If you have been arrested or convicted of driving while intoxicated (“DWI”), you may have been ordered to use an interlock system (“interlock”) or a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (“SCRAM”) as part of your sentencing. Below are some examples under Texas law when a DWI conviction may require the installation of an interlock or SCRAM as a condition of bail, intervention programs, and probation.
Interlock and SCRAM Conditions in Texas
- Condition of DWI Bail: Depending on the county in Texas in which you are arrested, as well as the criminal court to which you are assigned, you may be required to have an interlock device installed in your vehicle as a condition of your DWI as a first-time offender. In some Texas counties, judges mandate an interlock device as a condition of pretrial release. Other judges require an interlock device when the results of a blood-alcohol content (“BAC”) test comes back at or higher than 0.15%. On the other hand, other judges do not mandate an interlock device at all.
- Condition of DWI Probation: If a Texas court finds you guilty of DWI and sentences you but chooses to suspend your sentence and, instead, places you on probation, there will likely be conditions. These may include the installation of an interlock, SCRAM, or both. The difference between probation and pretrial intervention is that the former acts as a final conviction that cannot be later expunged while the latter does not.
- Condition of an Administrative License Suspension: Under state law, if and when you apply for a driver’s license, you are implicitly consenting to provide a sample of your breath or blood in the event that you are suspected of driving while intoxicated. For this reason, refusing to take a breathalyzer or blood test upon request of a law enforcement office may result in an administrative suspension of your driver’s license by the Texas Department of Public Safety. If this happens, you may be eligible for an occupational license, which only allows you to drive to and from work. Before this type of license is granted, however, most Texas courts will mandate that an interlock device be installed.
What is an Interlock or SCRAM?
An interlock device is a portable breathalyzer that is attached to your automobile under the dashboard. At one end of the device is a blow tube and at the other end of the device is a cord that runs underneath the vehicle’s dash. The breathalyzer is installed into the ignition system of the vehicle and must be used in order for the car to start. The vehicle will not turn on unless a breath sample is provided and that sample is calibrated at the specific time and locations. The device may require you to provide additional breath samples every five to 30 minutes to keep the car running. Many devices now have cameras attached to them to ensure you are the person blowing into the tube.
A SCRAM, on the other hand, is an ankle bracelet that communicates to a monitoring station through a modem. The device tests for the presence of alcohol every hour and does so through the person’s perspiration. The SCRAM includes a sensor designed to report if anyone has tampered with the device. The system will also test as much as every 30 minutes if alcohol is detected.
Dallas DWI Trial Lawyers
DWI cases are some of the most litigated in the legal system, particularly because they are fact-specific lawsuits where legal strategy can take a sharp turn depending on newly-revealed information. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DWI, you should have an aggressive attorney on your side fighting for your rights under the law. With more than two decades of experience representing clients across the state of Texas, the skilled trial attorneys at the DWI Defense Firm will guide you every step of the way. Do not delay, click here today to schedule your initial no-obligation case evaluation.
(image courtesy of Patrick Schopflin)