Senators Ask Apple, Google, RIM to Pull DUI Checkpoint Apps

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by CalBoy, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #1
    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2382405,00.asp

    This certainly is interesting from a First Amendment perspective.

    On the one hand, there is a need to take drunk drivers off the roads and on the other, there seems to be something inherently unfair about allowing the government to keep something like this artificially suppressed.

    In my opinion, as long as the apps are only publishing already available information, they are perfectly fine. This would be quite another thing if app writers were publicizing confidential information.
     
  2. KingYaba macrumors 68040

    KingYaba

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    #2
    Funny, because it's the checkpoints that need to be pulled. :mad:
     
  3. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

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    #3
    +1
     
  4. CalBoy thread starter macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #4
    I think that as long as they are effective at keeping dangerous drivers off the streets, they serve a good enough purpose to keep around.

    Although I have no data as to their efficacy.
     
  5. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

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    #5
    Oh, come on--you've been to law school. Don't checkpoints strike you as an outrageous Fourth Amendment violation? Regardless of the Supreme Court's decision in Sitz, they strike me as the very essence of an unreasonable search.
     
  6. CalBoy thread starter macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #6
    I think that so long as individuals are able to keep their personal effects from being searched (no rummaging through the glove compartment, no browsing a cell phone, etc) during a DUI checkpoint, the Fourth Amendment would be being followed.

    I think what makes this search method reasonable is that so many people die from this relatively common phenomenon. Probable cause is almost established through sheer statistics on some nights. It's also a very efficient and effective way to get dangerous people off the roads, or so it's been said.

    If these checkpoints were ineffective, then I would agree because they wouldn't be saving any lives and violating the Fourth Amendment. For now, I assume that at worst they mildly violate the Fourth Amendment and save many lives.

    There is also an exceedingly easy way to avoid the checkpoints: don't drive on nights when you know you're going to be drinking.
     
  7. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #7
    Plus knowing that there are check point out there make a lot of people 2nd guess who are drunk from driving home but more willing to call a cab to get home.
     
  8. CalBoy thread starter macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #8
    Ironically, the apps mentioned in the article would make such behavior more likely. By trying to get the apps thrown out, lawmakers could make things worse because those who might have been scared off will risk it.
     
  9. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

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    #9
    (Emphasis added.)

    First, "almost" does not qualify. And statistics can never create probable cause in an individual case. C'mon, you knew that already, right?

    The FBI has consistently found that saturation patrols are considerably more effective, so your assumption is unfounded. ;)
     
  10. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #10
    From people who I sadly know who drink and drive they haved used those Apps to go around the check points. It makes them more WILLING to drive drunk than to 2nd guess it.

    I am fine with the check points. They genenerally set up close to were a lot of bar traffic will go threw. I think the limit should be lowered.
    The DUI laws need to be changes in how it deals with first time offenders. Namely I think first time offenders need to be allowed to deffered and 2nd time get crimanal. It would get out the backlog. Let the multiple offenders (the real problems) from slipping threw the cracks and getting off multiple times because of the clogged up system.
     
  11. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #11
    Aren't non-drinking drivers interested in traffic issues also potential customers for this app? It's not like the app is a conduit for child porn. There is a legitimate legal use of the app.
     
  12. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

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    #12
    In Canada they do not frown on these type of things ... even the speed trap warnings are approved ... their theory is if it gets people to slow down or not drink and drive they are OK with them
     
  13. CalBoy thread starter macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #13
    Of course, I was being facetious. :)

    Legally speaking, the officers have consent through the state's licensing apparatus since we all agree to be stopped at any checkpoint. It gets around the Fourth Amendment of course, but personally I think that there is no true consent where a vital daily activity is concerned.

    However, I think that drivers do provide their consent when they drive (an activity I distinguish from the explicit terms of the license). Drivers know that they have to operate their vehicles safely, and that the state can police this public accommodation just like any other, so there should be constructive consent to a basic DUI checkpoint.

    So long as the driver is being solely assessed for their competency to operate the car, I don't see any Fourth Amendment problems. An individual is not surrendering any privacy by demonstrating to an officer that they are perfectly able to operate the vehicle.

    Well then, I guess there's a good reason to do away with the checkpoints huh?

    I'm certainly not an expert in law enforcement strategies, but if there is a more effective method that doesn't raise constitutional concerns, it's clearly superior.

    If you could provide a link, I'd be much obliged. :) If the evidence is clear enough, I'll eat my words.

    Huh, that's interesting. The article pointed to things swinging the other way. You may just know some even more irresponsible people than the article was assuming would be using the apps, or the writer severely over estimated the fear aspect of things.

    AFAIK, the penalties do get worse as offenses pile up. If you made the first offense too light, it might encourage brazen behavior for people with a clean record. Drivers should be concerned about getting not only their second (or more) DUI, but also their first.
     
  14. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #14
    was an article here in Houston a while ago about it and even the MAD group supported that changed.
    Reason being is the system is clogged full of first times so they charges are often drop on the first time group to help clear the back log. Problem is when doing that they find that way to many multiple time offenders have NEVER been charged at all. They would rather let people get off who did it for a one time thing and learned than to let multiple time offenders get away with it.
    Greatly reduces the backlog and catches the ones they are really after.

    It would be reduce first time and INCREASE 2nd time offenders punishment.
     
  15. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #15
    Operating a motor vehicle is not an unalienable right. It is a privilege that can be denied to you, and if you get caught violating the injunction, you get to visit the greybar hotel for the night.
     
