DUI laws and the Constitution

by Charles Platt

Florida has joined the growing list of states that are raising revenue by stopping drivers at random (not with probable cause) and forcing everyone to be breathalyzed–on the understanding that if anyone refuses, a judge on-site will issue a warrant authorizing the cops to take a blood sample by force, if necessary. Naturally Mothers Against Drunk Driving endorses this as a great idea. Here’s the news item.

For years I have had a gut-level aversion to MADD. The name alone is manipulative (who would ever dare to oppose that most sacred group, mothers, against that most reviled subspecies, drunk drivers?). The tactics are abhorrent (such as going to the Feds for help in forcing states to conform, when really this should be a state issue). And of course taking someone’s license away simply for triggering a detection device, before anything has been proven, is totally unacceptable.

But now I find that the situation is far worse than I imagined. If you have the time, this guy will tell you why.

4 Responses to DUI laws and the Constitution

  1. Rogier says:

    Thanks Charles, that article you linked to was very instructive.

  2. splifton says:

    Disclaimer: I am only licensed to give legal advice in the great state of Washington which does not allow for such blatant violations of your Constitutional Rights.

    As a DUI Defense Lawyer I appreciate check-points like these because they create business. As a public defender I HATE DUI check-points like these because I tend to be ‘on call’ the nights.

    Realistically if you are ever stopped in something like this, REFUSE to take the portable breath test. Make them take a blood draw. Blood draws take literally months to complete and a decent attorney can get them suppressed. The city will have to prove IMPAIRMENT beyond a reasonable doubt which can be tough without an admission of drinking and no signs of poor driving.

    My favorite are when State Patrol post road signs saying Drug/Marijuana Check Ahead while police are waiting for people pull off one exit before the phantom check points.

  3. [...] and had no fami… http://bit.ly/eI1vfT DUI laws and the Constitution | The Legal Satyricon | http://randazza.wordpress.com/2010/12/31/dui-laws-and-the-constitution/ DUI Patrols Catch Drunk Drivers: At least five drivers got a ticket for driving drunk New [...]

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