Interviewer: To compare and contrast between the ignition interlock and the ankle monitor, the SCRAM monitor, which one is more affordable? First of all, do people even have a choice or is it up to the judge?
Kevin Roach: Typically, the ignition interlocks are a lot more affordable. The use of it has really ballooned over the last six months or so. You see that especially with this recent change in the law. Ignition interlocks are much more common and they are much more affordable than the SCRAM bracelets.
SCRAM bracelets you’ll see a lot less frequently and then more for serious cases where someone just can’t stop drinking and they’re looking at jail time or maybe they’re going to be released early with the condition that they have the SCRAM monitor on them just to ensure that they’re not drinking.
You don’t see the SCRAM as frequently just because it’s for more extreme cases. It’s not for your first offense DUI or second offense DUI. You don’t see SCRAM monitors. It’s more for someone that’s had three, four, five DUIs and may have been in and out of jail or has more serious substance abuse issues. That’s when you see the SCRAM devices.
Advice to Clients
Interviewer: If someone wants to meet with you and explain their situation and then it seems like there is going to be a conviction on the DUI, could you give any advice to give them a better idea of what sort of plan they should have as far as ignition interlock devices or anything else?
Kevin Roach: When someone comes in my office, I go through all of the options. I go through what the best-case scenario is and what the worst-case scenario is. On a first offense DWI, if someone blew over a 0.08 on the Breathalyzer, the worst case scenario on their license is they lose it for 90 days with 30 days of no driving.
They can take the second option where they, in lieu of this 90-day suspension, install the ignition interlock on their vehicle. They show the Department of Revenue that it’s been equipped and send all the proper documentation to them and that way they can drive.
I go over all those options with people: the best-case scenario is we win the hearing. Your driver’s license case gets dismissed. Worst-case scenario – you have to have the ignition interlock on your vehicle to drive.
As far as the criminal case goes, I’ll go over what the maximum punishment is. If it’s a class B misdemeanor, in Missouri it’s up to six months in jail or a $500 fine. The best-case scenario will be we get the case dismissed. Then I also go over what the likely outcome is because I don’t like to give people unrealistic expectations.
Most cases aren’t going to get dismissed. Only the really weak cases get dismissed. The likely outcome for first offense DWI cases or any extenuating circumstances is that the case is typically amended down to where it’s not on your permanent record. Once you complete your probationary period, the guilty plea is withdrawn off your record.
That’s the common outcome. I try to give people realistic expectations. I tell them what’s probably going to happen, and that way they know what to expect. They don’t go down this road thinking that everything’s just going to get dropped when it doesn’t happen most of the time. That’s just the reality of it.
Most of the time, when people are pulled over, they admit to drinking. They cooperate with the officer to do the field sobriety test. The field sobriety tests are incriminating. Of course, the officer is going to say you failed them. I would say over 50% of the people that I see take the breath test. You’re admitting to drinking. They have you failing in the field sobriety test. They have your breath evidence.
Under those circumstances, it’s unrealistic for most people in those cases to get thrown out of court. They’re valid cases. I try to go over with them what is likely going to happen and what we can do to keep this off their record and keep them out of jail. That’s what I typically go through with people when they come in.
Kevin J. roach is a St. Louis DWI defense attorney who has defended thousands of DWI and DUI cases in the St. Louis Metro area. Call us today at (636) 519-0085 or (866) 519-0085 for your Free Consultation!