dwi attorneyEven a first charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in North Carolina is a serious offense, and a conviction will come with serious consequences. DWI sentencing involves the use of three sets of factors: grossly aggravating factors, aggravating factors, and mitigating factors. When there is just one grossly aggravating factor, such as a previous DWI conviction within the last seven years, the sentence can include mandatory jail time, large fines, and revocation of your driver’s license for an extended period of time. However, you may be able to reduce some of the harsh conditions of a DWI conviction by the use of a SCRAM bracelet.

What Is a SCRAM Bracelet?

Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM) is a monitoring bracelet worn continuously that monitors a person’s alcohol consumption. The bracelet takes measurements of the person’s perspiration every 30 minutes. The bracelet can determine if the person has been consuming alcohol in a similar way that a breathalyzer test measures blood alcohol content. The results are uploaded and sent to the private company who monitors the results. If the test results show that the person had consumed alcohol, the company would send the results to the court.

The bracelet must stay in contact with the person’s skin to be effective. The sensors are very sensitive and can detect when someone is trying to tamper with the device. There are certain things that a person should avoid using to prevent a false positive result. These include using a mouthwash containing alcohol or nail polish remover that contains alcohol.

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How Is a SCRAM Bracelet Worn?

A SCRAM bracelet is often worn on the person’s ankle so that it can be hidden by pants. It cannot be taken off, but will not reduce a person’s mobility. It is water-resistant and does not prevent taking a shower. However, a person wearing this device cannot go swimming. A person can travel with it as long as he will have access to the Internet. But he may need to notify security personnel at an airport that he is wearing the device.

When Could You Be Required to Wear a SCRAM Bracelet?

dwi attorneyYou may decide to volunteer to wear a SCRAM bracelet to prove that you are not consuming any alcohol or it could be ordered by the judge sentencing you. It can be utilized when a person would be sentenced to a Level 1 or Level 2 punishment. These are cases where grossly aggravating factors could increase the severity of the sentence. These grossly aggravating factors include:

  • A prior conviction of DWI within seven years of the date of the current DWI offense
  • Driving at the time of the DWI arrest when the person’s driver’s license had been revoked for a prior DWI conviction
  • Causing a person to suffer a serious injury in an accident at the time of the DWI
  • At the time of the DWI, a minor under 18 years old, a person with the mental development of a minor, or a person with a disability that prevented him from getting out of the vehicle without assistance was in the vehicle

Wearing a SCRAM bracelet could result in the severity of a Level 1 and Level 2 sentence being reduced. It could help your case as follows:

  • For a Level 2 sentence, wearing a SCRAM bracelet for 90 days could eliminate any jail time.
  • For a Level 1 sentence, wearing a SCRAM bracelet for 120 days could reduce a jail sentence to 10 days.
  • You may be able to receive up to 60 days pre-sentencing credit for wearing a SCRAM bracelet prior to your sentencing.
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How Much Does a SCRAM Bracelet Cost?

A SCRAM bracelet is not cheap. It will cost approximately $50 to $100 to install. There is also a daily monitoring fee of about $5 to $10 currently. However, this cost is well worth the result of avoiding a possible jail sentence.

Have You Been Arrested for a DWI in Charlotte, NC?

If you are facing DWI charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charlotte office directly at 980.207.3355 to schedule your free consultation.


Howard W. Long, II
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Charlotte Criminal Defense and DWI Lawyer