If you’re up on pop culture or have had the displeasure of being bombarded with news of Lindsay Lohan’s criminal court struggles, you’ve no doubt heard of SCRAM bracelets. Sure, you might have heard of them because you’re hip to DUI control measures but more than likely, their prevalence among star drunk drivers was your first exposure. Well, SCRAM alcohol detection bracelets are no longer just for the rich and famous—they are coming to Seattle courts.
According to the Seattle Times, SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) bracelets are able to detect alcohol within the body by taking a reading on the surface of the skin. The bracelets are worn on the ankle where they take a reading every 30 minutes and send the data to probation officers and court officials.
Local courts are going to increase the usage of these monitoring devices in an effort to save jail space and money. Thurston County already uses the devices and the Seattle Municipal Courts are encouraged by what they’ve seen there. Thurston County District Court Judge Brett Buckley says, “We were looking for ways to not put people in jail because of the continuing high cost of doing so.”
The SCRAM devices are quite sensitive and can detect as little as .02% of alcohol through the skin.
Offenders who are afforded the luxury of these devices rather than jail will have to pay the daily fee of $15. This is compared with the $125 per day that the city pays to house an inmate in the King County Jail. Most defendants given the option won’t likely complain about the fee if it keeps them out of jail.
It isn’t clear when the city courts will begin using the bracelets as they are said to be still working on the particulars. They will be administered in misdemeanor DUI cases and there will be a limited number of SCRAM bracelets in the city.
One defense lawyer as quoted in the Seattle Times has a good point when he says the bracelets should undergo the same scrutiny of breathalyzers (known for their errors). After all, alcohol detection on a SCRAM could potentially send someone to jail on a probation violation, so we better make sure they are accurate.
DUI penalties in Washington State can seem harsh. This is because the state wants to keep the roadways safe. For defendants, however, this is little consolation as they look at spending time in jail, paying fines, and losing their driving privileges.
If you are accused of drunk driving, contact our attorneys today. We will help you work towards getting the most favorable results in court.