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What is a SCRAM Device?

Posted on May 22, 2024

A SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) device is a specialized tool used primarily in legal and rehabilitation contexts to monitor an individual’s alcohol consumption continuously. SCRAM devices are typically worn on the ankle and provides real-time data to authorities, ensuring compliance with court-ordered sobriety programs.

How SCRAM Devices Work

The primary technology behind SCRAM devices is transdermal alcohol monitoring. The device detects alcohol that is excreted through the skin in the form of sweat. Unlike traditional breathalyzers, which measure blood alcohol content (BAC) at a single point in time, SCRAM devices continuously monitor alcohol levels, providing a more comprehensive overview of an individual’s alcohol consumption patterns.

SCRAM devices collect data at regular intervals, usually every 30 minutes. The data is stored in the device and transmitted to a central monitoring system. This transmission can occur through a home base station that syncs with the device or via cellular networks. This system allows for near real-time reporting and rapid intervention if a violation occurs.

Who Must Use SCRAM Devices?

Courts often mandate the use of these devices for individuals convicted of alcohol-related offenses, such as Breckenridge DUI (Driving Under the Influence). By wearing a SCRAM device, offenders can avoid incarceration while demonstrating their commitment to sobriety. The continuous monitoring helps ensure compliance with court-ordered abstinence, reducing the risk of repeat DUI offenses.

How Long Does a SCRAM Device Have to Be Worn?

The duration for wearing a SCRAM device can vary from 30 days to more than a year, depending on the circumstances of the individual’s situation. Here are some factors that can influence the duration:

  • Severity of Offense: The seriousness of the offense for which the SCRAM device is being used can impact the duration. More severe offenses may result in longer periods of monitoring.
  • Prior Offenses: If the individual has a history of alcohol-related offenses, this may lead to a longer duration of SCRAM monitoring as part of sentencing or probation requirements.
  • Assessment by Legal and Treatment Professionals: Legal professionals and treatment providers may conduct assessments to determine the appropriate duration of SCRAM monitoring based on the individual’s circumstances, including their alcohol use history and potential for recidivism.
  • Treatment Needs: In some cases, the duration of SCRAM monitoring may be tied to participation in alcohol treatment programs. The length of time wearing the device may coincide with the duration of the treatment program.

Ultimately, the length of time ordered for a SCRAM device is determined on a case-by-case basis, 

Who Pays for the SCRAM Program?

One of the significant challenges with SCRAM devices is the cost. They can be expensive to purchase and maintain, and the DUI offender is generally responsible for the expense. Additionally, the requirement for a reliable cellular network for data transmission can be a limitation in remote or underserved areas.

What Happens if a SCRAM Device is Taken Off?

By allowing offenders to remain in the community under strict monitoring, SCRAM devices reduce the need for incarceration. However, compliance with monitoring is critical. Violations can result in various consequences, including:

Revocation of Probation or Parole

Continued alcohol consumption or tampering with the device can lead to revocation of probation or parole, resulting in incarceration.

Additional Fines or Penalties

Courts may impose additional fines or extend monitoring periods in response to violations.

Counseling or Treatment Programs

Courts may require individuals to attend additional counseling or treatment programs if violations occur, aiming to address underlying issues of alcohol dependency.