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Bay Area Criminal Defense Blog

SCRAM Monitoring to Avoid Jail After a DUI

Posted by Lynn Gorelick | Apr 06, 2022

The penalties for a California DUI can be harsh. In addition to fines, loss of your license, and DUI school, there is a possibility of jail time. Minimum jail time increases for each additional drunk driving conviction. The good news is that you may be able to avoid jail time if your East Bay DUI defense attorney can negotiate for a jail alternative. 

SCRAM Devices

Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAM) is a device that monitors the alcohol levels of the wearer. A SCRAM ankle monitor is secured around the ankle to test for the presence of alcohol on the skin. The Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (CAM) system is commonly used in California for probation involving drunk driving charges

Prior to SCRAM devices, the only way to regularly test people for the presence of alcohol was to perform surprise urine tests or breathalyzer tests. A SCRAM device can monitor an individual 24/7, taking regular samples every 30 seconds. The device works through transdermal testing that comes from a person's sweat, which can show if the individual has consumed alcohol. 

For some drunk drivers, including multiple offenders or high blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) DUIs, the court may require sobriety as a condition of probation. A SCRAM ankle monitor can ensure the driver is maintaining sobriety without having to submit to regular urine or breath tests. The device also records any attempts to tamper with or remove the device, which may be a probation violation.

According to the company, SCRAM is successful at reducing the rate of recidivism, or repeat alcohol violations. Less than 2% of users recidivated while using the device. SCRAM users who wore the device for at least 90 days had a 113% decreased risk of recidivism. A SCRAM monitor may reduce DUI recidivism for high-risk offenders but up to 45%.  

Who Is Eligible for SCRAM Monitoring?

Drivers may not want to be restricted to wearing an ankle device around the clock for 30 days or more but it can be a benefit if it allows them to avoid jail time. Sometimes, the court, as a condition of your release on your own recognizance, can order a SCRAM device instead of bail during the pendency of the case.   Anyone convicted of a drunk driving offense may be eligible for SCRAM monitoring. However, in most cases, a judge will only require SCRAM monitoring for repeat offenders, including: 

How Is SCRAM Different From an IID Restricted License

An ignition interlock device (IID) is another type of alcohol monitoring device. However, an IID is installed in the vehicle and only takes a sample in order to start and continue operating the individual's vehicle. Most drivers who get a DUI in California have to have an IID installed in order to get their driving privileges reinstated, even for a first-time DUI

The difference with a SCRAM device is that the ankle monitor takes samples regularly around the clock, even when the individual is not driving a car. Most drivers with a DUI will be required to use an IID after their license is suspended but a SCRAM may only be required for habitual offenders or multiple DUIs. 

Negotiating Probation Instead of Jail

The penalties for a 2nd DUI include up to a year in jail. Talk to your local DUI lawyer about how you can avoid jail time with probation. Probation for a DUI may require alcohol monitoring as a condition but it may be able to help you avoid jail time. With more than 38 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how to get the best results for her clients facing drunk driving charges in Alameda County and Contra Costa County

About the Author

Lynn Gorelick

Lynn Gorelick has been an attorney for over 38 years. She is the Attorney Lynn Gorelick is the Immediate Past President of the California DUI Lawyers Association and a Faculty and Sustaining member of the National College of DUI Defense. Lynn is a Specialist Member of the California DUI Lawyers Association and lectures frequently to other attorneys regarding DUI and DMV issues.

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