Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Rights & Reason: Driving Without Probable Cause

Blogger Charles Austin discusses his recent experience with a “mandatory sobriety checkpoint” in Northern Virginia. These have become common features of suburbia around the holiday season. They’re also patently unconstitutional, despite the Supreme Court’s willingness to tolerate them. If stopping drivers and forcing them to go through a battery of sobriety tests without any probable cause isn’t a warrantless search in violation of the Fourth Amendment, then banning organizations from running television ads just before an election doesn’t violate...oh, wait, nevermind.

Eric McErlain, commenting on Austin’s situation, points out that in Virginia, the cops aren’t just out for drunk drivers, but for social drinkers as well:
Unfortunately for those of us who live in the Reston-Herndon area of Fairfax County, the sobriety checkpoint isn't all. Last Holiday season, police officers in both municipalities began crusing [sic] through local bars to administer breath tests and charge bar patrons with public drunkeness. Mind you, individuals weren't targetted [sic] for arrest if there [sic] were disruptive out on the street, the police simply walked into local bars and hauled people off their stools to be tested -- something I found to be a bit extreme.
Radley Balko, Cato’s point man on neo-prohibitionism, adds that Mothers Against Drunk Driving, as prominent a lobby as they come, wants all social drinking and driving outlawed. Meaning one beer could get you arrested. In other words, MADD doesn’t want anyone drinking at all for any reason. This makes me wonder if MADD has become a “sleeper cell” in John Banzhaf’s terrorist organization.

No comments: