Recently the Washington Supreme Court released a ruling in State v. Hardtke. Essentially limiting the Court’s ability to require a defendant to wear a DUI SCRAM bracelet or some other expensive pretrial conditions of release (i.e., Home detention). However in my opinion this ruling is not likely to affect the way DUI cases are handled in King County regarding SCRAM devices or other more expensive forms of pretrial conditions of release.
So here is what happened in the Hardtke case. The Judge in that case set a pretrial condition that Mr. Hardtke wear a SCRAM bracelet pending trial. In other words the Judge told him if he wanted to remain out of custody while his DUI case was going on he would have to wear this bracelet which detects the use of alcohol. After Mr. Hardtke was convicted the Judge ordered him to pay approximately $4k for the use of the SCRAM device. Mr. Hardtke appealed and cited to RCW 10.01.160 which basically limits a Courts ability to impose pretrial supervision to $150.
So how does this ruling affect DUI cases in King County. In my opinion it wont have much effect. You see the statute that was cited to by Mr. Hardtke only applies to conditions of release that the Court itself provides and monitors. In the Hardtke case the Court provided the SCRAM device. However the statute is silent on what happens if a third party provides the condition of release. In King County, third parties contract out with the Courts to provide these services. That is the difference in my opinion and why defense attorneys that try to challenge a pretrial condition like SCRAM based on the cost will not prevail here in King County.
In fact I would venture to say that most Courts in Washington do not provide this service. Again in every Court I practice in not just King County there are private third party companies that provide the service. So unfortunately if you were recently arrested for a DUI and the Judge set a SCRAM bracelet as a condition of release you will not be able to get it removed by simply saying it is too expensive and applying the Hardtke analysis. The best way to get it removed is still the old fashioned way of getting an alcohol and drug evaluation and showing proof you are enrolled in whatever treatment is recommended.