Call Today! Free Immediate Response 877-781-1570

SCRAM Bracelets

SCRAM Bracelets in California DUI Cases

In California, if you are convicted of DUI—especially if it's not your first offense—the judge can order you to wear a SCRAM bracelet as an alternative to jail or as part of your probation.

The use of SCRAM bracelets in California is becoming more common as judges seek to prevent repeat DUI offenders from driving while under the influence.

The bracelets are considered a rehabilitative alternative to incarceration by providing accountability for those on probation and enabling defendants to seek treatment for alcohol addiction.

SCRAM Bracelets in a California DUI Case
A SCRAM bracelet is often used after a DUI conviction as an alternative to jail time.

Put simply; a SCRAM bracelet is an alcohol monitoring device that is sometimes ordered to wear as part of a DUI sentence in California. Typically, they are used in cases where the defendant is believed to have an alcohol addiction.

They are considered more serious than ignition interlock devices and work differently. The bracelet tests the sweat for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) every 30 minutes. It will wirelessly transmit the results to a regional monitoring center.

As noted, using a SCRAM device is often ordered as a jail alternative or condition of probation in a California Vehicle Code 23152 VC driving under the influence case.

This system allows an offender to get treatment for alcohol abuse. Further, it can be set up to perform house arrest monitoring, called “SCRAMx.”

Other charges for which the SCRAM device could be ordered include Vehicle Code 23152(b) VC driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher and Vehicle Code 23153 VC DUI causing injury. Our California criminal defense lawyers will review this topic in greater detail below.

What Is a SCRAM Bracelet?

A SCRAM bracelet is a tamper-resistant alcohol-monitoring device worn around your ankle. "SCRAM" stands for "Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor."

The bracelet is connected to a home station that uses sensors to detect the presence of alcohol in your sweat. They are water-resistant and worn 24 hours a day.

The device takes readings every 30 minutes and transmits the data to a monitoring company. If you drink alcohol, it will be detected by the bracelet and reported to your probation officer and the court.

If avoiding alcohol is a condition of your probation or your release from jail, the detection of alcohol could result in having your probation revoked and being sent to jail.

What Is a SCRAMx Bracelet?

SCRAMx is a SCRAM bracelet that has also been outfitted with a radio frequency (RF) transmitter, doubling as both an alcohol detection system and a house arrest monitor.

It is ordered by judges in cases where a defendant is prohibited from consuming alcohol and sentenced to house arrest as part of probation.

When Does a Judge Typically Order a SCRAM Bracelet?

The most common application of SCRAM bracelets is in DUI cases. In California, you can be charged with DUI if caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher.

If you are convicted of DUI, the judge has the discretion to order you to wear a SCRAM bracelet as part of your sentence.

Judges have a wide range of latitude to order SCRAM bracelets either as a condition of probation or as an alternative to jail. Still, the most common situations in which SCRAM or SCRAMx may be used include the following:

  • When the defendant is a repeat DUI offender,
  • Someone charged with a third or fourth DUI,
  • In cases of DUI causing injury,
  • In domestic violence cases where alcohol played a role,
  • As a condition of early parole,
  • Someone with a history of alcoholism,
  • Prior attempts at alcohol treatment have failed,
  • In any other situation where alcohol abuse contributes to a crime.

Readers should note that there are no rigid guidelines, and judges have broad discretion on using SCRAM, but in reality, they are ordered when there are valid reasons to believe a defendant has a severe drinking problem.

Further, a SCRAM sentence means there is no drinking alcohol at all.  You might go to jail if you drink while wearing the SCRAM device. They are typically ordered along with other forms of treatment.

You could also be ordered to attend a certain number of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) sessions or take classes at a rehabilitation facility. The SCRAM is supposed to encourage you to live a sober life.

How Long Must the SCRAM Bracelet Be Worn?

The amount of time you will be required to wear the bracelet depends on the judge's discretion and the severity of your offense. A bracelet may only be needed for a few months for first-time DUI offenders.

However, a much extended period may be ordered for repeat offenders or those convicted of DUI with injuries.

Judges may order a SCRAM to be worn at any time, but the average range is 30 days to one year or more. If you attempt to tamper with or remove the device, it will alert the monitoring center.

Who Pays for the SCRAM Bracelet?

The offender generally bears the cost of the SCRAM bracelet. In some cases, however, the court may subsidize or cover the cost of the bracelet if the defendant is indigent or unable to afford it.

A SCRAM bracelet typically costs $50-$100 to install, plus a daily monitoring fee of $10-$12 a day. For SCRAMx bracelets, the cost is a little bit higher.

SCRAM systems are generally available from local service providers. DUI offenders must contact a SCRAM service provider in California after a judge orders them to wear one.

A SCRAM Bracelet Can Be a Good Alternative to Jail

Although wearing a SCRAM bracelet can certainly be inconvenient, there are also some key advantages to convincing a judge to order a SCRAM as part of your sentence. Namely:

  • It keeps you out of jail,
  • It allows you to continue working to support yourself and your family,
  • It does not require regular check-ins with a probation officer, saving you time,
  • If you suffer from addiction, it enables you the freedom to seek treatment outside of jail, and
  • It may deter future alcohol abuse and prevent further DUIs.

Ultimately, the fact that SCRAM bracelets are now in use in California courts is an advantage for the court system and DUI defendants.

SCRAM Bracelet Can Be a Good Alternative to Jail
Contact our criminal law firm for help.

They give the courts another accountability tool to help them avoid sending defendants to an overcrowded jail system, and they provide defense attorneys a negotiating tool for plea bargains or to minimize sentencing.

Wearing a SCRAM device is just one of the numerous legal penalties you can face if convicted of driving under the influence.

You need to consult a DUI lawyer to review your charges and whether wearing the device is an option.

If you have been charged with a SCRAM violation in California, contact our office to check the details.

Eisner Gorin LLP is based in Los Angeles, California. You can contact us via phone or by using the contact form.

Related Content:

We speak English, Russian, Armenian, and Spanish.

If you have one phone call from jail, call us! If you are facing criminal charges, DON'T talk to the police first. TALK TO US!

Anytime 24/7