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SCRAM Devices: Ankle Alcohol Monitors in DUI Cases

SCRAM Ankle Device

What is an Alcohol Ankle Monitor?

Alcohol ankle monitors are devices worn around the ankle that measure levels of alcohol present in a person’s perspiration. You may have heard about them on TV. They are becoming more and more popular, as television shows are writing them into their scripts. Celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan, Andy Dick, and Michelle Rodriguez have been photographed wearing them.

Who makes them?

SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) is the most commonly used alcohol monitoring device, and is manufactured by a company in Colorado called Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS).

How does it work?

Similar to ankle monitors given offenders who are under house arrest, the device is small enough to fit discreetly under a baggy pant leg. It only weighs about 1/2 pound and is worn 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Random samples of your perspiration are taken at least once an hour and analyzed for the presence of alcohol. The results are transmitted to authorities over the Internet through a modem kept at the offender’s home or office. The bracelet measures not only alcohol levels, but also attempts at tampering and removal. That means if you try to take it off, or interfere with its ability to test you in anyway, it will know and tell your judge. The bracelet is waterproof so it may be worn while in the shower.

When are SCRAM Devices used?

A judge may require a DUI arrestee who is out on bond to wear it until their case gets resolved, or after conviction as part of their probation. For example, in Jacksonville, Florida, judges often require an arrested person to wear the monitor in addition to any bond that they set. In Arizona DUI cases, some judges have started ordeing the use of these devices even before conviction. Be sure to check your local laws for more information, and consult with an experienced attorney in your state to find out if you will be required to wear one. Sometimes, though not often, a judge may allow a person convicted of DUI to wear an ankle monitor as an alternative to jail time.

Are Ankle Alcohol Monitors expensive?

Yes. Initial activation and installation costs of Ankle Alcohol Monitors can be around $100 and a daily fee is charged as well (anywhere from $12-$18 per day). DUI defendants are usually responsible for the cost.

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