When a person has been charged with an alcohol related criminal offense, there are strategies that can help mitigate the circumstances. One of those methods is to obtain a SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (CAM) Device.
A CAM device is a piece of technology that is worn on a person’s ankle that monitors whether that person has ingested any amount of alcohol. This is done by placing a sensor in contact with a person’s skin and monitoring the amount of alcohol, if any, excreted through the skin. This device can be worn voluntarily by a person to show a period of sobriety or involuntarily by a Judge as part of a Court Order or Proceeding.
How Does the Continuous Alcohol Monitoring Device Work?
So how does the CAM Device work? It’s fairly simple.
The device works by harnessing human physiology via transdermal contact (contact with the skin). When a person ingests alcohol, most of that alcohol is processed and broken down via the liver.
However, a small percentage of that alcohol is also excreted via a person’s skin. This is why you can sometimes smell the odor of alcohol from someone the morning after drinking or in a person’s sweat immediately after consuming alcohol. This processed alcohol is what the device monitors to detect any alcohol consumption.
The inventors of the CAM device determined that with the proper sensors and technology, they could accurately tell whether someone has consumed alcohol, what the person’s BAC was, and when the alcohol was ingested. This is because the body starts breaking down alcohol the moment it is ingested.
What are the Benefits of Getting a CAM Device Installed?
There are many benefits to getting a CAM Device installed.
First and foremost, the CAM (Continuous Alcohol Monitoring) Device encourages sobriety via a third-party actively monitoring the results of your body’s alcohol consumption. Oftentimes, this third-party monitoring can help overcome the urge to drink in order to avoid a negative report and / or penalties associated with a positive alcohol reading.
Second, by showing a period of sobriety without any violations, these results can often be introduced in Court as a sustained period of sobriety to either obtain a reduced sentence or can be shown as mitigation in sentencing.
Third, having the device installed shows that a person is actually serious about their sobriety. Proof of long stretches of sobriety goes a long way in showing that a person is serious about his issues and is willing to do whatever it takes to change his situation.
How is a Continuous Alcohol Monitoring Device Worn?
Because the device uses transdermal contact to monitor alcohol consumption, the device must maintain skin contact. Because of this, the device is commonly worn on a person’s ankle where the sensors can easily maintain that contact.
Additionally, by wearing it on a person’s ankle, it is easier to hide the device from view by wearing long pants. This gives the user some privacy and the ability to avoid awkward conversations with friends or coworkers. When a person gets the device installed, the device is sized to their ankle and then secured in place with tamperproof restraints to avoid removal or tampering.
Due to the fact that the CAM Device has to be worn 24/7 to provide effective reports, it has been engineered to be waterproof and almost indestructible. Additionally, the CAM Device has a very long-lasting battery that allows it to be worn for extended periods of time without needing to be recharged.
How are Continuous Alcohol Monitoring Results Reported?
Because the CAM device is used to monitor alcohol consumption, it regularly logs any and all activity, whether positive or negative. This activity then gets reported back to the individual monitoring company via a base station that is installed in your home. If the device detects any alcohol consumption, it logs that consumption and issues an alert to the base station.
Because the base station is connected to the monitoring company via landline, cellular connection, or internet connectivity, this report gets uploaded to the monitoring company. That violation can then be put in the Activity Report or reported to the Court and / or a Probation Officer.
The Consequences of Tampering with a Continuous Alcohol Monitoring Device
In order for the CAM Device to be effective, it monitors a person’s alcohol concentration 24/7.
As such, some people try to tamper with the device or remove it in order to bypass the monitoring. Although this seems like it shouldn’t be too difficult, the makers of the CAM Device have thought of this as well. It is designed not to be tampered with.
First, the device is attached to a person’s ankle by the operating company in a manner that does not allow the person to remove it. Although the device can be removed by cutting it off the restraints, the device will notify the monitoring company as soon as it detects the tampering.
Second, because the device is constantly monitoring your vitals through transdermal contact, it will sense if the sensors are no longer making readings. This prevents an individual from placing an item between the device and their skin or by covering it with some kind of plastic that prevents the sensors from sensing the alcohol being transmitted through the skin.
Finally, the device must make contact with the base station periodically in order to maintain reporting the statistics. As such, any thought of running the battery down or keeping it far away from the base station would simply cause an alert to the monitoring company.
NOTE: an important thing to note is that if you cause any damage to the CAM Device or the straps that attach it to your ankle, you will be responsible for additional fees and fines for the destroyed device.
How Much Does a Continuous Alcohol Monitoring Device Cost?
Costs can vary for the CAM Device depending on which provider you go through to obtain the device.
Generally, for a voluntary installation of the CAM Device (i.e. not Court Ordered), you are typically looking at an Installation Fee of anywhere from $50-$100 and then a daily rate ranging from $10-$15 a day based on which data service you require to monitor your progress (phone landline, internet based, or cellular based).
Most service providers require you to pay for a certain amount of days upfront (anywhere from 14 days to 30 days). Additionally, if the device is damaged or broken in anyway, you will be liable for the full replacement of the device or damaged part.