Sobriety Tests

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by dukebound85, Sep 4, 2009.

  1. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #1
    So I had to go through a checkpoint and it got me thinking.

    How are these legal? Doesn't the 4th Amendment protect against searches with no probable cause?

     
  2. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #2
    Know you state law, in some state they are not mandatory for the driver, but the blood or breath test is.

    You can skip out on a sobriety check, but they can and likely will take you right to a blood test station (or a blow in this portable) ... refuse that and you immediately have you license revoke.

    Here all the sobriety test does is provide a video record of your inebriation for your trial.
     
  3. dukebound85 thread starter macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #3
    The US Constitution supersedes any state law though. How is the 4th not violated is my question

    If you see a checkpoint, can you legally turn around as long as its permitted normally (as in no illegal uturns)?
     
  4. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #4
    you can legally do it but that generally will get the cops attention and you will see some flashing lights behind you shortly afterward.

    As for the 4th admendment they will more than likely argue that the area is that have bars in it that are known to let drunks drive. By being in that area you are a suspect.
    I have never hit one of the check points but I am going to assume that it has been challenge in court before and the courts have stated time and time again that it is not against 4th amendment rights.
     
  5. Dmac77 macrumors 68020

    Dmac77

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    #5
    I don't see why you couldn't. If they pull you over for turning around, just tell them that you went to far, and you passed your destination.

    Also, I completely agree with you. Sobriety test check points are complete and total BS. I also think that it's total BS that a state can revoke your license if you refuse sobriety testing, breathalyzer testing, or blood testing. I personally would go for a blood test if I was driving drunk, and got pulled over, and hope to god that the hospital that they take me to is really overloaded when I get there, so by the time they finally draw my blood I'll be legally under the limit. But that's just me. In Michigan (from what I understand) if you request a blood test, you can also request that it be done at a hospital.

    Don
     
  6. dukebound85 thread starter macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #6
    Concerning blood testing, they do it on the spot at some is what I am reading online. Concerning waiting to be under the limit, not so. It takes some time for the alcohol to metabolize in your bloodstream so you may very well have a higher reading if you wait

    This issue has numerous concerns over google and I am just now coming to the party in a sense.

    This is a good read
     
  7. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #7
    When you're operating a motor vehicle you aren't using your own private property; you are on public roads that need to be regulated for everyone's safety. Moreover, driving is a privilege, not a right (hence why you are "licensed" for it). When the police find drunk drivers, they simply initiate the process to have their license suspended/revoked. There is no formal criminal proceeding. That only occurs if you damage property or (hopefully not) cause bodily harm to others.

    If the police used the checkpoint as a ruse to search your trunk, then you would have a case to make since the contents of your trunk require a warrant (barring certain circumstances of course).
     
  8. Dmac77 macrumors 68020

    Dmac77

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    #8
    In Michigan they don't do checkpoints, but I did run into one in Ohio a few weeks ago when we went down there.

    But also, in MI, if you get pulled over for driving drunk, you can request a blood test, and you can also request that they take you to a hospital for the blood test. You just have to hope and pray that the hospital is overloaded with patients.

    You are right about the alcohol metabolizing in your bloodstream. This could work if you are just a little bit over the limit, or sitting right on it when you get pulled over.

    BTW, thanks for the link.

    EDIT: @ CalBoy- but they are searching you by making you do a field sobriety test. That violates your 4th amendment rights. It doesn't matter if driving is a privilege or not. They (the cops) should not be allowed to make you do a field sobriety test or any kind of sobriety testing without a warrant. Also you risk incriminating yourself by submitting to a sobriety test, so IMO it also violates your 5th amendment rights.

    Don
     
  9. dukebound85 thread starter macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #9
    No

    read this again
    The roads being public have nothing to do with it. By that logic, one could be unreasonably searched for walking down a sidewalk

    Yes, driving is a priveledge but that does not make it a reason to violate the 4th fo no cause

    Unless you have sources that state otherwise?
     
  10. Dmac77 macrumors 68020

    Dmac77

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    #10
    This page has some helpful information on checkpoints also.

    It states that you can refuse to roll down your window, interact with any officers, or submit to any checkpoint searches without being punished for doing so. It states that if you don't cooperate with an officer, they may follow for 1 mile and after that they must return to the checkpoint if you don't break any laws in that 1 mile.

    https://www.checkpointusa.org/blog/index.php/2007/02/27/p27

    Don
     
  11. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #11
    When you get a license, the terms clearly state that you won't operate your vehicle while intoxicated.

    An analogous situation is getting on an airplane. When you purchase your ticket you agree not to carry weapons on your person. At the airport, everyone must go through security in order to enforce this. This also seemingly violates the 4th Amendment. However, the critical thing to remember is that the government is not coercing you to participate in these means of transportation. If you choose to use them, then you must play by the rules that we all agree to.

    You can be frisked if an officer has a reasonable suspicion. Terry v Ohio (1968)

    You're also missing the point that using the roads while intoxicated puts people and property into jeopardy. Just like carrying a gun onto a flight puts others into jeopardy. If you don't want to be put through a breathalyzer, then don't drive. It's really that simple.
    I'd say the cause of preventing drunk driving deaths is a good one.

    Let me know when an officer knocks on your front door and demands to give you a breathalyzer; then we'll have a case worth discussing.
     
  12. Dmac77 macrumors 68020

    Dmac77

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    #12
    But that's exactly it, they're forcing you to give up your rights, to be able to drive. It's coercion.