  16. Naimfan, Mar 22, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011

    Naimfan macrumors 68040

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    #16
    Sorry, that's incorrect. Police must have a valid reason to stop someone to check for anything. We do NOT agree to be stopped at any checkpoint by virtue of our exercising a licensed right. Defend a DUI case sometime, and the first thing you look for is to examine if it was a valid stop. Remember reasonable and articulable suspicion? Checkpoints do away with that.

    It puts us one step closer to the "Papers, please" police state so many people say they are terrified of.

    Anyway, dig deeper in American jurisprudence and you'll realize just how outrageous a violation it is.

    Who ever suggested that driving is an "unalienable" [sic] right? Incidentally, the term you wanted was "fundamental" right. And while driving is not a fundamental right, the state cannot arbitrarily deprive you of the license--it must follow due process.
     
  17. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #17
    I'm not sure who's been through a DUI checkpoint; I have only been through 2 or 3. So, I'm not sure how representative they were. I have defended cases where they were involved, but it's been a few years, so things might have changed a little. I'm not sure if this has been mentioned in response to the search issue, but DUI checkpoints have to be run in a very specific way in order to avoid having the checkpoint stop or even all of the arrests thrown out.

    In order to avoid the issues with probable cause and/or reasonable suspicion, the checkpoint will be run in one of a couple of ways. Either every car will be stopped, and contact made with random cars being selected for more thorough examination, or a random car is pulled out of a line of cars, but it is random only in that the car is always the 5th car, or always the 3rd car. It can't be left to the officer's discretion. Once contact is made, obviously if reasonable suspicion or probable cause exist, the officers can proceed as usual.

    But, like I said, that's just my experience and my state. Here's a little summary of the states I found: http://www.iihs.org/laws/checkpoints.html
     
  18. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #18
    I support this. I am sick of reading on facebook of people warning their friends about DUI checkpoints. Of course these people are also underaged. If they drink and drive, I want them to get caught. If they know about the DUI checkpoints, it just enables them to get around it.
     
  19. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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    #19
    Terrifying.

    So I assume you were ok with Arizona's illegal immigration law then, because this law is about 100x more intrusive, and does not even require probable cause.

    Also, I really don't care how many lives the checkpoints "save" because 1) There is no way to accurately quantify that and 2) Could they not better spend the money by putting a few more cruisers on the bar strips to pull over people who actually deserve to be pulled over, rather than every "x" car or whatever idiot way they do it?
     
  20. CalBoy thread starter macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #20
    No, you do provide consent to many police procedures with a license, including being stopped at a checkpoint.

    It's no different from a city health inspector performing a random inspection at a restaurant. Under the terms of the license, you agree to engage (or not engage) in certain behaviors to keep the public safe while you perform another activity. Driving is not a right to be had at all times, unlike the right to be secure at home and in your person (which is what the Fourth Amendment explicitly aims to protect).

    You don't suffer a surrender of due process at a checkpoint because everyone is being brought through the checkpoint, much like if the SSA were to reduce benefits for all, no single beneficiary would be surrendering a due process right because your access to the right is not being unequally restricted.

    And I would object to that, but driving is not in the same class as mere existence. The predicate activity to these checkpoints is very dangerous, and is to this day one of the most (if not the most) preventable causes of death.

    Walking while being illegal doesn't kill anyone whereas driving while drunk does. There is a very legitimate interest in keeping public roads free from dangerous machines that can kill.

    No, I do not approve of Arizona's law, for two reasons. The first is that as I mentioned above, there is nothing inherently dangerous about being in public and private citizens while not engaging in a licensed behavior do have the full protection of the 4th Amendment. The second is that Arizona does not have jurisdiction to enforce Federal law.

    This is a question for policy makers, and I don't pretend to know enough about police procedure to judge which methods are better.

    The real point of this thread is whether or not Congress should be asking app stores to remove their DUI checkpoint apps as the apps are technically a form of free speech.
     
  21. Naimfan macrumors 68040

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    #21
    Wrong. There is no such statutory provision to a driver's license. Do you have that in California? Oi if so. There IS an express consent law that requires you to take a blood or breath test IF PROBABLE CAUSE exists. But that is NOT the same as saying you agree to random searches just by virtue of exercising a license. Checkpoints violate the bedrock principles of the Constitution by allowing a state search for absolutely no reason.

    Also, there's no need to even reach a First Amendment analysis. It's what I do . . .
     
  22. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #22
    Speaking as someone who nearly lost an immediate family member in a hit-and-run, I think it's totally irresponsible for people who are drinking to knowingly avoid checkpoints - regardless of what you think about the efficacy or legality of those checkpoints in the first place.

    Avoiding police checkpoints because you suspect you are intoxicated while driving is totally execrable behavior, and amounts to knowingly driving drunk. There is no excuse for it.
     
  23. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

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    #23
    There was something on /. about this. I seemed to remember most of the participants were pretty sure that the checkpoints had to be announced a head of time thus making them public record. That is how they get around the 4th Amendment.
     
  24. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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    #24
    Speaking as someone whose sister got hit head on going 45 by a drunk driver that passed out and swerved into the oncoming lane compound fracturing her arm,

    I STILL think random checkpoints are an embarrassment to everything "america" is about.

    That being said, I never even came close to insinuating that I support drunk driving, drunk drivers avoiding checkpoints, or anything even close to that.

    I simply think that "Random Checkpoints" for ANYTHING is a totally insane idea.
     
  25. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #25
    Random checkpoints, certainly, but I've never seen one of those. All the checkpoints I've ever come across are deliberately sited such that they intercept traffic to and from the nightlife districts.

    I'm not arguing that checkpoints are always a good idea, but the implication that they are totally useless is, in my opinion, false. Also, using a mobile app to avoid them when you think you might be above the legal blood-alcohol limit is totally irresponsible and dangerous.
     

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