While everyone can agree that drinking and driving is bad, I think we can also agree that cops may overstep their boundaries when tracking down offenders.
There are questions about the constitutionality of the tactics police use, and the Supreme Court ruled on one today.
The question was whether it was legal for police officers to demand a breath or blood test without obtaining a warrant, and whether you can refuse to consent to one.
The court ruled that warrantless blood tests were illegal, but that breath tests are okay.
From the Associated Press:
The Supreme Court on Thursday placed new limits on state laws that make it a crime for motorists suspected of drunken driving to refuse alcohol tests.
The justices ruled that police must obtain a search warrant before requiring drivers to take blood alcohol tests, but not breath tests, which the court considers less intrusive.
Writing for five justices in the majority, Justice Samuel Alito said breath tests do not implicate “significant privacy concerns.” Unlike blood tests, Alito said breathing into a breathalyzer doesn’t pierce the skin or leave a biological sample in the government’s possession.
In all three cases before the high court, the challengers argued that warrantless searches should be allowed only in “extraordinary circumstances.” They said routine drunk driving stops count as ordinary law enforcement functions where traditional privacy rights should apply.
One of the concerns was that the time it took for police to get a warrant would allow blood alcohol levels to drop, but that was determined to not supersede citizen’s rights to refuse the invasive test without being forced to by a judge.
That said, Bros, don’t drink and drive.