Mike Fonseca | Understanding Soberlink

What are the best practices for alcohol monitoring in family law cases?

My guest in this episode is Mike Fonseca, a national sales manager for Soberlink. He’s here to share his expertise on Soberlink and break down how this technology plays a role in family law.

He’ll cover:

  • Comparing alcohol monitoring technology’s effectiveness
  • How Soberlink helps clients with accountability
  • What attorneys need to know about Soberlink
  • Common questions about alcohol monitoring in family law
  • And more

Mentioned in this episode:


Mike Fonseca: But at the end of the day, there’s not a product that can stop somebody from drinking, but there’s things that we can do to help curb someone’s bad habits.

Voiceover: You’re listening to the Texas Family Law Insiders podcast, your source for the latest news and trends in family law in the state of Texas. Now, here’s your host, attorney, Holly Draper.

Holly Draper: Today, I’m excited to welcome Mike Fonseca to the Texas Family Law Insiders podcast. Mike has been the National Sales Manager for Soberlink since 2011. He manages National Matrimonial Organizations like AAML, AFCC and the Family Law Section of the ABA. He dedicates his efforts to educating matrimonial professionals on Soberlink’s alcohol monitoring technology for child custody cases. Mike and his wife Amber are proud parents to their sons, Roman in Lincoln, and they reside in North Texas. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Mike: Thank you, Holly. Pleasure to be here with you.

Holly: So why don’t you start and just tell us a little bit about yourself.

Mike: So, I spend most of my time traveling the country educating matrimonial professionals, judges, courts, on best practices on alcohol monitoring. Best practices, kind of the pitfalls, and helping people really have successful outcomes, not being used as a weapon more just as an accountability tool. Helping people get from one point to another and gaining trust ultimately, to be able to have visitations with their kids and have the opposing side not be too, I guess the term is nervous or or considering not allowing unsupervised visitations. That’s the goal that we strive for.

Holly: So for anyone who might not be familiar with Soberlink, can you give us kind of a high level overview of what it is?

Mike: Sure. So it’s hardware and software. And if you’ve never seen it, I’m holding it in my hand. This is how small it is. And I’m not a giant, I’m six feet tall. And 220 pounds, so you can see my hand here. But it’s a high tech breathalyzer. It encompasses a camera. We do 100% facial recognition. It has a breathalyzer, and essentially, it has an engine source, either a cell phone or we have one product that has a phone built inside. It transmits an alcohol result to concerned parties in real time.

So there’s really nothing like it in family law that does real time monitoring. There’s products that kind of surface on what we do. But nothing’s in real time. And we make it really easy to understand for concerned parties and attorneys. And we’ll get into like some of the reporting or some of the results that we offer to all parties as well as certified records for court purposes as well.

Holly: Yeah, I think this is such a valuable tool for a family law case. Looking back on early in my family law career, before, Soberlink or at least before it became pretty common. It was sort of like, the parent that wasn’t having the alcohol issue had to be the alcohol police. And there were just so many more things they had to do if they were trying to protect their kids and make sure that somebody wasn’t drinking, or somebody wasn’t drinking excessively. So I think this is a great tool that has really kind of revolutionized the alcohol monitoring of family law cases.

Mike: Correct. And you know, at the end of the day, there’s not a product that can stop somebody from drinking, but there’s things that we can do to help curb someone’s bad habits. And once someone can’t test accordingly to their agreements and so forth, it’s pretty remarkable that people can get away with it.

People assume that we’re not looking at photographs, and they can get away with somebody else testing for them. Or they think that having a couple of drinks after their last night’s test won’t test or show positive the next morning. And people end up trying to see how many drinks they can have until they test positive in the morning.

Holly: Oh gosh. So what other products or systems are currently out there that are being used in this same type of space?

Mike: So in family law, there’s still courts that use older technologies like ignition interlocks just for example. Those are hardwired products that go into an ignition of a car and they immobilize the car. In Texas it’s .03 is the threshold. So if you blow anything under .03, the car wars will start. Anything .03 or greater, the car is immobilized. But we live in Texas, I don’t know many households that have less than one car.

So if they agree to use it, they can put it into a car and just never drive that car and drive another car and nobody will ever know if they’re drinking or not. The other side of it is, it’s not real time. You have to go into a shop, download the results. They get emailed. And it just there could be a month’s lag time in case there’s any problems that someone should know about.

