Alcohol Monitoring a Useful Alternative to Jail Time for DUI Offenses

Filed under: DUI by Contributor @ April 28, 2012

If you are facing DUI charges alcohol intake monitoring technology may help you stay out of jail, or shorten the period of jail time that you may have to do, and allow you to continue on with your daily life. Instead of putting defendants in jail prior to trial, more and more judges are allowing defendants to wear a bracelet that goes around the ankle, beneath clothing, touching the skin. This high-tech bracelet takes a sample of the skin every 30 minutes, and then tests the sample in a fuel cell to determine whether the person wearing the bracelet has been consuming alcohol. It will then send a notification to a state officer with the information gathered. If there has been a violation, the individual will be notified and subsequent proceedings will likely occur.

This option allows a Judge to be certain that the person is not drinking, and thus at risk of re-offending, during the monitoring period. Studies show that those who wear this bracelet are less likely to violate DUI laws when compared with traditional sanctions like jail time, fines, or community service requirements. As more studies are published, more judges are willing to try this method, making this option more readily available.

The person who wears the bracelet will typically incur a $12 a day cost during the time period that the bracelet is worn. Depending on the offense and whether the person is a first time or multiple offender, a court will typically require the bracelet to be worn for approximately 90 days. Despite this cost, many people who have chosen this treatment reported saving money from increased employment opportunities. Some even reported saving money by virtue of not purchasing the alcohol that they otherwise would have been consuming.

Although the benefits of this technology are significant, there are potential issues. On rare occasions, the bracelet might provide a false positive. This issue is compounded by the fact that proving that the bracelet gave a false positive in court may be difficult because little evidence can be presented to prove that the bracelet was faulty. This is because the time it takes for the bracelet to notify a member of the state, and then notify the wearer that alcohol was consumed in violation of the court order, can be longer than a couple hours. Thus, this makes it nearly impossible for the defendant to get an independent test done in sufficient time to contradict the erroneous reading. These potential problems are being addressed, however, as the technology continues to improve and readings are taken more frequently to correct false or inaccurate signals. Furthermore, state officers and courts have given the defendant the benefit of the doubt in some uncertain situations.

If you have been charged with a DUI or DWI, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable lawyer about your rights and your options going forward, including the possibility of utilizing alcohol intake monitoring technology and potentially avoiding jail time. Contact Fairlie & Lippy for a free initial consultation.

1 comment:

  1. Doug says:

    Although there is a great benefit to use during pretrial and not being incarcerated, the technology and the equipment does give false positives and the time frame of notification to the monitoring officer and wearer does not allow for an independent test to prove or disprove a false positive. An equipment alert is for consumption of alcohol, but the equipment is taking a sample from the external body which includes any chemicals in the immediate area, including cleaning chemicals such as Lysol, so the alert for consumption may not be from actual consumption, but from use of cleaning products. Also there are no current requirements for the alcohol equipment to be calibrated prior to installation on new user or between different users of the same equipment at the time of installation on the user.

    The other question it brings up, the alcohol monitoring equipment is worn prior to final disposition of DUI charges. The court requires an individual to wear alcohol monitoring equipment prior to guilt of the actual charge.

    The cost of the equipment is 12 to 15 dollars per day for 7 days. This creates an social economic advantage to those with higer incomes.

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