What Is a SCRAM Bracelet?

Most people have heard of ignition interlock devices, which are often used to keep repeat DUI offenders from driving under the influence again by requiring them to blow into a small machine that measures their blood alcohol content (BAC). If their BAC is over the legal limit, their car will not start. However, over the past several years, scientists have developed a different kind of device that is one step removed from the DUI offender’s ignition switch: the SCRAM bracelet.

SCRAM stands for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring and is a device that attaches to a person’s ankle and measures for the presence of alcohol in their sweat. SCRAM bracelets bring a number of improvements to alcohol monitoring systems, most notably by removing the requirement for in-person checks to test for alcohol use. Increasingly, many judges are ordering the use of SCRAM bracelets as a condition of parole, probation, or early release of those convicted of DUIs, especially repeat offenders.

How Do SCRAM Bracelets Work?

If you’ve ever been around a person who has had too much to drink and notice a distinct, boozy aroma radiating off of their body, then you already partially know how SCRAM bracelets work. Offenders who receive SCRAM bracelets are fitted with an ankle bracelet and receive a base station that plugs into a landline. The bracelet measures the offender’s perspiration every thirty minutes and uploads that information wirelessly to the base station at a predetermined time once a day. The data then gets uploaded to a web app hosted by the SCRAM company and a daily report is sent to the participating agency. Any reading of more than 0.02 BAC is considered a positive test. If the daily report indicates that the offender’s BAC was above this level, the monitoring agency for the participating jurisdiction receives an alert.

Do SCRAM Bracelets Help with DUI Recidivism?

There is some evidence that SCRAM bracelets have led to a positive outcome both for users and for the community at large. The main benefit for users of SCRAM bracelets is that they remain out of jail and are allowed to continue their daily routines. The benefit to the community, of course, is lower rates of DUI recidivism. York County, Pennsylvania, which has used the bracelets extensively, has seen a 90% reduction in the number of DUI offenders who were arrested for subsequent DUI offenses within the same year after it adopted widespread use of SCRAM bracelets. Although judges order the use of SCRAM bracelets most often for repeat offenders, York County Court of Common Pleas Judge John S. Kennedy, who oversees the county’s DUI court, said that even some drivers whiteout prior convictions are wearing them: “Even for first offenders, instead of putting them in jail, they’re wearing the monitor for five days…The theory is, if they have a severe alcohol problem, they’ll probably drink.”

Contact a West Chester, PA DUI Attorney

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, you will need competent representation to ensure that your rights and interests are defended. Contact the attorneys at the Skinner Law Firm today for a free consultation by calling 610-436-1410.

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