There’s some other products too, just for example, like an ankle bracelet is still used. Criminal courts use scram ankle bracelets, which is a transdermal unit. It gets fixed on an ankle. It’s not very private, living in Texas. So you know, you can’t wear skirts or shorts and not be known. It’s a big clunky breath device that goes on an ankle. It gives transdermal alcohol use every 30 minutes.

Again, that goes to a transponder, it goes to a monitoring station in Colorado, and there’s no results that are given with a minimum of 24 hours. So it’s not a perfect device. And it’s very expensive as well. More engineered for criminal use. There is a company actually called Backtrack, it’s a consumer grade breath device.

They are catering to family law, but I wouldn’t recommend using it. It’s a consumer grade product really easy to manipulate. And it’s a very cheap product. It’s under $100. I’ve had some people tell me recently that they buy two of them, they use someone’s smartphone to test into it. It requires video streaming and the opposing side to verify identity. And just recently, someone actually panned where they were doing the video stream.

And they accidentally panned and showed someone outside of the range that was actually testing for him. So they bought two devices. And it was really easy to game and somebody else was testing for them in Bluetooth range. So not a perfect device for family law when child custody and child endangerment is at risk.

Holly: Okay. And then we also, I know we have different kinds of alcohol testing, blood testing, urine testing. Talk a little bit about the testing and how we can kind of tie that into using something like Soberlink.

Mike: Sure. So traditional drug testing, or urine testing is still used in family law. And it’s a good viable tool for drugs, but alcohol eliminates very quickly. And just for example, a normal adult eliminates .015 to .02 BAC per hour. And that’s just the normal burn off and it slows down when you’re sleeping. But there’s still people that use urine testing or ETG testing that claims that they can test up to 80 hours of consumption.

The problem is, we do a lot of parenting time only monitoring and somebody could test positive but not be under the influence at the time. So it’s a very old technology for alcohol monitoring. Someone that’s supposed to abstain fully, it actually could be viable. There’s a product called PEth testing, which is a blood test. It goes back up to two weeks.

So if someone is supposed to abstain from alcohol, and they don’t want to be monitored on a daily basis, they could agree to having blood tests twice a month. And it will prove that they’re abstaining from alcohol. And it’s an expensive but simpler format than testing daily just for example. And that’s typically for someone that’s graduated and have multiple years of sobriety and they still need to prove sobriety to the opposing side.

Holly: So my understanding what the PEth test was that it wasn’t going to show if you just had a glass of wine with dinner last night or this week. It was going to show if you’re binging or you were regularly drinking. Are there tests out there that are going to show if you’ve had anything in the last two weeks?

Mike: Yeah, so PEth test is actually the bulletproof one. I think what you’re talking about is ETG testing. And ETG testing is you really have to consume a lot to test positive, even within 24 hours. They claim 80 hours, but you really have to get to a high marker to test positive even the next day. We actually we did an independent study. And we had, I believe it was 12 people. They tested on Soberlink for 30 days, they were instructed to consume regularly, everybody consumed. They were testing weekly on ETG.

And they were testing daily in Soberlink. And add of everybody drinking, and there was people, there were some people that drank every day, there were some people that only drank a couple days a week. And only one out of those 12, even though they all were drinking during the 30 days, tested positive through ETG, and they all tested positive for Soberlink. So, it’s not a perfect system by any means, but they’re still used in family law.

Holly: So when should family law attorneys consider using Soberlink in their cases?

Mike: So I recommend and tell attorneys, when you have your first interview, get in front of it. What’s going to come up? Are there some challenges? Is alcohol, drugs, anything going to come up in the fight or the communication. And sometimes attorneys now are using as preemptively they’re actually using it to test. They tell their clients hey, get on Soberlink. I want you to abstain from alcohol for 30 days. And the records go to the attorneys.

So when it does come up, you can show either they couldn’t abstain, or they tested and they abstained for 30 days. And that should be enough for any court to show that the claim is being used as a weapon. And it’s not true, because I think if someone can not drink for 30 days, they don’t have a problem.

Holly: So I think that’s, that’s an interesting tactic that I hadn’t really thought of. When it’s your client that’s going to be accused of being an alcoholic, or drinking excessively, or all those things. And oftentimes, we can’t get to a temporary orders hearing quicker than 30 days. So if you know in advance that, hey, the other side’s gonna make this argument, you can cut it down at the source right there by using Soberlink in advance.

