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What is a SCRAM bracelet?

After convicting you of a DUI in Connecticut, the courts want to ensure that you refrain from driving under the influence in the future. According to FindLaw, it is common for judges to order certain DUI offenders, particularly those who have demonstrated a severe alcohol problem, not to drink any alcohol. In the past, however, it has been difficult to enforce those orders. Monitoring for alcohol consumption required burdensome alcohol tests on a frequent basis that were inconvenient for everyone. 

Technological advancement has given rise to a method of monitoring and alcohol order enforcement, called the SCRAM bracelet. SCRAM is an acronym that stands for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring. The SCRAM bracelet has the capability to detect residual alcohol in your sweat. You wear it around your ankle at all times, and it records data. In some cases, you may need to download the data from the bracelet manually, but other SCRAM bracelets come with their own modems that can transmit the information to a regional monitoring center approximately once every hour. 

The regional monitoring center can then alert the appropriate authorities in the event that the SCRAM bracelet detects alcohol in your sweat or if you have defied the court order by attempting to tamper with the bracelet.

While assistance may be available to those who cannot pay, if you must wear a SCRAM bracelet by judge’s order because of a DUI conviction, the court will typically require you to pay for the expensive device yourself, which can run hundreds of dollars per month. Repeat DUI offenders are most likely to receive a SCRAM bracelet order, and judges more frequently order them as conditions of probation, early release or parole.  

There have been occasions in which a defendant has succeeded in challenging a SCRAM bracelet in court on the grounds of expert testimony that the bracelet likely registered a false positive. Because the SCRAM bracelet records time data, some defendants have produced witnesses who testify that the defendant was not drinking at the time the device detected alcohol in his or her sweat. The burden of proof is on the prosecution to demonstrate that the defendant was, in fact, drinking at the time the SCRAM bracelet recorded it.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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