The Constitutionality of no refusal drunk driving stops

Police “no refusal” checkpoint in Tennessee (Source:
Police “no refusal” checkpoint in Tennessee (Source:

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.

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Judson Phillips is the founder of Tea Party Nation, one of the largest Tea Party Groups in the country and the number one national tea party site on the Internet. A lawyer by profession, Judson has been involved in politics since his teens. “Ronald Reagan inspired me,” he says. Judson became involved in the Tea Party movement in February 2009 after hearing Rick Santelli’s rant on CNBC. “I heard there was going to be a Tea Party in Chicago inspired by Santelli, but didn’t know if anyone was doing a rally in Nashville where I was based. Finally I emailed Michelle Malkin and asked her if there was a Tea Party in Nashville. Malkin sent an email back saying, ‘No, why don’t you organize one?’ I did.” The first Tea Party in Nashville was held late February 2009 which drew a crowd of about 600. Judson then organized the Tax Day Tea Party in Nashville, which drew over 10,000 people into downtown. It was at this time that Tea Party Nation was formed. Later that year, Judson decided to bring activists from across the country together, so he organized the first National Tea Party Convention in February 2010, which featured Alaska’s former Governor and Republican Vice Presidential Nominee, Sarah Palin as it’s keynote speaker. He currently manages the Tea Party Nation website, writes several daily columns and is working on more projects than any one person should. He is a frequent guest on cable and broadcast news shows, including on Fox, MSNBC, CNN and others.
  • Tim LeVier

    The logic is there, but putting the judge on the street or even into the situation removes his objectivity. If he’s in a trailer on premises, fine. But if he’s making observations himself, then he’s become Judge Dredd. Judge, Law Enforcement, and Executioner in one fell swoop.