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Time Served With SCRAM: What You Should Know

By San Diego Attorney on November 6, 2021

Being convicted of a DUI with another prior conviction on your record can drastically increase your penalties. While a first-time offender may be able to avoid jail time with the right defense, second and subsequent charges can elevate your punishment and lead to additional restrictions. If you have an alcohol-dependency, the court may require you to avoid alcohol while out on probation or during a pre-trial release. In California, this may mean wearing an ankle monitor specifically designed to detect alcohol.

What Is a SCRAM Device?

SCRAM, or Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor, is an ankle monitor that analyzes the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) through the wearer’s sweat every 30 minutes in order to determine if they have consumed alcohol. Each day, the results of these tests will be submitted to a regional monitoring center, such as the South County Regional Center at the Chula Vista courthouse, who will check to see if the defendant has been compliant with the court order. Any violations will be forwarded to a probation officer or San Diego courthouse.

This device was developed by Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. (AMS), a Colorado company. Alongside the standard SCRAM model, AMS developed SCRAMx, a more advanced model that includes a small radio transmitter that submits a defendant’s location to a regional center to determine if they have violated house arrest.

SCRAM is tamper-proof and water-resistant, and offenders must wear it 24/7. However, despite being water-resistant, defendants cannot submerge it in water, such as pools, hot tubs, taking baths, or going to the beach. Attempting to remove or tamper with the results of the device can lead to additional penalties. A court can require a defendant to wear a SCRAM device for over a year if necessary and will base the length of this requirement on the severity of his or her offense.

Who Has to Wear SCRAM Devices?

SCRAM devices can be required by judges who believe that defendants have an alcohol addiction. If a defendant is offered pre-trial release or probation in lieu of jail time, then the court may require them to avoid alcohol for a certain period of time. While this is common for repeat offenders in DUI cases, it can also be required for defendants in:

The benefit of SCRAM is that it can allow you to avoid having to serve jail time and you can continue working, going to school, and seeing your loved one, at least with the base model. With SCRAMx, you may still have to serve under house arrest. If required to wear a SCRAM device, you will also have to pay for the device and a monitoring fee.

Beating a Criminal Charge With jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys

SCRAM devices are a serious impingement on defendants’ lives and can result in high costs over the course of a sentence. While it may be an option for some offenders to avoid a more serious sentence, you may have other options. A skilled San Diego criminal defense lawyer at jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys can advocate for a reduced sentence or complete dismissal of your charges. Our lead attorney is a former LAPD investigator with an in-depth knowledge of the Southern California court system. He is also a Certified Criminal Law Specialist and can use his expertise to fight for your freedom. Call us today at (760) 630-2000 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case.

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