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AWARD WINNING SAN DIEGO DUI ATTORNEY

SCRAM

If you have recently been charged with a DUI in San Diego, you likely have questions about the potential penalties. One of these potential penalties, is what’s known as a SCRAM Bracelet.  Essentially, a SCRAM Bracelet is an ankle brace you will be required to wear, that tests and records your Blood Alcohol Concentration. 

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.

Contact our office today at 619-535-7150 for a FREE DUI consultation.

California DUIs

Unfortunately, a DUI is a very common crime in California.  Most people have either been involved in a DUI incident themselves, or have a close friend or family member who has been involved in aa DUI incident.  As you likely know, the penalties for a DUI conviction, even if it’s your first, can be quite severe.  This article will discuss the general DUI process, and the potential penalties for a DUI conviction.  It will also discuss in detail one specific punishment: the SCRAM bracelet.   

A DUI conviction can have a significant impact on your personal, and professional life for years to come.  A conviction will impact your ability to drive, your ability to work, will consume a significant amount of your time, and will cost you a considerable amount of money.  In addition to impacting your ability to get to and from your current job, a DUI will remain a part of your criminal history.  This will be visible to future potential employers who perform background checks.  Having a criminal background could even prevent you from renting in certain locations.  Further, a DUI can prevent you from working in some industries altogether.  Namely, those that require a valid license. 

During the course of a DUI case, there are two (2) ways in which your driver’s license can be suspended.  First, the California DMV can suspend your license at the DMV Hearing.  Notwithstanding what occurs at the DMV Hearing, your license can also be suspended if you are later convicted of DUI in your criminal case.  Unfortunately, southern California is not known for its public transportation system, and getting around anywhere without the ability to drive can be quite burdensome. 

In addition to losing your driving privileges, the cost of a DUI can be stunning, and finding an attorney who is both affordable and effective can be difficult.  At the San Diego DUI Attorney, we pride ourselves on offering the best available legal services, at affordable prices.  Our defense team has nearly 30 years of experience in defending DUIs, and will aggressively argue on your behalf, to make sure your rights are preserved.  If you or someone you know has recently been charged with a DUI, contact the San Diego DUI Attorney to schedule your FREE DUI consultation.  

California Vehicle Code Section 23152 – Driving Under the Influence

As in any crime, the prosecution bears the burden of proving each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.  The elements of a DUI are as follows:

  1. You were driving a motor vehicle; and
  2. You were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, as indicated by any of the following:
    1. You had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08% or higher;
    2. Your ability to drive was impaired as a result of drugs or alcohol.

Because the burden is on the prosecution to prove these elements, an experienced attorney will have plenty of opportunities to argue a number of defenses on your behalf.

The DUI Process

Almost all DUI incidents begin with a traffic stop (Some will begin with an accident).  If you are stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, you will likely be asked to submit to a breath test, known as a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test.  Based on the results of the PAS test, you may then be placed under arrest for DUI.  Once you are placed under arrest, the arresting officer will confiscate your driver’s license, and you will be issued a pink, temporary license.  This temporary license is called “Admin Per Se”, and will typically expire after 30 days.   

From the moment you are arrested, you will have ten (10) days, including weekends, to contact the DMV, and request an Administrative Hearing.  If you fail to request a Hearing, your right to contest the initial license suspension will be waived.  If you do request the Hearing, your license suspension will be stayed until the Hearing occurs.  Further, if you prevail at the Hearing, your license suspension will be stayed for the pendency of your criminal case.       

For these reasons, it is strongly advised that you contact an experienced DUI attorney who can protect your rights at the DMV Administrative Hearing.  The Administrative Hearing will focus on four (4) questions:

  1. Did the police have sufficient cause to initially stop your vehicle?
  2. Did the police have sufficient cause to place you under arrest?
  3. Were you properly made aware of the consequences of refusing the breath or blood test?
  4. Did you refuse to submit to the breath or blood test?

Based on these four (4) questions, the administrative judge will reach a conclusion as to the suspension of your license, and will issue what is known as the “finding of fact”.

