared sensor. The bracelet will record the temperature readings and monitor the temperature periodically. It could indicate that there is something between the device and your skin if there is a variance in temperature. The SCRAM will record lower temperature readings if you place an obstruction between the device and your skin.
Find a DUI Attorney Near Me
If the court wants you to abstain from alcohol after a DUI conviction, it can use a SCRAM device to monitor your alcohol levels. A SCRAM can be very restrictive. However, you can challenge the orders to wear a SCRAM if you secure the services of a reputable DUI attorney.
At the Koenig Law Office, we have skilled and experienced attorneys who can help you understand the implications of a SCRAM and help you challenge the requirement to wear a SCRAM. Contact our attorneys in Bakersfield, CA, no matter how complicated your DUI case is. Call us today at 661-793-7222 to speak to one of our attorneys.