An incautious word on you, your rights, and DUI checkpoints

Bad law tip du jour

To avoid having to comply with DUI checkpoints, just don’t get a driver’s license!

Caveat: do not take this advice. I am not an attorney and am not responsible for much of anything. If you’re taking legal advice from a snarky blog author, you probably shouldn’t be driving anyway.

The logic (however specious) is simple. Since you only consent to these checkpoints, field sobriety tests, and, if necessary, blood tests, etc. by way of implied consent when you apply for your driver’s license, implied consent won’t even apply to you. Naturally, this approach will pose some serious issues when trying to register your vehicle, keep your tags up to date, or secure insurance, but if you never consent, then the cops can only give you a stack of tickets for driving without a license, driving without registration, driving with expired tags, and driving without insurance. A really enthusiastic peace officer will even go above and beyond in his duty to protect and serve by creatively inventing many, many other reasons to cite you, thus assuring the rest of his shift is spent in the donut shop of his choice. If you also happen to be intoxicated, then there’s that, too. You’ll be in for an adventure you’ll never forget.

Officer Friendly will gladly hear your well-reasoned explanation after he ventilates your car by bashing out the window, assists you through a series of extreme range of motion exercises, and tests your somatosensory system with his nightstick. The bruises and lacerations, attorney’s fees, fines, jail time, lost employment, repair costs, and general dismay of your friends and loved ones will all be worth it because you’ll know that in the face of a crooked system ruled by laws and a 1990 SCOTUS decision, you were in the right because you never consented to begin with.

Be brave, intrepid road warrior. Glory feels like pain, sounds like steel bars clanging, and probably smells like stale urine.

That is to say, you don’t have the rights some of you think you do. You gave them up when you applied for your license. Simply comply and move right along. Unless you’re drunk, then fuck you.

In all seriousness, the subject of sobriety checkpoints and blood tests has come up recently in conversation, once brought up by a conservative friend, once brought up by a liberal friend. Apparently there’s video footage of people allegedly smooth-talking their way out of these checkpoints. I thought I should dig a little since something didn’t pass the sniff test and came up with some old news along with several instances of cops smashing in windows, sort of an ice breaker, if you will. There’s many interwoven issues here…sobriety checkpoints, implied consent, blood tests, 4th amendment issues, and double jeopardy. From everything I can gather, those that oppose (and I can’t say I’m entirely comfortable with the implications given modern tech, databases, and NSA data-mining…issues not foreseen by the 1990 SCOTUS) are pretty much SOL.

The article on implied consent (also linked above), provides some common sense advice. As well, it addresses the double jeopardy issue simply enough.

“The penalties for refusing to take these tests are often more severe than if the driver fails one of the requested standardized field sobriety tests – the one-leg stand, the walk-and-turn, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.

In addition, some states consider your refusal to submit to chemical testing as an admission of guilt and allow your refusal to be used as evidence against you in a DUI trial. Certainly you are likely to face more severe punishment by the courts if you refuse chemical testing. “

Added irony bonus (gratuitous two-party trolling free of charge):

It seems, from my quick scan, that modern concerns about the checkpoints and the blood testing are (and remember, this is very informal assessment) typically from the conservative side of the aisle. I note this because it was two liberal justices that best defended their concerns in their dissenting opinions, yet it was a liberal friend who most recently brought it up and, well…

To get this next point and really come at me with the verbal brass knucks, one really needs to read those two excepts from the dissenting opinions. The case made in the liberal dissenting opinions sums up exactly why I oppose universal background checks and closing the gun show loophole.

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Image credit: Stacey Huggins @ flikr.com. Licensed under Creative Commons.

 

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