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What are alcohol monitoring devices? Everything you need to know

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Drink Driving


What is an alcohol abstinence tag?



An alcohol abstinence tag or an alcohol monitoring tag is a  small device similar to a tag given to those under a community order and is usually given to individuals who have been convicted or pleaded guilty to Drink Driving. 


It is worn around the ankle and its main purpose is to measure an individual's alcohol level every 30 minutes using the concentration of alcohol in sweat. Tags will be usually enforced by the court for a period of up to 120 days if during this period alcohol is detected and the tag is activated you may face further penalties.


AAMR(Alcohol Abstinence Monitoring Requirements)



The alcohol abstinence monitoring requirements are a set of conditions set upon an individual convicted of Drink Driving or other alcohol-related offenses. Conditions issued by the court include having to use either a breathalyzer 5 times a day or use a transdermal alcohol monitoring device to ensure abstinence from alcohol for a period of 120 days.

The requirements vary depending on the situation of the individual but may include:

  • An alcohol monitoring tag worn on the ankle detects the presence of alcohol in the wearer's perspiration or other body fluids.

  • Testing on a regular basis with a breathalyzer or other alcohol monitoring device

  • Participation in alcohol education or treatment programs

  • Consuming alcohol or accessing places that provide alcohol is prohibited.

  • Compliance with a curfew

  • Check-ins with probation officials or other authorities on a regular basis


Penalties for Consuming alcohol in the 120-day period



If during the 120-day abstinence period, you consume alcohol the device will be triggered and the police will be alerted immediately. You may be arrested and then taken back to the station at this point no further samples will be necessary as the tags are single-source admissible, meaning no secondary tests are required to validate results.

 .As well as this according to SCRAM systems a written report will also be provided and an in-person expert testament confirming the violation in any further hearings. Penalties you could face for a breach of your abstinence period  could  be:

  • A custodial sentence Drink Driving

  • Imposed fine

  • Extended sobriety period 

  • Revocation of bail or probation 


When can the court impose the use of alcohol monitoring devices?


Alcohol monitoring devices are prescribed usually to offenders who pose a risk to the public or to themselves from excessive use of alcohol.

Offenders that come under this category could be the following:


“Hardcore Drunk Drivers”

The term hardcore Drunk Driver was established by the Foundation for advancing alcohol responsibility in order to identify those offenders who are of the highest risk this can include :  

  • Multiple time Offenders 

  • Offenders with high BAC levels

  • Alcohol dependant drivers 

“Hardcore Drunk Drivers” are most likely to have alcohol tags imposed by the courts due to the severity of their offenses.


Offenders with excessively high readings

If you provide a high reading the most likely scenario to occur is the court could impose a community order and include the use of an alcohol monitoring device.


Offenders involved in collisions and accidents

If you are convicted of Drink Driving and also involved in a road collision or accident the court will be more likely to impose the use of an alcohol monitoring tag to ensure that by the individual being abstinent it reduces risk to others.


High-risk offenders

High-risk offenders are those who have provided extremely high readings, have been involved in accidents or injuries whilst driving over the prescribed limit, or are repeat offenders.


Prison Leavers

 “Prison leavers will be ordered to wear a sobriety tag, which monitors alcohol levels in a sweat if their probation officer thinks they could re-offend when drinking. This will help probation officers keep a closer eye on offenders’ behavior and support them to turn their backs on crime.”


How does an alcohol tag work?



Alcohol tags also known as transdermal alcohol monitoring devices or SCRAM bracelets work by continually monitoring the alcohol levels of the wearer through the concentration of alcohol present in their sweat.

When alcohol is consumed by an individual it is broken down in the liver and then released into the bloodstream until eventually it reaches the skin where small quantities of alcohol are released through perspiration

Alcohol tags use specialist sensors called an electrochemical fuel cells to detect the concentration of alcohol in an individual's sweat. Importantly note that alcohol abstinence tags are extremely sensitive and can be detected through the wearer even drinking a low percentage of fruit cider. As well as this alcohol tags monitor alcohol levels every 30 minutes so there is no way you drinking without the SCRAM bracelet being triggered.

The court will usually impose the use of the tag and impose a 120-day period of abstinence if they have come to the conclusion that it is necessary. Alcohol tags aren't used solely as a punishment for offenders but are used in addition to a driving ban and any other punishment received.


Tampering with the tag



If you do decide to tamper or change the tag due to the sensitivity of the tag police will be notified immediately and further penalties will be imposed.


What is a scram bracelet?



SCRAM stands for secure continuous remote alcohol monitoring and is a type of monitoring device used to track a wearer's alcohol levels SCRAM








Can SCRAM tags detect drugs?



NO scram tags are not used to detect drug use as they are primarily designed to monitor alcohol consumption in individuals. The tags are not suited to detect drug use as they use specific sensors used to detect alcohol in perspiration. Although for drug use police may use other methods such as urine and blood samples. It is also worth noting that for offenders imposed SCRAM tags drug use may also be considered a breach of your abstinence period depending on your circumstances.


Can scram tags detect even a sip of beer?



Due to the sensitivity of SCRAM tags, even tiny amounts of alcohol below 0.02% can be detected. A positive violation of consumption of your SCRAM bracelet is only a BAC level of 0.02%.On average a 355 ml of beer with a  5% alcohol content would immediately trigger the SCRAM bracelet.


 “Like a breathalyzer for the ankle, the SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM CAM) bracelet provides 24/7 transdermal alcohol testing for hardcore drunk drivers, high-risk alcohol, and domestic violence caseloads. By automatically sampling the wearer’s perspiration every 30 minutes, the SCRAM CAM bracelet eliminates testing gaps and encourages accountability. SCRAM CAM not only supports sobriety but also results in higher compliance rates with court orders and increases community safety.”

Your Options


If the court has imposed the use of an alcohol tag or you would like to inquire about matters relating to Drink Driving please don't hesitate to contact us at 01484 599888.

As a specialist drink driving firm, we have built an infamous reputation for helping the everyday man or woman keep their license. From our decades of experience and firsthand experience dealing with a plethora of Drink Driving cases, we are more than well-equipped to guide you through the perplexities of your case.