Written by attorney Mark A. Broughton

SCRAM “Transdermal Alcohol Testing” Ankle Bracelet For DUI Offenders

SCRAM, which stands for “Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor," is a specialized alcohol-detecting bracelet that a DUI offender wears around their ankle, typically by court order, though sometimes by voluntary participation. The tamper-resistant device employs a highly sensitive technology that conducts “transdermal alcohol testing," which detects alcohol released from the body through sweat in the form of ethanol vapor. Each hour the SCRAM bracelet tests for ethanol vapor and then transmits the results at least once daily to a monitoring station.

Who must wear a SCRAM ankle bracelet? DUI defendants who are ordered by a judge to refrain from alcohol or risk going to jail may be required to wear the monitoring bracelet in order to ensure compliance with the judge’s order. A defendant may also voluntarily enroll in the program. Many judges in California only order the use of the device for defendants with prior DUI convictions and are believed to have serious issues with alcohol.

What happens if the device is removed or the wearer drinks alcohol? If the device is removed or the defendant consumes any alcohol, a signal is sent to a monitoring station and the court is then notified.

Who pays for the SCRAM ankle bracelet? The defendant who must wear the device pays for it themselves, although the court may absorb a portion of the cost for those who may be financially constrained.

Can a person work or go to school while wearing the SCRAM bracelet? Yes. SCRAM is not a form of house arrest. Individuals wearing the device can still go to work, school, etc.

What products should a DUI defendant refrain from using while wearing the SCRAM bracelet? According to Alcohol Monitoring Systems, the maker of the device, because of the sensitivity of the technology a person wearing the device should not “use or possess any product containing alcohol, including (but not limited to): mouthwash, medicinal alcohol, household cleaners and disinfectants, lotions, body washes, perfumes, colognes, or other hygiene products that contain alcohol. No products other than soap and water should be used on the skin around the bracelet."

In 2007, Fresno County began using SCRAM in its probation programs in order to improve the management and continuous monitoring of some of the region’s highest-risk repeat DUI offenders.

Additional resources provided by the author

If you are in need of criminal defense lawyer in California, please contact the Fresno based law firm of Hammerschmidt Broughton Law Corporation. Our attorneys can be reached at (559) 772-4614 . We are also on the Web at

Free Q&A with lawyers in your area

Avvo DUI email series

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer