New York Court of Appeals Rules Court Can Require Defendants to Pay for Alcohol Monitoring Bracelets

The New York Court of Appeals reversed the opinion of a lower court that originally found it illegal for a court to require defendant’s to pay for court ordered alcohol monitoring through a SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring bracelet.  The Court of Appeals ruled that a court can require a defendant to wear and pay for a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring device as a condition of probation.

The case originated against Brian Hakes who was arrested for driving under the influence and drinking on a revoked license.  The license revocation was due to a prior DWI conviction.  One of the terms of his probation was the requirement to wear and pay for a SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring device.  During the term of his probation, Mr. Hakes stopped paying for the device according to court records.  The county court revoked his probation.  An appellate division reversed the lower court and was overturned by the New York Court of Appeals.

In the opinion released by the Court of Appeals, the court relied on Penal Law 65.10 (4) which authorized sentencing courts to require defendants to wear an electronic monitoring device and authorized defendants to pay costs associated with conditions of their probation.  The court ultimately saw Mr. Hakes refusal to pay for the device as a “willful violation of a condition of his probation” and upheld the county court’s decision to revoke.