There is a little-known reform program in Illinois, at least in Cook County, that applies to individuals who are charged with offenses involving alcohol called C.A.M. This is an acronym for Continuous Alcohol Monitoring. It is designed to allow defendants to avoid jail time by wearing an ankle bracelet that is able to determine if, and when, an individual consumes alcohol.
CAM is not for everyone. The primary user is the “Hard Core Drunk Driver”. This is the person repeatedly driving with a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) greater than 0.16 or a driver with multiple DUI convictions at any BAC . The secondary user is the criminal offender that has been charged with domestic violence where alcohol is a contributing factor.
CAM was introduced as a way to punish and treat an offender while also protecting the community. It is designed to be a “happy medium” between allowing offenders to freely walk the streets and spend time in jail. It is a 24/7 automated system that conducts a test every 30 minutes. The CAM bracelet is able to detect, via sweat excretion through the skin, how many drinks a person has had over a given period of time. It operates much in the same way a bracelet for house arrest does. The offender is required to wear it at all times, the exception being that they are allowed to leave their premises.
The most positive element of CAM is its ability to reform while helping criminal offenders avoid jail time. Judges are sometimes in the business of punishing offenders, while at the same time attempting to reform them. If a Judge can accomplish this without sentencing jail time they will certainly try to do so. CAM has been in place in Illinois since 2008. According to SCRAM from AMS (one of the companies responsible for administering CAM), DUI convictions are down 6% in Illinois over that period of time. More startlingly, during that same period of time, DUI convictions were down more than 29% in Champaign and Macon County.
If you are one of the above referenced types of offenders, CAM may be a solution for you if you are looking to avoid jail time. When facing these serious charges, talk with your criminal defense / DUI attorney about taking advantage of the CAM program prior to your court appearance. It may mean the difference between prison food or pizza on a Friday night.