The Alcohol Patch: DUI Sentencing Alternative
Alcohol Patch: DUI Sentencing Alternative
An alcohol patch is a technology that may be more widely used in the future, as part of efforts for alternative sentencing, and as an alternative to jail. Like another item of technology, the alternative sentencing SCRAM bracelet, the alcohol patch uses transdermal testing via a skin patch, which measures the concentration of alcohol present in the insensible perspiration that is constantly produced and given off by the skin. If a person has been drinking, alcohol can be detected in the level of ethanol vapor present in their perspiration.
While transdermal testing cannot determine exact blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels, it can determine the quantity of alcohol that was consumed based on the transdermal alcohol content (TAC). TAC results correlate well with BAC results. However, because of the way alcohol is absorbed and processed by the body, TAC peaks typically are reached 30 minutes to two hours after BAC peaks.
When an offender is convicted of a DUI, a typical condition of sentencing or probation is sobriety – that is, that the individual stop drinking. To enforce this, courts have traditionally looked to random testing methods (blood testing, breath testing, or in the past, urine) that measure sobriety at a specific point in time.
Continuous transdermal alcohol monitoring has been suggested by the scientific community based on 70 years of research and 22 peer-reviewed studies. It is becoming an increasingly accepted and integral part of offender alcohol monitoring programs within courts, probation, treatment, and correctional agencies, although many judges are skeptical, just because it is unfamiliar to them. Transdermal monitoring has also been accepted in evidentiary hearings, and has been admissible in many court cases.
An alcohol research study done in 1980 showed that the ability to detect specific alcohol levels was not very encouraging, but the alcohol patch was definitely able to distinguish those that were consuming alcohol from those that were not. That may make the alcohol patch a valuable way for the court, or a probation officer, to ensure sobriety is being complied with in a DUI case.
Studies show that the longer a person is able to remain sober, the less likely they are to get another DUI in the future.
Contact us today, if you have questions about the alcohol patch, or the similar SCRAM program, please contact our law firm or our Orange County DUI Attorney, Robert Miller. We can answer your questions, or help you with your alternatives to jail time in a DUI case.