Most of us probably think about using it when we’re accusing the other side, or our client is accusing the other side of drinking excessively and kind of making that recommendation of you don’t have to be the alcohol police. And this is how we’re going to best keep your kids safe. So diving in a little bit to the options that are offered with Soberlink. Can you talk about the different levels and what those involve?

Mike: Sure. So we offer two levels. Level one is parenting time only monitoring. And level two is seven days a week everyday testing. We’re a zero tolerance device. So it’s plus or minus .005 gives the results of positive. So we don’t want to be used, like I mentioned, as a weapon. We don’t recommend any more than four tests for high risk cases. And less than two tests per day for the normal parent to be testing.

Three ends up being like the perfect testing method. So in level one, they would test prior to child exchange. So if I’m dad, and I’m going to pick up the kids on Friday at three o’clock from school, and I’ve got them until five o’clock on Sunday, just for example, I would start testing Friday morning. So my wife or ex wife would start getting results that I am sober that day of exchange. I would test prior to pick up and then it starts the schedule.

So I would test before bedtime. And then the next day I would test first thing in the morning when I wake up. One time in the middle of the day, for example. And then before bedtime. And like I mentioned, it’s a zero tolerance device. The results go in real time to the concerned parties via email or text. And hopefully there’s just no issues during that monitoring period. For everyday testing, it’s three times a day. Like I mentioned first thing in the morning, last thing before bed.

You never want to allow more than like nine hours of sleep time. People write orders and agreements where there’s actually just too much time in between testing. Like they say 9am and 9pm, for example. And that’s just too much time. And I just at the age that we’re at, I don’t know anyone that sleeps more than 12 hours, especially when you’re supposed to be watching the kids.

Holly: So you mentioned zero tolerance a couple of times. One of the things I’ve heard as concerns or as allegations, are you ever going to blow a positive test from toothpaste or mouthwash or having a dessert that has creme de menthe in it, or you know something that is really not drinking?

Mike: So the answer is can somebody tests positive without drinking? And yes, the answer is yes. We call them false positives. And our device is sensitive to any alcohol based products. So creme de menthe, unless it has alcohol in it, it won’t test positive. Chocolate won’t. Toothpaste doesn’t. There are specific products that are over the counter that do contain alcohol, and the example is mouthwash. It’s the commonly used excuse per se.

But we get ahead of it with our retesting measures. If somebody tests positive with Soberlink, it doesn’t notify anyone on the first positive. But they’re contractually obligated to test every 15 minutes, up to six consecutive tests or until alcohol is eliminated. So the goal is to eliminate the idea of mouthwash or we call it mouth alcohol.

So if I was to use mouthwash tested Soberlink, I would test a very high marker. And then the device locks you out. And you are instructed and reminded to test in 15 minutes, the device will unlock in 15 minutes. And then you retest. And if it was alcohol or mouth alcohol, mouthwash, for example, in 15 minutes without even rinsing your mouth with water, it will completely eliminate.

So hopefully it’s a positive followed by a negative, and no alarms or no alerts go out to anyone. The secondary test is the confirmation test. If someone tests positive and then positive again, that second test is when people get alarmed and alerted. And then they keep retesting, until, again, there’s no alcohol detected, or up to six consecutive tests.

Those markers are what allow us to confirm to attorneys certified records that it was like consumption. And we will show the markers and show the BAC levels of the curve, how it was like consumption. And it’s typically the morning tests, someone had drinks after their last night’s test, think they can get away with it. They start testing in the morning. And it’s typically low levels, sometimes it’s high levels.

But typically low levels and the retest show a perfect curve of elimination. So that’s how we’re able to prove if it’s consumption or not. But there are products that are viable false positives like hand sanitizers to high level concentration of alcohol, they might have gotten into the tube or the straw, and it’s just the vapors.

And they test positive and then negative because they get alarmed. Like why did I test positive I didn’t consume, and then in 15 minutes, the confirmation test will show that they weren’t drinking, because it’s a high level and then a zero. And there’s just no way to eliminate that way.

Holly: So when you have that situation where there’s that, essentially false positive first, does the other side, assuming that your second test is negative? Does the other side find out about that first false positive, or are they only going to get you know that it was clear.

