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San Diego County DA: Strongly Defined SCRAM Program Yields High Compliance for Drunk Drivers

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Program Type
DUI/DWI, Pretrial, Probation, Repeat Alcohol Offender


Highlights of Success

  • Clearly defined and consistently applied SCRAM CAM usage criteria on both repeat and first-time DUI offenders are yielding extremely high compliance
  • The county has reduced jail overcrowding, with significant taxpayer savings
  • Program supports early intervention for alcohol misuse

San Diego, CA – Like most major metropolitan areas, San Diego County has been challenged with alcohol-related crime, particularly DUI. In a typical year, more than 16,000 adult DUI arrests are made. In 2011, 45% of drivers killed in motor vehicle accidents had a BAC level in excess of 0.08%.

In 2011, the South Bay Courthouse—which covers the southern portion of the county—instituted a SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (CAM) program. Prosecutors request CAM at time of arraignment as a mandatory condition of release, and as a condition of probation for high BAC and repeat DUI offenders.

The use of SCRAM CAM with clearly defined and consistently applied usage criteria has resulted in extremely high compliance for both first-time and hardcore DUI offenders, a reduction in jail overcrowding, significant taxpayer savings and support for early intervention for alcohol misuse.

In light of these successes, all San Diego County courthouses have adopted this criteria-based program.

How is SCRAM CAM Being Used?

The District Attorney’s office implements SCRAM CAM as condition of pre-trial release as well as for post-conviction monitoring.

Pre-trial Release Criteria:

  • 1st DUI offenders with a BAC greater than 0.30 and/or other aggravating factors
  • 2nd DUI offenders with a BAC greater than 0.15 and/or other aggravating factors
  • 3rd or higher DUI offenders

Criteria for Minimum Length of Post-Conviction Monitoring:

  • 1st DUI conviction (BAC greater than 0.30): 90 days
  • 2nd DUI conviction: 90 days
  • 3rd or more DUI conviction: 120 days

With high-risk offenders continuously monitored by SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring, the jurisdiction is experiencing extremely high compliance and offender accountability, all of which greatly increase public safety. If an offender violates while on SCRAM CAM, the court swiftly imposes sanctions in line with the evidence-based data derived from the bracelet. The local provider, SCRAM of California, also defends the monitoring data in court to further drive compliance.


Noncompliance is reported directly to the District Attorney’s Office and/or pre-trial services. With well-defined criteria firmly in place, these actions are generating positive program results, including:

  • Reduced jail overcrowding with savings to taxpayers
  • Faster and more efficient case resolution
  • Earlier intervention for alcohol misuse, abuse and crime
  • Reduced recidivism of hardcore drunk drivers
  • Increased public safety

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