After the DMV Administrative Hearing comes to an end, the criminal process will begin.  Keep in mind, that the outcome of the Administrative Hearing will not have any direct bearing on your criminal charges.  Even if your license is suspended by the DMV, if you are later acquitted of the criminal charges, you can challenge the license suspension.  Similarly, if the Administrative Judge decides not to suspend your license, a subsequent criminal conviction will still lead to a license suspension. 

People often think that all criminal cases go to trial.  In fact, however, only a very small percentage of cases actually reach the trial stage.  For this reason, it essential to have, not only a skilled trial attorney, but also one who has strong negotiation skills.  Our attorneys often have success reaching favorable plea bargains with district attorneys, in which our clients’ charges are reduced, and their penalties are less severe. 

If your case does ultimately proceed to trial, our Chief Trial Attorney, Vincent Ross, has over 29 years of experience in trying DUI cases.  Our team understands how to examine the facts of your case, and knows which arguments / defenses will serve you best.  If you have been arrested for DUI, contact the San Diego DUI Attorney for your FREE initial consultation.    

DUI Penalties

If you are ultimately convicted of Driving Under the Influence, the penalties you will face can be quite severe.  The judge will have discretion in determining the appropriate sentence, however, penalties for a first offense DUI usually include the following:

  • A fine of between $390 and $2,000;
  • Mandatory completion of an alcohol treatment / DUI education program;
  • Jail time of up to 48 hours; and/or
  • Suspension of your driver’s license.

While this list encompasses the common penalties for a simple DUI, there are a number of aggravating factors that could lead to enhanced penalties.  As mentioned above, one of these enhanced penalties is a SCRAM Bracelet.

SCRAM Recap

Essentially, a SCRAM bracelet is an ankle brace, that detects the amount of alcohol you have consumed.  SCRAM stands from Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor.  In some California DUI cases, the defendant will be ordered to wear a SCRAM bracelet as part of their DUI penalty. 

The SCRAM bracelet works by analyzing the defendant’s sweat, and then calculating the defendant’s BAC.  It will automatically conduct a BAC test every few hours.  Each day, a report of the results will be sent to a monitoring location.    

A SCRAM bracelet will typically be ordered in cases where the defendant will not be permitted to drink any amount of alcohol.  In a typical DUI case, only drinking and driving will be monitored (For example, by using an Ignition Interlock Device).  What’s unique about a SCRAM case, is that the defendant’s alcohol intake is being monitored at all times, driving or not.  As such, if you are ordered to wear a SCRAM bracelet, it is always advised that you completely refrain from drinking for the period of time the SCRAM is on.   

As you can imagine, being ordered to wear a SCRAM bracelet is an extremely intrusive penalty.  As such, they are typically only required in cases where the defendant has a prior criminal history, and may pose a risk to society.  Similarly, they may be issued if the defendant has demonstrated signs of alcohol dependency, and has a history of DUI incidents.  Depending on the circumstances, a defendant will typically be ordered to wear a SCRAM bracelet for a period of 30 days, to one (1) year.

People often wonder who is required to pay for the SCRAM bracelet.  Unfortunately, the defendant usually bears the cost.  Typically, they will cost about $100 for installation, and there will be additional maintenance charges.

While it may seem that SCRAM bracelets are all bad news, there can be instances where they can be quite beneficial to DUI defendants.  In some cases, they can be used as a powerful tool in the plea bargaining process.  Most people prefer the idea of wearing a SCRAM bracelet, to the idea of being incarcerated.  As such, they will sometimes be offered as a penalty in lieu of jail time.     

If you have been arrested for Driving Under the Influence, contact the San Diego DUI Attorney immediately to schedule your FREE DUI Consultation.

As discussed above, the penalties for DUI are severe, and can impact you for years to come.  Having just one DUI conviction will make any subsequent DUI offenses even more severe.  As such, you will want an experienced and aggressive attorney on your side throughout the entire DUI process.  Our law firm has been defending the rights of San Diego citizens for nearly three (3) decades.  We have the necessary resources to provide you with a strong defense, and have proven results in the courtroom.  If you are interested in discussing your case with us, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible for your FREE DUI consultation. 

Contact the San Diego DUI Attorney today at 619-535-7150 for your FREE DUI Consultation.

 

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