SCRAM Bracelet Laws

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What is a SCRAM Bracelet?

SCRAM Bracelets are used to monitor a person’s bodily alcohol levels following a DUI conviction.  SCRAM is short for “Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring”.  A SCRAM bracelet is usually worn on a person’s ankle, where it reads the amount of alcohol in the person’s skin perspiration. 

SCRAM bracelets are a form of “continuous alcohol monitoring”.  Instead of requiring the person to submit to weekly in-person alcohol level testing, SCRAM bracelets immediately provide alcohol level readings to judges and other authorities.   

If the person has violated a DUI order by consuming alcohol, the SCRAM bracelets will alert authorities of the person’s elevated alcohol levels.  The bracelets are used in instances where the DUI/DWI offender is prohibited from consuming alcohol for a certain prescribed period of time.  SCRAM ankle monitors may also be used in conjunction with other monitoring methods, such as ignition interlock driving devices

When are SCRAM Bracelets required?

SCRAM bracelets are typically issued to repeat DUI offenders and persons who may be habitual users of alcohol.  They are very similar to ankle monitors used for purpose of house arrest. 

After a person has been convicted for driving under the influence (DUI) or other alcohol-related violations, a judge must decide what the proper legal consequences are for the offender.  Sometimes the judge may decide that the defendant should be prohibited from consuming alcohol for a period of time, for example for several weeks or months.  SCRAM bracelets help authorities monitor the offender’s alcohol usage during such probationary periods.

Thus, SCRAM bracelets are often used in conjunction with rehabilitative programs that are intended to assist the offender in breaking habitual drinking patterns.  SCRAM bracelets are currently being used in about 20 states, with many more states considering their usage.

How do SCRAM Bracelets work?

SCRAM bracelets operate by detecting the amount of alcohol that is present in the person’s skin perspiration.  If the person wearing the anklet consumes alcohol, the “perspiration alcohol” will be detected by the SCRAM bracelet, which electronically alerts authorities to the violation.  Tampering with the SCRAM bracelet, such as attempting to remove it, may also trigger an alert.

What happens if a Person Violates SCRAM Bracelet requirements?

If a judge orders the use of a SCRAM bracelet, the offender must comply fully with all instructions and requirements.  Failure to comply with SCRAM bracelet requirements may result in the following consequences:

On the other hand, there have been many claims contesting the accuracy of SCRAM bracelet readings.  For example, many instances have been cited where the SCRAM bracelet submitted an inaccurate reading or resulted in a “false positive”.  A false positive alert is where the SCRAM bracelet mistakenly indicates a violation even though the person did not use alcohol.  
In the event that the results of a SCRAM bracelet reading are contested, the defendant may request a hearing with the court to determine whether a violation has occurred.  They may be able to present evidence in support of their innocence, such as documents or witness testimony proving that the person did not consume alcohol at the time in question. 

Should I Contact a Lawyer if I am required to wear a SCRAM Bracelet?

As with any new technology, SCRAM bracelets are still subject to testing and have not been incorporated into all jurisdictions.  If you are being required to wear a SCRAM bracelet, you may wish to contact a lawyer for advice.  Your attorney will be able to provide with counseling during the time that you must wear the ankle device.  Also, if you believe that a SCRAM bracelet reading was inaccurate or false, your lawyer can help you contest the violation.

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Last Modified: 04-04-2011 12:04 PM PDT

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