Mike: So the test shows in records and in the email alerts, which we call it advanced reporting. It will show a positive test followed by a negative. So the markers never leave. But it was confirmed that it was a false positive. If someone tests positive, positive, positive, positive for six test, you will see actually the data that shows all the BAC markers and times. And it’s very just easy to explain how it was like consumption versus the false positive.

Holly: So as attorneys when we get these results, and we have our client who’s not the one testing, who’s freaking out about his positive test, that was then immediately 15 minutes later a negative test, we can feel very confident telling our clients that look, he wasn’t drinking was probably mouthwash or some just random false positive, but the subsequent testing proves that he was not actually drinking.

Mike: That’s correct. And we try to get ahead of it. We have client user agreements that they sign. It’s a multi page document that says don’t use products that contain alcohol. Don’t wear hats for facial recognition, or sunglasses, so we can verify identity. But you know, it’s exception based testing. People make mistakes, especially over time and over months. And the goal is to if they absolutely have to use products that have alcohol, submit your test first and then use the product because it’s mouth alcohol, not consumption. But we highly recommend not using it. There’s mouthwash without alcohol.

Holly: So with the parenting time only, our parties usually will have a court order that has a specific schedule. But sometimes that schedule can change or they’re changing things by agreement. Are the parties able to go in and change that parenting time only on the fly, or is it just you have to set up a schedule and stick with it?

Mike: So no. Level one parenting time monitoring actually doesn’t use our scheduler, and the device never shuts off. So you’re able to test in accordance to the agreements and orders that you write. They’re able to completely customize to their schedule, whether it’s who’s picking up the child at soccer, or baseball or whatever it might be.

They can test X amount of times per day, if the device just never shuts off. We allow up to 20 days of testing, not 20 tests per day, or 20 tests per month. It’s 20 days of testing, which is well over 50% visitation time. And like I mentioned, we recommend two to four tests per day. And they’re just able to unlock the device, submit their test, it takes less than a minute. And in real time the results go out so it’s a nice safe haven for all parties.

There’s no need to test more than four times. We’ve gone down this path. We’re up to a half a million people monitored. So now we have data that shows kind of what the sweet spot is. And we monitor people with drinking problems or not. So if they’re truly engulfed in a drinking issue, they just can’t stop drinking.

So, we recommend usage for a year’s term, just for example. And I can tell you that the average person stays on the device for about just over seven months, because they either graduate their term of agreement, or they can’t get past the first weekend. They really just have a drinking problem.

Voiceover: This episode of the Texas Family Law Insiders podcast is sponsored by The Draper Law Firm, providing family law litigation in Collin, Denton, and Dallas counties and appeals across Texas. For more information, visit draperfirm.com, or call 469-715-6801.

Holly: So back to the parenting time only, if there’s not a schedule in the system, is it accurate to say that you are not going to get a notification for a missed test?

Mike: That’s correct.

Holly: So with the daily testing, is there a schedule there where you will get a notification for a missed test?

Mike: Yes. So if they’re supposed to abstain every day, they go into our scheduler, just for example. And if I’m dad, and I’m going to test three times a day, we put it into our system, and I get text message reminders that my morning test is due, my afternoon test is due, and night test is due. For parenting time only monitoring, it’s up to the agreement.

You put in there, there are two tests at 7am, 3pm, 10pm, just for example. You want to write in the agreements, what is an allowable compliance window. For everyday testing, our default window is two hours. And we don’t do anything less than one hour. So you want to put in the agreements for level one, for example, if they’re going to test at say 7am, what is considered late. So it might be 8am is considered late, or 9am is considered late.

So they’re able to test until 7:59 and 59 seconds and be in compliance or 8:59 and 59 seconds and be in compliance. And we do that, again, like we’re a zero tolerance device. People make mistakes, they might have driven their kids to school, and they forgot their device, or they might be at a soccer game. And they just forgot their device. And we’re trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. And the data will show.

They typically are in compliance. And if they make a mistake, you get in front of it. Why did they make a mistake? And it’s typically a viable answer or excuse. Whether they just forgot the device, and they tested late, but they still tested and they were within compliance of zero test results. For everyday testing, it’s super easy. They actually get prompted via text message.

If I’m dad, and I’m testing at 7am, I get a text, starting at 6:45 saying my 7am test could be submitted. And then at 7:30, I get a reminder, at eight I’ll get a reminder. And if like I mentioned, we have a default two hour window until nine o’clock an alert would go out if I didn’t test. A test was missed.

