• Removing An Ankle Monitor or Ankle Bracelet in Florida

Removing An Ankle Monitor or Ankle Bracelet in Florida

There are two types of ankle monitors– CAM (continuous alcohol monitors) and GPS (global positions systems). Normally only one type of ankle monitor is ordered, but depending on what you are accused of, you might get both types of ankle monitors! These ankle bracelets are not only expensive, but they interfere with your life, ability to travel, and work. Unfortunately, over the last few years, they are the new favorite for judges across Florida. Oftentimes, in addition to having to bond out, many people are being required to wear these ankle monitors when they don’t need to. Our goal is to get it off as soon as possible in a way that does not hurt your case. This article will discuss what you need to do in order to have the ankle monitor removed.

What Is a CAM Ankle Monitor?

A CAM, or continuous alcohol monitor, is an ankle bracelet that functions similar to a breathalyzer that is attached to the ankle. The device provides 24/7 supervision ensuring that the wearer does not consume alcohol. It tests for alcohol sampling the wearer’s perspiration every 30 minutes. The primary bracelet offered is the SCRAM CAM bracelet.

What is a GPS Monitor?

A GPS, or global positioning system, is an ankle monitor that provides 24/7 monitoring of a person’s location. Oftentimes the Judge orders “exclusion zones” or “house arrest”. An exclusion zone is an area that you cannot go to, oftentimes the home or workplace of the alleged victim in a criminal case. You also will likely be ordered to not leave your home county. If you have “house arrest”, in addition to not being able to leave the county, you are only allowed to go to work and back home. If you violate, the Judge will issue a warrant and you will go to jail.

Are There Alternatives to Having to Wear an Ankle Monitor?

Alternatives to a CAM monitor include, random drug and alcohol testing, a remote breath device called SoberLink and entering into an inpatient treatment program. Our experience with the remote breath testing is that it is not a good idea for most people. In addition to being an inconvenience, many of our clients miss the scheduled times to provide the breath sample, which are often in the middle of the night. We strongly encourage you to deal with the ankle monitor because the remote tests are a huge hassle and a recipe for disaster.

There is no alternative to a GPS monitor. The only option is to convince the Judge that the monitor should not be ordered or removed.

Can I Go in Water with an Ankle Monitor?

You are not allowed to “submerge” either a GPS monitor or CAM monitor in water.

You are allowed to take showers, but you cannot go swimming. If it is submerged, it will be flagged as an attempt to defeat the device and will be handled in the same manner as an attempt to tamper with the device. You will also be charged for any damages caused by submerging or damaging the bracelet.

How Sensitive is the CAM Ankle Monitor?

The CAM monitor is very sensitive, so you must be careful. We cannot tell you how many times over the years that we have had clients swear that they did not drink and yet the monitor still triggered an alcohol consumption event. It has happened too many times for us to think that everyone is lying. There clearly is a problem with false positives. This is another reason why you don’t want the CAM on for any longer than necessary.

In order to be careful, you must stay away from anything that has alcohol in it. This means hand sanitizer, colognes, or cleaning products. But, the biggest problem for my clients is when they work at a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol. Spilled drinks can trigger an alcohol consumption event and you would have no idea that it even happened until they come knocking at your door with a warrant for your arrest.

What Happens If I Violate the Conditions of the Ankle Monitor?

If you violate the conditions of the GPS or the CAM, you will be taken to jail. You will have to stay there until a judge hears your case. Unfortunately, it is very hard to get a judge to change his/her mind. If you had a CAM monitor on as part of your sentence for a crime like a DUI, you might have to serve the remaining balance in jail. If you violated the terms of the GPS, you better have a good reason.

What makes violations of the ankle monitor difficult is that our clients are normally not told about the problem for a couple of weeks after. That makes it nearly impossible to create a defense and recreate what might have happened to explain what triggered the violation.

How Do I Get the Ankle Monitor Removed?

As mentioned in the above, the goal is to get the ankle monitor removed as quickly as possible without hurting your case. What do we mean by that? In certain situations, there is no risk in setting a bond hearing to remove an ankle monitor. Here are some examples of when you should or should not ask:

When Asking the Judge to Remove the Ankle Monitor is Low Risk

  • First time DUI with a high blow or crash and you have been ordered to have a CAM. If you have signed up for DUI school and started completing the conditions of the case, there is no risk in asking to remove the device quickly.
  • Domestic battery where contact is necessary to take care of a child. We always recommend that our clients start anger management before they ask to remove the GPS.
  • Both CAM and GPS have been ordered by the judge at first appearance. In this situation, your assigned judge will usually remove one of them simply because it is overkill to have both.

When Asking the Judge to Remove the Ankle Monitor is High Risk-

  • In a domestic battery case where an ankle monitor has been ordered and the charge has not yet been filed. In other words, you are out on bond and the case is being investigated. In these situations, we do not like to set hearings because the victim is required to attend and testify. The judge will question the victim under oath and often the answers to the judge’s questions will incriminate you. You are handing the prosecutor evidence on a silver platter. We try to wait until after the prosecutor has made a charging decision to go to court.
  • When you are out on bond for a crime involving alcohol and have done nothing to help yourself. We hate to bring my clients in front of a judge and ask to remove the ankle monitor when they have not done anything to show the judge that they are taking the case seriously. We feel like it sends the wrong message to the judge and puts you on the judge’s radar as someone they need to watch or punish in the future when the case is ready to be resolved.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Near You

This is what we can do for you- get on your case quickly and come up with a plan. You are hiring a private defense attorney to give you time and attention. We also will be able to tell you the preferences of both the judge and the prosecutor. This knowledge and experience is invaluable.

Our firm has been defending people accused of crimes in Florida for over 65 years! We have seen and done it all. Removing ankle monitors like a CAM or GPS takes more than just hiring a lawyer to set a hearing. There are strategic steps and decisions that need to be made. Therefore, the quicker that you hire a criminal defense attorney, the sooner that the strategy can be implemented. Handled properly, you should be able to get the ankle monitor removed and continue on with your life. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Sean McQuaid