Are Alcohol Detection Bracelets Reliable?

Tags: DUI

Alcohol monitoring bracelets are often given to individuals on probation or who have been previously charged with drunk driving. They have also been used in cases of domestic violence where alcohol has played a role or cases where alcohol abuse was related to the underlying offense. If a bracelet activates in response to alcohol, the individual could be charged and face additional penalties. But are these bracelets reliable? Is there a way to challenge the results of an alcohol detection bracelet?

The SCRAMx (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) is used by courts in 48 states to monitor offenders who suffer from alcohol related problems. According to court statements, the bracelets use “transdermal technology” to detect alcohol. A pump in the bracelet is able to draw in sweat vapors to determine if the wearer has been drinking. This is done every 30 minutes to prevent drinking by the user. The results are then sent to a monitoring center. Our Birmingham drunk driving defense attorneys are dedicated to providing strategic defense to DUI defendants. We are also abreast of legal issues that impact the lives of our clients and those charged with DUI throughout the state.

Alabama courts will often order that defendants are not able to consume alcohol and to use the bracelets as a monitoring device. Courts and law enforcement agencies see a benefit in constantly monitoring the use of alcohol rather than calling defendants in for randomly administered breath tests or conducting home checks. The bracelets are intended to deter drinking by monitoring intake 24-hours a day. The ankle bracelet is used by judges and probation officers to determine if the wearer is using alcohol. The SCRAMx is permanently locked onto a wearer’s lower leg, above the ankle.

The device reports alcohol content in the form of TAC (transdermal alcohol content) that is supposed to equate to a BAC (blood alcohol content). It is then stored in the device until the results can be uploaded by the administrator of the unit. In the event that a wearer is accused of violating a court order by drinking alcohol, defendants should not admit guilt but consult with an experienced attorney. You have the right to request a hearing and to challenge the allegations and evidence being presented against you.

To challenge results, an advocate should request all documents and graphs, including alert notifications. These notifications can reveal problems with the operation of the SCRAM device. There are a number of defenses to be explored, including medical history of the defendant, operation of the device, and other issues that could lead to false positives. When necessary your attorney may consult with a medical or SCRAM expert in your case. Other ways to challenge the results of an alcohol bracelet test including hair tests or polygraphs. Many courts have found that SCRAM is not reliable enough to be used in prosecution and sentencing.

When facing additional charges and penalties because of a probation violation or alcohol bracelet device report, it is important to have your case reviewed by an experienced attorney. Collaboration with experts to defeat charges could significantly reduce your penalties and consequences.

If you are facing criminal charges in Alabama, contact Alabama Criminal Lawyers at (205) 981-2450 or use our online contact form.

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