Transdermal Alcohol and Drug Monitoring Devices

One new law slated to begin July 1, 2014 relates to the use of transdermal alcohol and drug monitoring devices.

This new law expands when the courts have jurisdiction to require offender to have them. This new law expands their use to include people being placed on pretrial diversion, post trial diversion, probation or parole. Further the law clarifies that the monitoring device must monitor from drugs and alcohol at least once every half hour. These monitoring devices screen for alcohol at the level of at least .02 and for the five most common drug categories; opiates, benzodiazepines, methamphetamines, amphetamines and marijuana (THC).

What does this new law mean? Well the first thing it means is more hardship for indigent offenders who are forced to wear the device. When an offender has to wear the monitoring devices, they have to pay for them. Usually these devices cost around $8 per day, or about $240 a month. For someone who is highly unskilled, the ability to make the payment toward that costs is probably more than they can afford, not counting the remaining court costs and probation supervision fees they also have to pay.

I suspect most courts will save these devices for the well seasoned offender. It is unlikely that judges will require a first time drug or DUI offender to get these devices mainly because of costs. The courts will be more likely to hit the 2nd and subsequent DUI offender and those charged with more serious drugs like heroin or cocaine to use these devices, particularly those offenders who use needles to inject their drugs.

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