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SCRAM bracelets can open Virginia DUI restricted driving doors

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SCRAM in Virginia DUI cases- Image of monitoring room

SCRAM alcohol bracelets for Virginia DUI convicted defendants ineligible to solely drive anywhere with the ignition interlock

SCRAM alcohol monitoring (SAM) is an option for Virginia DUI defendants, both to assist with negotiations and any sentencing (and s0metimes to obtain pretrial release) if the defendant has prior DWI conviction(s), and for seeking unlimited time and place limitations on restricted driving after a DUI conviction (if the IID alone is not permitted for such driving), so long as the SAM is used in tandem with an ignition interlock device (IID) and refraining from alcohol consumption at all. As a Fairfax DUI lawyer, I know that SAM devices are not for those who are going to consume alcohol anyway, but such devices can also be the necessary impetus for remaining alcohol free. SAM devices are designed remotely to detect the presence of any alcohol in one’s body, whether by passive monitoring (for instance with an ankle bracelet that detects alcohol coming out of one’s pores) or blowing into a machine when prompted to do so. SCRAM means Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring. If you want to successfully use SAM monitoring, avoid all alcohol products at all times, not only beer, wine and alcohol, but also mouthwash, cologne and other topical products that might contain alcohol.

How does the SCRAM option work for repeat Virginia DUI convictions and elevated blood alcohol concentrations?

When a Virginia DUI defendant — prosecuted under Virginia Code§ 18.2-266 — receives a conviction as a second offender within ten years or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.15, the accused is barred from the commonwealth’s statutory option of applying for the ignition interlock device to be the only restriction on one’s restricted driving, to counter the statutorily mandated driving license suspension period that accompanies any Virginia DWI conviction. When the IID-only option is not available, the sentencing judge has the option to authorize the following to be the only restriction on the defendant’s driving: SCRAM, IID and no alcohol consumption. Here is the relevant statutory language enabling a Virginia judge to permit the foregoing SAM option: “The court may… order that the offender (i) use a remote alcohol monitoring device… and (ii) refrain from alcohol consumption during such period of time. Additionally, upon such motion and pursuant to § 18.2-271.1, the court may issue a restricted license to operate a motor vehicle for any purpose to a person who is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a functioning, certified ignition interlock system when such person is ordered to use a remote alcohol monitoring device pursuant to this subsection and has a functioning, certified ignition interlock system installed on each motor vehicle, as defined in § 46.2-100, owned by or registered to the offender, in whole or in part.” Virginia Code § 18.2-270.1(E). This is on top of the IID requirement that is already part of the Virginia restricted license statute.  Va. Code § 18.2-270.1(B).

Likewise, the standard Virginia Application for Restricted Driver’s License provides the option to check the following box concerning SCRAM driving: “I am requesting to operate a motor vehicle for any purpose, with the conditions that (1) I only operate a motor vehicle that is equipped with a functioning, certified ignition interlock system; (2) I use a remote alcohol monitoring device; and (3) I refrain from alcohol consumption.”

How do I convince my Virginia DUI sentencing judge to grant me the SAM-driving option?

Granting the foregoing SCRAM option is entirely at your DWI sentencing judge’s discretion. Consequently, talk with your Virginia DUI lawyer about how to best position yourself to be granted the SAM option in the event you are convicted. As always, at minimum as a Fairfax DUI lawyer, I recommend that my DWI clients engage in the following self improvement, for possible negotiations and sentencing by — before their trial date — getting me documentation of completing a Virginia DMV-approved driver improvement class, proof of attendance at several AA meetings (live or via stepchat.com or smartrecovery.org), completion of the two-hour online Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Impact Panel (VIP), and an evaluation by an alcohol / drug education/treatment program.

Isn’t it better for me simply to beat my Virginia DUI prosecution than to engage on this SCRAM path?

Of course, it always is best to win a Virginia DUI case through an acquittal or dismissal. However, a criminal defendant is foolish not to fully prepare for the following three essential aspects of criminal defense: Preparing for trial, for settlement negotiations (backed up by full trial readiness), and for any sentencing (because only the jury or judge can decide whether you are guilty or innocent). For you to proceed as best as possible on this path, make sure early on to obtain a qualified Virginia DUI defense lawyer.

Be ready to be wowed by the winning focus that Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan Katz will pursue for you as his client. At your initial consultation with Jon Katz, you will learn vital and individualized aspects of your available defenses, and will feel more confident about your possibilities for a favorable outcome in your court case. Call 703-383-1100 to schedule your free in-person initial confidential consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending case.