Nacogdoches Co. gets equipment to better track DWI probationers

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Donna McCollum - email

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - A common rule for DWI offenders' probation is not to drink alcohol. Ever.

But there simply aren't enough probation officers anywhere to enforce the term 24/7.

No beer in the comfort of their own home for DWI offenders ordered to use an in-home alcohol monitoring device.

It becomes the offender's routine four specific times a day.

They're advised to not even try to slip a cold one in.

"If you took your test, first test in the morning, say at 6 and then think you're going to drink two or three beers, you know, if you have those two or three beers that's not going to be enough time for that alcohol to exit your body," said Ryan Grimmett, a Smart Start vendor.

And don't think someone can do it for them. The device takes their picture too. At least once a month the probationer brings the device to the vendor.

"When the service is being performed all the data is transmitted wirelessly thru the sensor," Grimmett said.

And from the central office all the data would be sent electronically to the district probation office and the judge for review.

"Margin of error for this thing is very small," Grimmett said. "The state mandates that it has to be tested down to the 100ths. It's got a variance of 500ths in can have."

That's what probation officers, prosecutors and judges like about the technology.

"And we have found that so far to be first of all a deterrent in terms of individuals drinking and very sure in letting us know what probationers are doing while they're out of the eye of the State of Texas," said County Attorney John Fleming.

Another plus is the $130 or so a month to rent the device must be paid by the defendant. For some it's about the same or maybe even less than what they spent on their drinking habit.

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