Do these checkpoints and stops violate your Constitutional rights? Some say yes, some say no, and legislators, governors, judges, and lawyers abound on both sides of the argument.
I have mixed opinions on this, but technically, these “safety stops” do violate the Fourth Amendment’s right against unreasonable search and seizure, as the blanket warrants under which these operate fail this clause of the 4th: “no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Strike 1. There’s no probable cause. Driving, even at night, does not constitute probable cause. Abnormally erratic driving constitutes probable cause. Driving in and of itself does not.
Strike 2. There’s no “Oath or affirmation” attesting to probable cause. The oath or affirmation can’t be blanket. It must be tied to a specific event, such as, “I hereby swear or affirm I observed the driver wandering back and forth across multiple lanes of traffic.” That’s not what’s happening at these checkpoints. They are indeed looking for evidence, but there’s the rub – that’s precisely why the 4th Amendment was created, to prevent such encroachments in the first place, “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
Strike 3. There’s no specific description of the place, persons, or things to be seized. SCOTUS upheld specificity requirements in earlier decisions, and have NOT overturned themselves on this count in all subsequent 4th Amendment decisions.
Whether or not driving is a privilege or a right has no bearing on this case. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in your home, your vehicle, or walking down the sidewalk, as the 4th Amendment says you’re to be secure in your persons.
In summary, these DUI checkpoints and “safety stops” fail all three of the 4th Amendment requirements. Furthermore, as all Amendments become a part of the Constitution itself when they’re passed, these stops violate the Constitution. Thus, they violate your Constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure, period.
All the other “privilege” and “safety stop” crap is just that: CRAP. It’s been tossed out there for decades to get around the simple fact these police state thugs are VIOLATING “the supreme Law of the Land.” – U.S. Constitution, Article VI.
All levels of U.S. Law Enforcement need to STOP violating “the supreme Law of the Land.” They need to STOP violating our rights.
We the People need to START doing MORE, not less, to reign in the Constitutionally unlawful police state.