DUI Alternative Sentencing through SCRAM
DUI Alternative Sentencing through SCRAM is an option for those that are facing jail time from a DUI. Because many judges look for sobriety to solve the underlying problem, instead of jailing, and because rehab programs and monitoring can sometimes give the same credit for being in jail, judges often will allow SCRAM to be an alternative for DUI cases where jail time is mandatory or is otherwise faced by you or your loved one.
What is SCRAM?
SCRAM stands for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring. The secure part means that it cannot be removed by the user, and is always in contact with the skin. The continuous means that it monitors for alcohol, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, leaving no possibility of avoiding sobriety without being detected. The remote means that it does not have to be monitored in the presence of the user, and usually data is securely transmitted to an outside center, or downloaded by the center, rather than having the person constantly supervised by a probation officer or other personnel. The Alcohol Monitoring portion is the heart of SCRAM. It measures the skin for alcohol constantly, like a nose sniffing the skin, to see if alcohol is consumed.
Why use SCRAM?
SCRAM is used for two purposes – to ensure sobriety for the person wearing it, and to avoid other punishments. From the defense point of view, it is an option for those that are facing mandatory jail time (for example, for those facing second time or more DUIs, or felony DUI cases), and for all involved, it is an opportunity to address the underlying addiction issue, rather than just jailing persons that end up learning nothing from the process. Statistics show that persons that have a longer period of sobriety end up not falling back into old habits again, and are more successful overall.
How does SCRAM work?
SCRAM works by using a fuel cell, like most breath testing devices. The SCRAM device combines an alcohol detection plate and fuel cell, a battery, and a transmission device (using cell technology or downloads) to provide data to answer one simple question – did the person use alcohol? Like a nose pressed up to the skin, it detects the 1% of alcohol secreted by the skin when consumed, and provides a chart and measurements to the end user, to show sobriety (or failure to maintain sobriety) to a court or other authority.
Many defendants in the past have used paper, luncheon meats, socks, and bandaids, among other substances, like creams, to try to fool the SCRAM device. Most machines can detect efforts to fool the machine in this way.
Persons that work around alcohol, or acetones, cleaners, or solvents, do have to be careful that they do not spill any substances on their body, as it might be detected as a false positive for alcohol on the SCRAM device.
Where does one sign up for SCRAM?
Who offers SCRAM? There are a number of providers here in Orange County, and elsewhere, that provide SCRAM for persons that are interested. My recommendation, as part of the overall defense strategy for multiple offense DUI cases, is to get our clients pre-approved for SCRAM, so that we can go into the court, and show the judge that they already are a candidate, are willing to make sure that they show sobriety, and will not be turned away from the program.
Did you get an appointment to have your SCRAM installed in Orange County?
Advice you should know: Unfortunately, SCRAM has the same unreliable factors as all monitoring systems, and one of those unreliable factors is the human element. If you take part in SCRAM monitoring either as a pre-plea condition or as part of sentencing, please take these common-sense precautions to make sure nothing happens that could get you in trouble:
1. When you have the SCRAM device attached to your ankle, you will also be signing a contract. Make sure that the serial number on the device matches the serial number on the contract. Then, before they attach the device, take a picture of the serial number on the device. Send your attorney (us) a picture of the serial number and a picture of the contract by email so that the matching numbers are effectively time-stamped.
2. Don’t ever place anything between the device and your skin. No lotion. No socks. No leggings or sweatpants – nothing.
3. If the device is acting strangely or if you have any reason to believe that it is registering an alcohol or tamper event, contact your attorney at our law firm immediately. He or she may want you to get a urine screen done to show that there was no alcohol intake on your part, but you need to get the screen done quickly. We usually send clients to Quest Diagnostics when we need a quick screen done. It is not cheap, but it is a lot less expensive than a SCRAM violation.
Contact our firm, and we can schedule and set up SCRAM to avoid jail time for your DUI case.