    Also, you still haven't addressed the 5th amendment issue. They are coercing you into incriminating yourself, and if you don't incriminate yourself, then you don't get to drive ever again. That's complete and total BS. It's extortion.

    Don
    Don
     
  13. dukebound85 thread starter macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #13
    That is not analogous

    An airport and airplanes are private property
    There is not any reasonable suspicion in a sobriety checkpoint
    Yes, it is a good thing to take drunk drivers off the street.

    However, the issue at hand is the legality of this method doing so, and apparently a google search tells me I am not alone in this thought
    In my mind, sobriety checkpoints are at this same level

    These things are nothing more than a brute force method to arrest people at the expense of violating the privacy of everyone with no reasonable evidence
     
  14. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #14
    It isn't coercion. You don't have a right to drive. You have permission to drive. If you violate the terms set out by the state, then you loose that permission.

    You need to separate the privilege of being to drive from the other rights afforded in the Constitution. If you read the Terry opinion, you'll find that Warren (remember this was the same person who trumpeted the cause of the 4th Amendment in Mapp v Ohio) notes the difference between a search that is intended to gather evidence and one that is meant to serve some other public purpose. An officer pulling you over to make sure you can operate your vehicle properly isn't meant to gather evidence for your criminal trial, and hence it isn't a violation of the 4th Amendment.

    Also, bear in mind that the language of the amendment is explicit in that it doesn't allow "unreasonable" searches and seizures. Searching for the sake of protecting motorist and pedestrian safety is hardly unreasonable, especially since there is no criminal penalty (you simply lose permission to drive).
    Again, the police aren't gathering evidence for a criminal trial so there is no invocation of the 5th Amendment. And again, most drivers agree to submit to a breathalyzer when they get their license so there is no coerce, it's merely contract fulfillment.
     
  15. dukebound85 thread starter macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #15
    I am going to quote myself


    This is analogous to wiretapping every home in the advent that some are conducting illegal activities. You don't have an explicit right to have internet or phones either

    Sure you ma catch some, but it's not legal
     
  16. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #16
    Airports are public property for the most part, and even aside from that both airports and airplanes are public places in legal terms (they are meant to service public crowds, not private ones) just like roads. The analogy fits perfectly (so perfectly in fact that the US Supreme Court applied the very same precedent to airport security measures as it did to traffic checkpoints).
    No, but you did seem to think that you couldn't be searched while walking down a sidewalk. I just wanted to correct that for you.

    To the point, there doesn't need to be any reasonable suspicion for a traffic checkpoint. Just like there doesn't need to be any reasonable suspicion for your shoes to be inspected at the airport.
    I've already outlined why your "legal" argument isn't a good one. The fact is, your rights aren't being taken away by this search, only your privileges. The exclusionary rule and 200 years of 4th Amendment interpretation permit this use of state search powers.

    Let's also not forget that the amendment only prevents "unreasonable" searches. If you think this search is so unreasonable, then stop driving and you won't have to face it ever again.
    What privacy do you lose exactly? You don't have the right to keep the fact that you're a drunk driver private. It's not as if the officer who examines you is going to peruse through your car and publish these secrets to the world.

    Also remember that drivers agree to this search before hand when they get their license. If they don't want to be searched, they can choose to not get a license.
     
  17. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #17
    The difference here is that methods of communication have been clearly marked by the 4th Amendment as protected (the line referring to "papers and effects"). You also have a reasonable expectation of privacy when making a phone call because it is not broadcast to the public (cell phones are of course a grey area since they use radio signals regulated by the government, but the courts have applied the same rules as traditional landlines for the most part) and are not making use of a public space.

    When you drive you are using a public space and depending on how you drive you could pose a danger to others. Using a phone is also not inherently dangerous. If you fail to operate your phone correctly, you aren't going to cause the deaths of others.

    And just so you know, I'm not being original with any of this. The relevant case law covers almost all of these questions. If you just read the majority opinions, I'm sure your questions will be answered.
     
  18. SydneyDev macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Sounds right to me. If police must have probable cause before interrupting your activities, then a random breath test is illegal by virtue of being random.
     
  19. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #19
    Probable cause is not random. If they see you weaving about or they see that a brake light is broken, fine, they can pull you, but without any reason to suspect wrongdoing you should not be required to do anything.
     
  20. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #20
    you are a lawyers nightmare, always go for the blow test they are ****ing ridiculously inacurate. I can breath scope through my nose and blow a .40. Seriously dontdrive drunk, but if u want your lawyer to have a case refuse to blow at the scene. Make yourself puke in the holding tank as they have a 20 minute waiting period to test you that resets.
     
  21. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #21
    I think in the UK you're allowed to have to go to the police station to be breath tested.
     
  22. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #22
    Yes, you are, but the police have to have reason to suspect that you are over the limit in the first place.
     
  23. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #23
    I'm with skunk and dukebound on this one. I understand the idea behind checkpoints; I naturally applaud the goal. But I think the method is a Constitutional violation.

    Regardless of how broadly courts have interpreted the Constitution in the cops' favor, how is stopping someone without cause not a violation of their rights?

    Using the argument that there are bars in the area and drunk driving is a problem is, to my mind, not good enough. By that logic, if there have been bank robberies in the area by male suspects, they can stop every single man in the area and question him.
     
  24. SydneyDev macrumors 6502

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    #24
    Yes, it is the government interfering with someone without evidence that they did anything wrong. By that logic, just because people aren't perfect, you could set up an entire central authority to control their lives and spend their money in a more perfect way.
     
  25. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

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    #25
    I would hope those who are against random road blocks for sobriety testing are equally against those for immigration checks.
     

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