Thursday, December 10, 2009

Missouri seeks to criminalize breath test refusals

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has decided that the Fourth and Fifth Amendments should not apply to drivers accused of DWI. Gov. Nixon has proposed making it a criminal offense for a motorist to refuse a blood alcohol test. Currently under Missouri law a motorist can have his driver's license suspended for up to a year for refusing a test.

Nevermind that the number of alcohol-related crashes in Missouri fell from 7,780 in 2007 to 7,373 in 2008. Forget that the number of injuries in alcohol-related crashes from from 4,889 in 2007 to 4,511 in 2008. While the number of fatalities in those accidents rose from 243 in 2007 to 262 in 2008, an alcohol-related crash is any crash in which any person involved (drivers or passengers) consumed alcohol.

Criminalizing blood test refusals would make our protection against self-incrimination meaningless once we get behind the wheel of a car. It's also pointless considering there are any number of judges across this country who will blindly sign a blood warrant presented by a police officer - regardless of whether or not the officer can demonstrate probable cause existed for the arrest.

Suspected drunk drivers are treated differently than just about any other person accused of a crime because they are an easy target for politicians whoring themselves out for votes. By allowing lawmakers to make a joke of the Constitution in DWI cases, we are slowly but surely allowing them to narrow our rights in general.