Drunken-driving convictions could increase because of the Supreme Court's recent ruling
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that police officers could administer warrantless Breathalyzer tests to people suspected of driving drunk.
The case, Birchfield v. North Dakota, effectively criminalizes the refusal to submit to a Breathalyzer test and affects laws in 11 states.
The outcome will most likely lead to an increase in drunken-driving convictions across the country, according to Derek Andrews, a defense attorney at the DUI Foundation, the organization linked to the viral "silent" drunken-driving checkpoint hack.
The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, though laws vary by state. Many lawyers openly encourage their clients to refuse a Breathalyzer because prosecutors have a harder time landing convictions with less evidence. Depending on the probable cause, refusing to take a pre-arrest Breathalyzer likely won't result in a license suspension, but in many states, like New York, refusing a post-arrest Breathalyzer could lead to automatic license suspension of varying durations.
With the Supreme Court's decision, however, there could be "an increase in the number of chemical test results," Andrews wrote in an email to Business Insider. People might be more likely to submit for fear of the certain legal repercussions. Chemical tests can be a Breathalyzer, blood draw, or even a urine sample.
To put it simply, more people submitting to Breathalyzer tests means that states and prosecutors will have greater evidence against them.
While a state should be able to ask for a warrantless Breathalyzer test, and even a blood draw, states should not be able to criminalize the refusal of the test, according to Andrews.
"It is a fundamental premise of our criminal justice system that it is the government's burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone is guilty of a crime, and it is the government's duty to collect evidence and develop a case," Andrews wrote. "It is not, however, a person's duty to give that evidence to the government."
Issuing criminal penalties, however, could also encourage people to refuse a Breathalyzer.
"This country is simply going to have more criminals because the government has chosen to criminalize a refusal to provide (potentially) incriminating evidence to law enforcement," Andrews wrote. ".... There are other ways of combating DWI/DUI than convicting more people of crimes."
It's worth nothing the Supreme Court differentiated between Breathalyzer tests and blood tests, arguing that because blood draws are more intrusive, states may not demand them without a warrant.
The decision combines three cases but centers on an incident in North Dakota, in which a man, after crashing his car, took a Breathalyzer which found his blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) at three times the legal limit. He didn't, however, agree to a blood draw was charged with a misdemeanor.
While Justice Sonia Sotomayor sided with the majority's opinion on warrantless blood tests, she took issue with the Court "establishing exceptions to the warrant requirement" and suggested that states should find other ways to combat drunk driving that "do not have the same impact on personal privacy" as allowing warrantless Breathalyzer tests.
Andrews, for his part, agrees.
"The Fourth Amendment is being attacked and our freedoms in this country are being whittled away," he wrote.http://www.aol.com/article/2016/06/29/drunk-driving-dui-increase-supreme-court-ruling/21421482/
if you get busted for a dui, and get your license back on a hardship deal, or a couple of other issues, the state puts a box in your car that you have to blow in or the vehicle will not start...
The Real White Dog
if you can't catch a fish...catch a buzz....
#12976, joined 8-17-2002
No way. They could easily have done that 10 years ago.
Cuts out too much revenues from the stream flowing through the LEO depts, courts, and prison vendors.
My co-worker had one for a while. Think it took 3 DUIs before they installed it. He doesn't drink anymore. Thankfully he never wrecked anyone.
I saw somewhere where they were already testing sensors in the steering wheel to sense alcohol thru the skin.... Give it a while before it's law in new cars IMHO.
And yes, DUIs are a huge cash grab for agencies, lawyers, and govts. Doubt they will want to end that anytime soon.
For the cash flow to courts and PDs alone, I'd think that they wouldn't be all that thrilled to see breathalyzers as standard equipment in vehicles. A few hundred $$$ here and a few hundred $$$ there, and eventually it adds up to lots of cash and new toys for the PDs and the courts.
Good just like the 1984 book, comes from the factory for everyone and if you fail sucker drives you home albeit slowly.
My wife was killed by a drunk driver, she was sitting still at a red light and got T-boned, I see people at restaurants drinking all the time then just drive home, really bothers me.