Thursday, December 30, 2010

You’re About to Lose Another Right – DUI Checkpoints Can Now Draw Your Blood, Even If You've Done Nothing Wrong

Just in time for the Holidays, Florida is primed to join a few other states in violating your Constitutional rights, namely the Fourth Amendment. Here’s the text:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
OK, that seems to be pretty straightforward and easy to understand. You cannot be accused of a crime unless there is reasonable suspicion that you’ve done something illegal. That evidence must be presented to a judge in order to issue an arrest warrant.

At least that’s how it used to work.

However, there’s this story (via the Drudge Report). Tampa, Florida is to begin setting up DUI roadblocks where you can’t refuse a breathalyzer test. If you do, then police can forcibly draw blood from you for an alcohol test.

Now, before you say I’m in favor of drinking and driving, let me say for the record, I’m not. Common sense should prevail, and if you’ve had a few too many, then you shouldn’t be behind the wheel.

But that’s not what this is about. This is about your rights and how your government is failing its sworn duty to protect them, and you.

Here’s the scenario: You’re driving down the road, obeying the speed limit, all your vehicles’ lights are in good working order, and you’re complying with all the laws. You’re not weaving or driving in an erratic way. In other words, you’re doing what you are expected to do, driving safely. You come upon a police checkpoint where you’re compelled to submit to a breathalyzer test with no evidence that you’ve violated the law.

You’ve just had an unconstitutional act performed on you by someone who has sworn an oath to defend your Constitutional rights.

This is legal insanity of the first order.

Now, there will be a few folks, and I’ve had more than one conversation with a few of them, who will say that driving is a privilege, not a right. However, when I cite the facts as outlined above, their argument dissolves. This is exactly the type of abuse that our Fourth Amendment was designed to prevent, namely the arbitrary and capricious use of legal force.

If you’re driving safely, even after a couple of drinks, you should not be subject to any type of police action against you, period. This logic, however, seems to have escaped the courts, even when they say that safety is their prime concern. Note the discrepancy: you’re driving safely, yet you’re confronted with a police checkpoint where you must prove your innocence despite any evidence that you’ve done anything illegal.

We’ve sat by idly and watched a legal racket be set up before our very eyes in the name of public safety. What started out with the best of intentions has become something far more onerous and deadly to our legal rights as citizens. If you’ve ever been drawn into the DUI Racket, you know what I mean. Blood Alcohol Content requirements are now set so artificially low that two drinks, hardly an impairment to anyone I know, is now sufficient cause for you to be subject to legal extortion in the form of arrest and restitution. Naturally, the lawyers’ lobby and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are all for this, since they stand to make a great deal of money in the process.

Even the founder of MADD, Candy Lightner, left the organization she founded when she saw what it had devolved into.

This madness must stop. We’re already sliding down the hill towards totalitarianism, and our own court system is complicit. Imagine yourself in this situation, being forced from your vehicle at gunpoint and having a needle forced into your arm. I’m quite certain that the first question you’ll have is, “What happened to my rights?”

And you’d be quite correct to think that you had just lost them.

Hopefully, Florida’s incoming Attorney General Pam Biondi will address this very serious problem as soon as possible. Although case law (there’s that legal beast again) will support this most illegal action, as it has in the use of checkpoints, the plain language in our Constitution forbids it.

Either we have rights or we don’t.

In this case, we clearly don’t. It's time to start correcting the fuzzy legal thinking that substitutes for the plain language of our Constitutional foundation.

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