Portable Alcohol Monitoring in Pre-Trial Services

When an individual is arrested for DUI, they are booked into a county jail and appear before a judge within 24-48 hours for an initial hearing. The judge then decides whether to detain the defendant or release them back into the community. To ensure that defendants do not pose a threat to public safety, pre-trial services are in place to monitor impaired drivers during the pretrial process.

For individuals in pre-trial services, the use of portable alcohol monitoring (PAM) devices can be an effective way to support treatment and accountability. At Johnny’s Interlock, we offer the RELIANT EMU (Electronic Monitoring Unit). The RELIANT EMU is a portable breathalyzer that is designed to provide remote supervision and monitoring for subjects in pre-trial supervision.

RELIANT EMU (Electronic Monitoring Unit)


The RELIANT EMU, Portable Alcohol Monitoring (PAM) device, plays a crucial role in pre-trial supervision. It is a breathalyzer that observes alcohol-free behavior in community supervision, home confinement, or 24/7 applications. This device is court-ordered as an alternative to an ignition interlock device if the offender does not have their own vehicle, shares their vehicle with others, or has failed to comply with installing an ignition interlock device.

The use of portable alcohol monitoring devices provides all parties involved with guidance on how best to supervise, treat, and ultimately assist individuals in pre-trial services. This device can be ordered as a condition of pre-trial release, ensuring compliance and accountability.

DUI Release Considerations

In DUI cases, judges focus on the defendant’s:

Unless deemed to be a significant threat to public safety or accused of a violent crime (e.g., DUI resulting in serious bodily injury or death), most impaired drivers are released on bail. Results of a risk assessment might also inform this decision, although this is not a uniform practice. If the accused can afford the amount or a bond is secured, he/she is released back into the community with a set of conditions to abide by. Which might include screening and assessment for alcohol and/or drug use disorders, contacts with a supervision authority (often a pretrial services agency staffed by probation officers), alcohol monitoring and drug testing, etc.

Violations of the conditions of bond can result in the defendant returning to custody.

Strengthening Pre-trial Practices for Improved DUI Outcomes

Jurisdictions should strive to strengthen their pretrial practices and rely more on the use of assessments early in the justice process to achieve better overall outcomes. The value of assessment cannot be stressed enough, as it provides important information about each individual defendant.

The reality is that most DUI defendants are not detained following their arrest. Most of them return to the community and could continue to pose a critical threat to every innocent person on the nation’s roadways. The RELIANT EMU portable alcohol monitoring device provides a solution to this issue.

The implementation of pre-trial services and pre-trial programming for impaired drivers is crucial to protecting public safety and facilitating behavior change. By using portable alcohol monitoring devices like the RELIANT EMU, jurisdictions can efficiently collect program data to evaluate and improve programs and monitor offenders during the pretrial process. Let us all work together to prevent individuals from continuing to drive impaired, ultimately saving lives.