WASHINGTON, July 6, 2014 — What are your constitutional rights when it comes to a drunk driving stop?
Every state recognizes a driver’s right to refuse a chemical test to determine whether their blood alcohol level is over the legal limit. However, over the Fourth of July, a number of jurisdictions announced they would be setting up “no-refusal” drunk-driving checkpoints.
The penalties vary from state to state.
In most states, if you refuse the chemical test, your driving privileges are revoked for a period of time. In some states, if you have a prior conviction for DUI and refuse the test, that is a separate criminal offense.
The idea behind a no-refusal checkpoint is that if someone is stopped at the checkpoint and shows indicators of possible drug or alcohol influence, they will be offered a chemical test.
If they refuse the test, the police will take a blood sample, by force if necessary.
Many people start screaming, “this is the police state at work.” The cold, hard truth is, it is not the police state at work.
This is the Constitution at work.
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution states:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] 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.
The reason no-refusal check points are allowed is because when they are set up, the police take a judge with them to be on scene at the check point. If someone refuses to take the chemical test, the police immediately apply for a search warrant on the scene; if the judge signs a search warrant, blood is drawn.
Despite the outrage, the procedure is totally constitutional.
The police officer brings his probable cause, namely his observations to the judge. In some instances, the judge can personally observe the person. The judge then issues or denies the warrant.
This is the same procedure that is used when the police want to search a house for drugs or a car for evidence of a murder. The only difference is, instead of being in an air-conditioned office, the judge is out on the street.
The Fourth Amendment is one of the greatest protections our founding fathers gave us. Based on the IRS scandal, it is not unreasonable to believe that if the Fourth Amendment were not as strong as it is, the Obama Regime would have the FBI kicking down the doors of homes belonging to people who oppose the Regime and searching.
Newt Gingrich gave the best description one time when he said the Constitution “is not a suicide pact.”
The Constitution provides an amazing platform for the rule of law in America.
Those no-refusal DUI checkpoints are not illegal, nor are they the police state in action. They are the Constitution in action.
America is threatened by a bloated government that does threaten liberty and freedom. We live in an America where we have a president who would like to be a dictator and create a police state.
There are many things real Americans should be complaining about.
But let’s learn what the Constitution says before we start complaining.