What Is SCRAM?
June 13th, 2021
Driving while impaired or driving under the influence of alcohol is a very serious offense especially in North Carolina. You will face serious consequences if you are convicted of this offense. Certain types of DWI convictions include mandatory periods of jail time. However, you may be able to reduce some of the harsh consequences of a DWI conviction by subjecting yourself to SCRAM. SCRAM is an acronym for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring.
Judges who want to give a defendant a second chance often impose SCRAM as it could be an alternative to jail sentences. You can also voluntarily subject yourself to SCRAM. If you are able to abstain for alcohol for an established duration of time, it may be a great option for you. If you are facing conviction of a DWI charge, you should speak to a North Carolina DWI lawyer as soon as possible. This is so that you can have a clear understanding of your rights and options. You should have this consultation before deciding if SCRAM is right for you.
Our criminal defense lawyer at the Stowe Law Firm, PLLC has the experience and expertise to procure the positive outcomes you desire. We have an impressive track record of success and we are willing to utilize our resources on your behalf. Call us to schedule a consultation today.
SCRAM – How Does It Work?
A SCRAM device is a bracelet that you wear around your ankle; it detects alcohol in your sweat. When you drink, the alcohol is processed by the body and a large part of it is passed out in urine, some of it escapes with the breath from your lungs.
But a small part of the alcohol will escape through your sweat pores.
This small part is undetectable to the human nose but it can be detected by a machine and that is exactly what the SCRAM device does. The device consists of a bracelet and two small boxes that fit on either side of the leg. The SCRAM device checks for alcohol in your blood about once per hour and at random intervals.
It records the information with date and time stamps, and then transmits the results wirelessly. You may feel a slight vibration but the bracelet has no alarms, lights or other signals that may notify you of an alert. It just remains there.
The SCRAM bracelet also has several sensors that detect any attempt to tamper with it or remove it. Any of such attempts are recorded in the monitoring report and may earn you more penalties from the court.
The bracelet is water-resistant as you have to keep it on your person every minute of the day. However, it is recommended that you do not sink the device in water. That involves taking prolonged baths or swimming. If you immerse the device in water, it is considered to be an interference.
How Sensitive Is The SCRAM Device?
The SCRAM device is very sensitive, if you do as little as take a sip of alcohol, it may show up in the SCRAM report. Some medicines have levels of alcohol in them, if you take your doses as directed, there shouldn’t be any issues.
But if you took enough doses to get you intoxicated, it may be considered a violation of the court’s order. Even though it came from medicine.
The same rules apply to mouthwashes, breath sprays and any other consumer products containing alcohol. The SCRAM device can also tell the difference between consumed alcohol and alcohol in the environment.
If you spill a drink on the bracelet, it will cause a spike in the data collected. But the pattern would be different from consumed alcohol.
However, users of the bracelet must sign an agreement to refrain from using products containing alcohol around the bracelet. Accidentally exposing the device to alcohol may not be considered a violation but if findings suggest any attempt to intentionally trick the device, there could be consequences.
Can The SCRAM Device Be Removed By The Wearer?
The SCRAM device is generally difficult to remove, but it can be done. However, attempting to remove the device will attract more grievous consequences than the ones initially faced.
If you tamper with or succeed in removing the device, it will alert the Regional Monitoring Center. Then the center will notify the court. The judge may then decide to schedule a hearing to determine whether or not the action deserves jail time.
The SCRAM is not a form of house arrest. Anybody with the SCRAM device can still work, attend school and otherwise go about their daily lives. You just can’t drink or be around alcohol.
Due to the fact that SCRAM wearers are not in any way sentenced to confinement, there is no credit for time served while wearing the device. The SCRAM device may be covered with a pant leg to avoid any embarrassment.
Other Things To know
The law mandates any DWI offender to pay for the SCRAM program themselves. The cost of installation ranges from about $50 - $100. After this initial cost, there is the daily monitoring fee that averagely costs $10 - $12 per day. If applicable, the defendant will also have to pay the cost of damaging or tampering with the device.
Costs may vary depending on how much the defendant makes, the duration of the SCRAM program and whether or not there is a supporting SCRAM service provider in the defendant’s area.
If you are put under SCRAM by the court, you do not have a choice. This is because, very often, the judge makes it a condition of your probation. A judge can sentence you for 90 days of SCRAM for a level 2 sentence and up to 120 days for a level 1 sentence.
Getting sentenced to these levels requires at least one grossly aggravating factor. The most common is a previous DWI condition within the past 7 years. Another common grossly aggravating factor is driving while impaired with a person under 18 in the car. However, there are others and some of them can include driving impaired with a revoked license from a previous DWI conviction, causing serious injury to another person while impaired.
Reach Out To Us
If you or a loved one is facing conviction of a DWI case, reach out to us immediately. At the Stowe Law Firm, PLLC, we offer you compassion and solid representation for your individual case. You can reach out to us via our website or call us on 704-856-9502.