And what do you do about it? So we like to tell attorneys in the agreements to be proactive, right in the agreements, what is supposed to happen in case of non compliance. Whether it’s a grandparent or a loved one who’s gonna call, who’s gonna text and intervene to find out what exactly is going on. And it might be someone just fell asleep.

Holly: So if we have a client that is not the parent being monitored, they’re the other parent. And, you know, mom’s supposed to test before her possession starts on Friday afternoon. But she doesn’t. Because it’s parenting time only system, the only way dad is going to know that is if he logs in specifically to see it. He’s not going to get any type of an alert, because there’s no schedule in the system. It’s just based on their agreement or their order.

Mike: Correct. Based on the agreements and orders. As you know, if they don’t submit a test prior to exchange, they aren’t allowed to pick up the child.

Holly: So for anybody who wants to have that kind of hands off approach of, well, if there’s a missed test or a fail, a missed test, really, because either way, you’re gonna know about a failed test. But you want to have confidence that no tests were missed, you really need to be on that daily testing plan, so that you’re gonna get alerts when anything is missed?

Mike: Yes, it is, I’ve learned over the years and in discussions with parents, that they’re typically on the lookout, they really are looking for that test, especially prior to exchange. And then during the course of unsupervised visitations, they might then not so much to be on alert, they know it’s coming, but they’re not actually waiting for it. The one they are always waiting for is prior to exchange. That one they’re really wanting to make sure that the parent is in compliance.

Holly: Okay, so aside from we have level one and level two parenting time and daily, are there different levels of service within that that people can get?

Mike: Yes. So within every level, there’s three options. We have a basic plan. And those typically are used for pre emptive monitoring. They’re not real time notifications. It’s an emailed report that gets sent the next day of the previous day’s testing. So that would be more for client attorney testing methods to show abstinence where someone doesn’t need to know in real time.

Then we have a plus program, which is real time notifications via email. And you can upload or we can insert as many contacts that are needed. So typically, it’s the concerned parent. And if someone’s really trying to show good faith in their abstinence, and they want to put in their parents or they want to put in opposing counsel, they can upload as many email addresses as needed to show the notifications.

And then we have a premium plan, which is email and text message alerts. That one is our most expensive, and it also includes reports that you can download. As an attorney, you can request business records, you can request changes in the programs, and there’s just no additional fees. If you call our office and say I need a report, it’s typically a $50 fee. And if they go into the premium plan, it’s just all inclusive.

Holly: Is there any equipment that people need to purchase?

Mike: Yes. And that’s actually the out of pocket cost to get started with the monitoring. So the device, if they agree to a year’s term, just for example, the device costs $300. And that’s what they pay out of pocket. We ship the device Federal Express. We don’t do anything more than three days, but we have the capability of shipping next day, even Saturday delivery. It is remarkable that orders get written and they are supposed to start on a specific date.

And people wait until the last day all the time. And they end up having to pay for overnight freight. But once they get the device they call a phone number, they activate the device, we make sure that they’re comfortable using it and then from then they go on their testing regimen according to the agreement or the order.

Then they pay a monthly monitoring fee on the back end. So what’s today, the 7th, I forget what day it is. But if I was to start testing today, my first bill wouldn’t come until January 1 and it would be prorated from the month prior. So they don’t pay monitoring fees until the back end.

Holly: So, can Soberlink detect if someone is trying to cheat the system?

Mike: Wow, yes. I wasn’t expecting that question. But great, great one. We get people that tried to game the device on a regular basis. When we first started, when we got into criminal monitoring and family law monitoring. People try to see what they can get away with. And people think that it’s like ignition interlock where it requires a probation officer to look at photos, for example, and they’ll have someone else test for them. And I can tell you that that’s a big no, no.

Every test gets looked at. Someone else testing for them, we’ll get flagged within minutes. And everyone will get notified that somebody else tested for the person who’s supposed to test. We do get people that get really creative, and they will port a hole in the bottom of the straw. And they will use canned or compressed air. We actually have temperature sensors, we’re in our sixth generation device.

Tamper detection, where if it’s not human breath temperature, it will actually raise a red flag algorithm. We’ll get our compliance department involved, they will actually look at temperature. And if it’s canned or compressed air, which is typically cold, they’d have to be dead to produce that temperature to produce that type of temperature. And we will give people the benefit of the doubt. It’s not real time.

