In 2011, more stringent laws in the state of North Carolina are allowing the state to impose greater punishment, higher fines, and the use of continuous alcohol monitoring (CAM) for repeat offenders. This device is used in 49 states, and has been in place since 2003, and almost 300,000 people are being monitored in the U.S. Those who are monitored by such a device will be completely refrained from drinking during the monitoring period.
The device combines continuous alcohol monitoring (CAM) with house arrest technology in one device. It tests for alcohol every 30 minutes, 24/4; it drives greater accountability; monitors curfews and schedules; gives those monitoring the person information on the entire 24/7 monitoring period; it acts to save considerable time, resources, and budgets; and finally, it effects long-term behavioral change that cannot be achieved by incarceration. Therefore, this device may be a great tool for defense attorneys who want to prove that their client has not been consuming alcohol within a period of time.
CAM allegedly meets the Frye/Daubert standards to help courts mandate the State’s impaired driving statutes. The goal of CAM is to monitor offenders 25/7 for drinking violations, reduce recidivism by hardcore offenders, and enforce accountability for the high risk offenders. The results in North Carolina state that on any given day 99.4% of DWI offenders monitored with SCRAM CAM have completely sober periods for 24 hours.
The duration of time an offender may be forced to wear the device can range from 30 days to as long as 4 months. This device is typically implemented in Level 1 and Level 2 offenders. For an aggravated Level 1 (with prison term) offender, they will receive 4 months of post-release supervision, and this is mandatory. For an aggravated Level 1, there is a minimum of 30 days to the maximum term of probation, which may be up to 120 days.
Next, Level 2 offenders may be forced to wear the SCRAM CAM for a minimum of 30 days to the maximum term of probation; however, the minimum detention may be suspended when 90 days or more of CAM is assigned as a condition or special probation. Further, 60 days of pretrial CAM monitoring may be credited to the 90-day Level 2 CAM sentencing.
This may seem like terrible news for DUI and DWI offenders; however defense attorneys consider this a valuable tool which helps to prove their clients are staying sober. In the past judges and prosecutors have been reluctant to take a change on DWI offenders because they knew it was difficult to effectively monitor these people. But, defense attorneys are using the information generated by the SCRAM CAM to factually assess offenders for alcohol misuse issues, and provide evidence that their clients are capable of abiding by this court ordered abstinence.
Below are a list of the following ways a defense attorney can use the SCRAM CAM to work for DUI clients:
1. Prove that clients are abiding by court orders;
2. Argue for shorter jail sentences;
3. Ask district attorneys and solicitors to tailor sentences around the CAM to fit the individual;
4. Illustrate those who need further help due to the fact that they are a risk to the public; and
5. Help to identify individual offender’s treatment needs.
Therefore, if you or a loved one has been charged with a DWI, or DWI with aggravating factors in North Carolina, this “SCRAM CAM” program may actually help your case. For a consultation, call the law offices of Robert J. Reeves, P.C. at our Charlotte, North Carolina office at 704-499-9000 or toll-free at 877-374-5999.