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If you have been charged with a DUI in Las Vegas, you may eventually be ordered to wear a SCRAM device. This is an electronic monitoring system that can detect alcohol in a person’s sweat. Because these devices are now frequently used in DUI sentencing, you should be aware of how they work, when a court may order you to wear one and what to do if the device detects alcohol.

What is a SCRAM Device?

The SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring system, or SCRAM CAM, is manufactured by Colorado-based Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. The device looks like a bracelet, but it gets attached to a person’s ankle. If you try to remove it, it will send an alert to the local monitoring center, which will, turn, notify a local law enforcement agency such as the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department or Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

Roughly 1 percent of the alcohol that a person consumes gets excreted through sweat. The SCRAM device tests that sweat – typically every 30 minutes – for the presence of alcohol, or transdermal alcohol content (TAC), in the person who is wearing the device. The device transmits that data to the monitoring agency, which reports it to law enforcement.

When Will a Court Order a Person to Wear a SCRAM Device?

If you face a DUI charge in Las Vegas, you may be able to participate in one of Clark County’s alternative sentencing programs:

  • Moderate Offenders Program (Misdemeanor DUI Court) for eligible first-time or second-time DUI defendants
  • Serious Offenders Program (Felony DUI Court) for eligible defendants who are facing a third DUI charge.

These programs are designed for people with a drinking problem. They provide intense alcohol and substance abuse counseling as an alternative to going to jail. If you have been charged with a DUI in Las Vegas, I can help you to determine if you are eligible for one of these programs and help you to apply for participation.

Both programs take time to complete. For instance, participation in the Misdemeanor DUI court program typically lasts one year, while in the Felony DUI Court program, it usually takes three years. They can also be expensive. The Felony DUI Court program, on average, costs about $554.40 per month. However, if you complete a program, your DUI charge can be reduced to a lesser charge such as a reckless driving or, in the case of Felony DUI court, a second-offense misdemeanor DUI.

To complete either program, you would need to wear a SCRAM device, which will require you to pay an installation fee between $50-$100 and a monitoring fee of between $10-$12 per day. If the device detects alcohol, it will be up to the DUI Court judge to determine how to address it. The judge could expel you from the program and order you to serve your sentence, or the judge could allow the relapse and merely issue a warning.

An order to wear a SCRAM device is not limited to DUI Court programs. A judge can also order a person to wear a SCRAM device as a condition of probation for another matters. If the device detects alcohol, the person’s probation may be revoked, and their suspended sentence will be activated.

What Can You Do If a SCRAM Device Detects Alcohol?

If a SCRAM device detects alcohol, you should contact an attorney right away who understands transdermal alcohol testing technology. The attorney can demand to see the data generated by the SCRAM device and determine whether it gave a false positive test result. For instance, the data may contain warning messages for:

  • Alcohol interfereants
  • Temperature
  • Infrared distance
  • Damage to the device.

The device may produce a false positive result if it detects other types of alcohol such as cetyl alcohol, which is a common ingredient in detergent and lotions. Additionally, a SCRAM device may detect isopropyl alcohol, which is commonly used in cleaning products, or methanol alcohol, which is present in auto fuel. In short, these devices are not flawless.

An attorney can present evidence at a hearing to establish that the SCRAM device gave a false positive result or present other evidence which shows that you were not drinking, including witness testimony. If a judge finds that a violation occurred, your attorney can argue that you should still continue with probation or your participation in the alternative sentencing program.

Get Help from an Experienced Las Vegas DUI Defense Attorney

At the Law Office of Joel M. Mann in Las Vegas, I dedicate a major portion of my practice to defending people charged with DUI. I am a member of the National College for DUI Defense and a former president of the Nevada Attorneys for Criminal Justice. I can help you with a DUI charge from start to finish, including helping you to apply for participation in an alternative sentencing program and to challenge SCRAM device results. To learn more, call or submit our online form today and talk directly with me about your case and your legal needs.

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