We will actually overnight a replacement device, take the device that they had make sure that the temperature sensors are working. And if they are, we will send a notification out saying that there was a tamper, that somebody else, or it was falsified air that there’s just no way it was humanly possible to produce that breath sample.

Another thing that we have in our tamper detection is over time people submit a breath pressure that is consistent and constant. We record all these breath pressures. So if it’s something outside of a norm, it also raises a red flag algorithm. And we look at it deeper to make sure that nobody’s tampering.

Holly: So our case, we’re using Soberlink, either our side or the other side. And we want to use it in court and prove either that this person is being compliant, or that this person has failed tests or whatever. Are there any admissibility problems with trying to use Soberlink, and how should attorneys go about using it in court?

Mike: So we’re approved in all 50 states. I mentioned, we were in criminal monitoring, we sold that division and ’15. So we’re a health care company. We do abstinence monitoring for licensed professionals, doctors, lawyers, nurses. We do business with 11 major airlines. And we know what’s at risk. People’s livelihoods. And at the same time, child safety.

We hold it to a super high level of concern. We manufacture in the United States, and there’s just no way around it. If they’re going to be compliant or not, the notifications will go out within real time to make sure that people are doing what they’re supposed to do. We do our best to give people the benefit of the doubt. We don’t want to be used as a weapon, like I mentioned, or I keep mentioning, but they’re either going to be compliant or not.

And when someone’s not ready to abstain from alcohol, we’ll give them the data that shows why they were positive or why they tested positive. And the goal is to not just revoke visitation. The idea is to get in front of it. What is the root of the problem? Why did they drink?

And at the same time, what time did they test positive? Was it in the morning? Or was it three o’clock before their pickup or they’re supposed to be driving their kids? There’s different reasons for concern. And the idea is to get ahead of it, get ahead of the problem and treat it like a clinical problem, not so much I got you and I’m taking the kids away from you.

Holly: So if we want to obtain records from our case to use in a hearing or a trial, is there somewhere we can just print them out from our client’s account, or is there a system for attorneys getting them directly from Soberlink in a more admissible format?

Mike: So reporting in real time, for example, is a text or email alert, and we’re HIPAA compliant. So it’s a very vague, generalized, just alert. Says this person tested compliant or non compliant. Then they get reports via email, daily, weekly, bi monthly or monthly. And they have a hyperlink in the top corner where you can click on it. And it actually gives a very easy to read report. If you need reporting for court purposes, you actually would email our compliance department, which is our legal team [email protected].

You say, I represent this client, I need certified records from this day to this day for a court hearing. We generate real reports that have test times, photographs, detailed reports, and we’ll give them to attorneys or anyone that’s an authorized contact within 48 hours. So those reports are admissible.

Holly: So when the person signs up, they’re the ones who are checking the box that you can release it to these people. Or if we have a court order that says you can release it to these people. We certainly don’t want to run into any HIPAA issues. So what’s the best way to ensure that it will be released to us, or it can be released to us?

Mike: So we recommend for clients when they sign up, to put in their attorneys as authorized contacts. That way you can communicate with us without having the client’s permission. It doesn’t always happen. And if you represent a specific person, you’re able to have the client email our compliance department, copy you.

And that is enough authorization as long as they copy you. That’s authorization that you can then communicate with us or they can say, I give my attorney authorization to give certified records. And you can request anything from us at that point.

Holly: What about testimony from Soberlink? What if we need someone to testify why this is a false positive or how the equipment works and why we can rely on it. What do we do in that situation?

Mike: So our website is the easiest way to navigate any legal requests. If you go to soberlink.com on the very top toolbar, it says, for family law professionals. You’re able to, from their request certified records, you’re able to request legal testimony. And there is a process. It’s a one page application. It states when your hearing is, it states if it’s telephonic or in person. I think the pandemic made it much easier for telephonic testimony.

But, again, there is a specific fee, depending on if it’s telephonic or in person with travel. And depending on what’s getting contested is who we would have testify to, to the records, for example. So if there’s an attorney that is just tooth and nail fighting hardware, the breath device, something was faulty, or they’re just contesting it, we’d send an engineer who could testify to hardware.

If it’s just records of consumption, it would be someone on our legal team to explain how elimination works, and so forth. And if it really gets deeper than that, and it needs to be a toxicologist, we’ll have someone within the state that’s certified to testify to it’s like consumption.

Holly: Awesome. So that is, those are pretty much all the questions that I had. Was there anything else related to Soberlink that you think attorneys need to know?

