SCRAM stands for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor. The device consists of a tamper-resistant bracelet that secures around an offender’s ankle and takes hourly readings of his/her sweat to detect the presence of alcohol. The SCRAM device transmits information to a monitor center once a day. The court, as part of sentencing for a DUI conviction, can impose this device.
The SCRAM device works as a result of transdermal alcohol testing. When an individual consumes alcohol, it is absorbed through the bloodstream and is eliminated from the body through breath, urine, sweat, or saliva. Current research indicates that approximately 1% of ingested alcohol is released through a process of insensible perspiration, which is an imperceptible ethanol vapor that passes through the skin. The SCRAM device is able to detect this small amount of alcohol and report it to the monitoring center.
A judge may determine that a SCRAM device is necessary if the offender is deemed a risk to the public as a result of their criminal history. In Southern California DUI cases, a SCRAM device is implemented if the defendant has a previous DUI conviction and the judge believes the offender to have a serious alcohol dependency. An individual may be mandated to wear the device for a time period of between 30 days and one year, depending on the seriousness of the present DUI case, past DUI history, and if he/she displays a pattern of alcohol abuse.
The cost of the SCRAM device is typically passed on to the defendant, however the court may cover part of the cost if the defendant is financially unable to cover the cost.
The SCRAM device is difficult to remove, but not entirely impossible. If anyone attempts to remove or tamper with the device, the monitoring center will be alerted immediately.
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