Alcohol-sensing anklets to help state courts address repeat OVUIIs
November 15, 2018, Honolulu – Drivers who repeatedly operate vehicles under the influence of an intoxicant (OVUII) pose a tremendous threat on Hawaii’s roads. In order to reduce the danger courts will soon be able to require drunk-driving defendants to wear a high-tech anklet that monitors alcohol consumption. Defendants with multiple OVUII arrests can be ordered to wear the devices as a condition of release on bail while awaiting trial. Consuming alcohol or removing the anklet may result in bail forfeiture. Repeat offenders also can be sentenced to monitored sobriety.
State lawmakers approved use of around-the-clock alcohol monitoring devices when they passed House Bill (HB) 306 in 2017. This week judges, court personnel, probation officers and prosecutors in Honolulu, Wailuku, Kahului and Hilo are receiving training on the provisions of HB 306 and the alcohol monitoring technology.
This new approach aims to reduce the number of repeat drunk driving offenses by removing alcohol from the equation.
The Honolulu Department of the Prosecuting Attorney—which supported HB 306—looked into the alcohol monitors after hearing about other U.S. counties that have seen dramatic reductions in repeat drunk driving from using the technology.
According to Keith Kaneshiro, Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu, “Quite simply, when these individuals don’t drink, they don’t drive drunk. This new technology can make our roads safer and will give individuals the chance to get sober and get their lives back on track.”
Known as SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring, or SCRAM CAM, the anklet automatically tests the wearer’s perspiration every 30 minutes for alcohol consumption. The technology has been used to monitor 660,000 high-risk drunk driving and alcohol offenders throughout the U.S. On any given day 99.3% of the repeat drunk drivers wearing the anklets are sober and compliant with their monitoring.
Under HB 306, ignition interlocks are still required for license reinstatement, while technology-monitored sobriety will provide Hawaii courts with another proven tool to address repeat drunk driving.
“Alcohol monitoring can support long-term behavior change, making it less likely these individuals will commit another offense in the future,” notes Kaneshiro.
Costs associated with alcohol monitoring shall be paid by defendants except for defendants who qualify for partial financial relief. HB 306 also allows for indigence considerations for individuals who are on various forms of state benefits.
About the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, City & County of Honolulu
The duty of the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney is to seek justice on behalf of the people of the City and County of Honolulu. The department’s mission is to promote and ensure public safety and order through effective, efficient and just prosecution.
About SCRAM Systems
SCRAM Systems is the world’s leading provider of alcohol testing technologies for the criminal justice industry. The company’s flagship Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (CAM) technology, launched in 2003, revolutionized the way courts, agencies and treatment providers monitor and manage alcohol-involved offenders. In 2013 the company launched a full suite of electronic monitoring technologies, which includes SCRAM Remote Breath®, SCRAM GPS® and SCRAM House Arrest®. SCRAM Systems employs 280 people worldwide and is a privately-held company headquartered in Littleton, Colorado.