Mike: Well, I think attorneys need to know that there’s programs for everyone. The day we became cash flow positive, we started giving back. So we’d have assistance programs. And we would rather give the device and give the program for free if someone can’t afford it, then have them use a lesser product.

So we want to make sure that courts, judges, attorneys know that we’re looking after child’s safety, and the health benefits of someone being an accountable parent, and the goal is to be able to show good faith in child safety. So we offer free programs. Sometimes they might just need help with the hardware to get started. And we’ll do that as well. We ask for attorneys who are working pro bono or at a reduced rate to apply for their clients. We never say no.

So if an attorney is willing to work at a discount, and they’re working for their client’s well being and the child’s well being, we’ll donate the hardware, the software or both. And it’s just a super easy process. We give out codes for free devices on a regular basis, or we just give full service to at no charge for clients that are in need.

Holly: Perfect.

Mike: Yeah, outside of that. It’s a super easy format. It’s once they open the device, when they get the product, it comes with a one page card, it’s like buying an Apple product. It says follow the steps they call a phone number, they go through activation phase. And like I mentioned, we ship Federal Express. They can start monitoring as quickly as next day. They don’t need to go into any office. We ship straight to their home or office.

So it’s very private, not even children need to know that a parent is being monitored. They literally could test in less than a minute. Go into the bathroom, go into their bedroom, goe into their car, whatever it needs to happen, or if they’re at work, and they need to be tested. They could completely be discreet. And it’s very easy and simple to use.

Like I mentioned, I think you saw how small it is. It fits in someone’s pocket. There’s just no cumbersome device that someone needs to feel like they’re being threatened at work, or they’re out of their privacy threshold, for example.

Holly: I did think of one more question. Do you all have sample language anywhere for what attorneys should be looking to put into orders related to Soberlink? Or is that something you stay away from?

Mike: No. So we do have sample orders. Again, on our website under matrimonial professionals, you can actually download and print sample verbiage. Again, our verbiage is very generalized. It’s information that we need for appropriate testing and monitoring. But every family law case has some different nuance. Whether it’s what time they’re going to pick them up, because there’s ballet involved, or whatever the circumstance might be.

Our information is very generalized, but it is commonly used. And we recommend using it because that is exactly what needs to be discussed. Who gets the information, how big of a compliance window you want to offer, who gets the results in real time, and who’s able to communicate with Soberlink to get certified records for court purposes.

So those are all viable important information that we need for agreements. We want to make sure that people don’t test too much. It’s not like adult probation where they have to test every two hours. I mentioned we’re a zero tolerance device, there’s just no need for excessive testing. If someone’s going to consume, they’re not going to stop at one drink.

And those are just the types of people that we monitor. So we want to make sure that they have a positive experience during their alcohol monitoring. Not using us as I mentioned, a weapon, it’s just for accountability and making sure that kids are safe.

Holly: Perfect. Well, thank you so much for joining us today. Where can our listeners go if they want to connect with you?

Mike: So they can always reach me through our website under our professionals tab. They can request quick presentations, I do lunch and learns. My email address is my initials [email protected]. I’m always available to professionals. So attorneys and judges, they’re always welcome to reach out to me, I’m always on the road. But there’s WiFi on every airplane now, so I’m always very responsive in real time, or at least within 24 hours.

If someone needs help for business records, for example, or certified records, I will make sure that whatever they need within a specific timeframe, sometimes there’s emergency hearings, I’ll make sure and get to the right person to make sure that they get the information they need, within the timely manner that that’s that’s needed to make sure that everyone has a positive experience. But again, I’m all over the state and all over the country doing education for best practices.

So you can always reach out to me to schedule a lunch and learn. There might be a question that I didn’t touch on or we didn’t touch on that might be a valuable source. And also I want feedback. Making sure that we’re doing what we need to and if there’s something better that we could be doing. I want to make sure that we jump ahead of it because we’re constantly evolving. I mentioned we’re on our sixth generation device, and there’s a reason for it.

Holly: Perfect. Well thank you so much. For our listeners, if you enjoyed today’s podcast, take a second to leave us a review and scribe to enjoy future episodes.

Voiceover: The Texas Family Law Insiders podcast is sponsored by The Draper Law Firm. We help people navigate divorce and child custody cases and handle family law appellate matters. For more information, visit our website at www.draperfirm.com.

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