DUI Enforcement Ramps It Up a Notch

This weekend cops in Colorado (and I'm sure elsewhere) resume their 100 day "The Heat is On" campaign to bust drunk drivers.

One police chief outside of Vail has a new plan. He wants to force those stopped to take a blood test. What about our law that says you can choose between breath and blood or choose to refuse (and lose your license) unless there's an accident with serious injuries? He doesn't care. He says his officers will get a search warrant for your blood.

The courts will probably shoot him down. [More...]

As one local lawyer says:

The Colorado legislature... took away the choice to refuse a test in drunken-driving crashes that leave someone badly injured or dead. But legislators didn't impose the same requirement on DUI arrests that don't involve serious crashes.

"There's no constitutional issue here," he said. "But since the legislature has created a structure for certain sanctions to be imposed if you refuse a blood or breath test, it's obvious you have a right to refuse unless there's serious bodily injury or death."

What does the Eagle County DA say?

"Granted," [Mark] Hurlburt said, "expressed consent doesn't specifically spell out that we can get a warrant, but it also doesn't spell out that we can't."

< Susan Boyle Moves On To Finals in Britain's Got Talent | FTC Sues Robocaller >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    {head spins} (none / 0) (#1)
    by nycstray on Sun May 24, 2009 at 10:26:54 PM EST
    I've never had a drivers license and am now working towards one. I had NO freakin' clue there were laws that required you to give a blood test. Breath is one thing, but blood, a whole 'nother issue. Not sure where I fall on the breath on demand as I haven't read up on it, but a freakin' blood test?!

    Question, if blood on demand "wins" and medical records are made electronic, is there a cross reference ability? The reason I ask, is I worry about medical records being centralized online and we the little ones not having an insurance option that prevents discrimination. Sorry, OT I know, but thinking that a police officer could give me a blood test and enter it into a system, etc, really just bothers the H*LL outta me. Along with the fact that they could even demand one for being pulled over on suspicion.

    'suspicion'... (none / 0) (#7)
    by of1000Kings on Mon May 25, 2009 at 01:20:27 AM EST
    like that means anything to a PO...

    suspicion to a PO means I can pull over anyone anytime I want...just ask and PO...


    they can demand all day long, (none / 0) (#2)
    by cpinva on Sun May 24, 2009 at 10:50:34 PM EST
    absent a court order, and the evidence is inadmissable, if they hold you down and force a needle in you, against your will.

    actually, at that point, you might have the legal right to kill any of them, since you could legitimately claim self-defense.

    in FL, you have the legal right to shoot anyone, if you feel threatened by them. presumably, this would include anyone.

    it's nice to know police chiefs in CO don't give two nanny goat sh*ts about the law. it appears the state attorneys don't either.

    I am fairly certain (none / 0) (#3)
    by Steve M on Sun May 24, 2009 at 10:57:33 PM EST
    that the use of deadly force in self-defense requires a reasonable fear for one's own life.  You can't use deadly force to repel a threatened pinprick.

    how do you know that pinprick (none / 0) (#8)
    by of1000Kings on Mon May 25, 2009 at 01:21:49 AM EST
    isn't coated with some deadly disease?

    blanket statements like 'suspicion' works both ways...

    meaning it's all BS


    "The courts will ... shoot him down." (none / 0) (#4)
    by TexasYellowDog on Sun May 24, 2009 at 11:35:38 PM EST
    Texas law states that if a driver refuses to give a sample, "none shall be taken," but mandatory blood-draws backed by search warrants have been upheld by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

                       Dallas Observer

    The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is lead by Sharon "Killer" Keller who closed the doors of the courthouse at 5pm which prevented acceptance of a late appeal leading to the execution of of the appellant.  Hope Colorado has a judiciary with a spine -- or at least a notochord.

    Wait for it... (none / 0) (#5)
    by mcl on Mon May 25, 2009 at 12:11:54 AM EST
    Actually, forced blood tests are nothing new: forced blood draws have been going on for 2 years in Texas.
    However, if you want to see a real crackdown on drunk driving...
    Man arrested for DWI for walking a bicycle in his own front yard
    As you'd expect, the appeals court upheld the guilty verdict.
    Par for the course. Four people face federal prison for handing out leaflets and chalking slogans
    Injustice in Mississippi: double life sentence over $10
    Man dies after 19 stun gun hits by police, jury rules "not excessive force"
    Ho hum. Just another day in the prison-industrial complex.

    Whoops, DWI link blew up (none / 0) (#6)
    by mcl on Mon May 25, 2009 at 12:18:36 AM EST
    Here it is: Man arrested for DWI for walking a bicycle in his own front yard. Convicted. Served 4 days in jail. License suspended for 6 months.

    Dilemma (none / 0) (#9)
    by Lora on Mon May 25, 2009 at 09:31:18 AM EST
    Neither police nor the government is known for their respect for civil rights.

    Drunk drivers are involved in a large percentage of fatal crashes and other accidents.

    People who drive drunk are breaking the law and endangering themselves and everyone around them.

    Breatholyzer tests have a wide percentage of error and results have been thrown out.

    One point made in the linked article is that drivers who drive under a suspended license refuse a breath or blood test because they have already lost their license and there is no incentive for them to cooperate.

    How do we keep drunk drivers off the roads and respect civil rights?

    problem with required blood tests? (none / 0) (#10)
    by diogenes on Mon May 25, 2009 at 07:13:21 PM EST
    What exactly is your problem with chain of custody mandatory blood tests obtained with a warrant?  Anything that takes DWI drivers (or those with high levels of illicit drugs, which breath tests don't pick up) off the road is a good thing, isn't it?