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Government Transportation United States

'No Refusal' DUI Checkpoints Coming To Florida? 1219

Posted by timothy
from the ends-justify-the-means dept.
schwit1 writes "With New Year's Eve only days away, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration expects this to be one of the deadliest weeks of the year on the roads. But now a new weapon is being used in the fight against drunk driving. ... Florida is among several states now holding what are called 'no refusal' checkpoints. It means if you refuse a breath test during a traffic stop, a judge is on site, and issues a warrant that allows police to perform a mandatory blood test."
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'No Refusal' DUI Checkpoints Coming To Florida?

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  • by DWMorse (1816016) on Friday December 31, 2010 @08:08PM (#34726150) Homepage

    I was under the impression that a refusal to take a breathalyzer in most states landed you in jail until your blood was drawn. That's how it is here in MN.

    I just don't understand any legitimate concern to decline a breathalyzer test. It's non-invasive and it's not like it's a cheek swap DNA test. But I bet that no drop of blood goes to waste once they draw that...

    • by geminidomino (614729) on Friday December 31, 2010 @08:12PM (#34726192) Journal

      In Florida, refusal to take the breath test means your license is automatically suspended (or revoked? one of them), but, beyond that, refusal cannot be used as evidence against you. So you still can't drive anymore, but you might escape the DUI conviction.

      • by CaroKann (795685)
        In most parts of the USA, having your license suspended or revoked is almost the same as house arrest.
    • by natehoy (1608657) on Friday December 31, 2010 @08:14PM (#34726220) Journal

      I suspect people refuse the breath test to buy time. It'll take a half hour to drag you to the police station, and maybe longer to get the blood test arranged, and by then your blood alcohol level might be lower?

      Dunno. Never had to worry about it. I have enough money to afford a cab if it ever came down to it, and I stay home on drinking occasions like New Years to avoid the drunks.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 31, 2010 @08:15PM (#34726232)

      I just don't understand any legitimate concern to decline a breathalyzer test.

      You mean the fact that it's an error prone test, that can draw false positives due to diabetes, low-carb dieting, and various non-intoxicated metabolic states, along with the fact that once the test is completed, the results can't easily be challenged and shown to be false, since there is no blood sample with which to do further testing.

      Yeah, sounds great, I'll do a breath test anytime. There is absolutely no benefit whatsoever to my compliance with what I consider an unreasonable demand, due to the inherent unreliability and non-repeatability.

    • by borcharc (56372) * on Friday December 31, 2010 @08:16PM (#34726246)

      I was under the impression that a refusal to take a breathalyzer in most states landed you in jail until your blood was drawn. That's how it is here in MN.

      In Minnesota it is a separate crime to refuse to a blood, urine, or intoxilyzer 5000 test after being read the implied consent advisory. This is almost exclusively done at a place of detention. If you give them the finger they charge you with refusing to take the test. They can not forcibly take blood without a warrant unless there is an accident involving a fatality (or one of the other few exceptions). Minnesota law says if the test is lawfully refused then a test must not be given. IANAL but i suspect they would have to adjust this statute in order to force blood draws on people who refused, at least in Minnesota.

      See MN SS 159A.51 and 169A.52 https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169A.51 [mn.gov] & https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169A.52 [mn.gov]

    • by big_debacle (413628) on Friday December 31, 2010 @08:17PM (#34726252)

      I believe the difference is that by the time you're facing a breathalyzer--which as you point out, there are penalties for refusing--you've committed some sort of violation. At that point, you're interacting with the police and if they have reason to believe you are under the influence--either due to the previously cited violation or via observable signs (smell of alcohol, slurring of words, etc.)--they can begin the series of tests to confirm their suspicions.

      In this case, you're just pulled over and and checked for no valid reason other than everyone is being checked.

      Is now when we drag out the "If you haven't done anything wrong, what do you have to worry about" line?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by quenda (644621)

      Thats how it is in most of the world. Not jail maybe, but you get arrested for the purpose of getting a blood test if you refuse a breath test. Same if you fail the roadside breath test, you can be arrested long enough to get a more reliable test. That doesn't necessarily mean being charged on the spot or jail, unless you have a very high reading. It could mean a summons in the post.
      Having a magistrate on site seems an awkward way to do things.
      Florida is a state right? They get to pass their own laws? Why

    • by shaitand (626655) on Friday December 31, 2010 @08:35PM (#34726416) Journal

      "I just don't understand any legitimate concern to decline a breathalyzer test."

      The same reason you should refuse to provide the police with any information. False positives.

    • by wiredlogic (135348) on Friday December 31, 2010 @09:29PM (#34726922)

      I just don't understand any legitimate concern to decline a breathalyzer test.

      The government loves uninformed sheep like yourself.

      Breathalyzers do NOT measure blood alcohol content. Instead, they use a chemical reaction as a proxy that is not specifically sensitive to just ethanol. It is possible to trigger false positives with certain foods. On top of that there is no accounting for different body sizes and metabolic rates and any host of other biological variables. There is no possible way to derive an accurate measurement using these instruments.

      The industry and the courts want the public to stay in the dark on this issue because it is a convenient expedient to convicting drunks. Some countries have tried to dodge the issue by classifying intoxication by breath alcohol content but these machines can't even measure that with verifiable accuracy across the general population.

      If a cop asks you to take a breathalyzer test you should ask to see the calibration sticker. No up to date cal, no good. Then ask him to explain how the device works, in detail. His ignorance of the device will be important should you end up in court over the issue.

    • by nedlohs (1335013) on Friday December 31, 2010 @10:31PM (#34727380)

      Why would you want to give the police anything when they are trying to find something to put you in prison for?

      It's no different than refusing their request to search your car, or their request to search your house, or their request to enter your house, or to talk them without a lawyer.

      It doesn't matter if you think you have done nothing wrong. You might be ignorant of a law you have broken, there might be a mistake, etc.

  • Penalty? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Albanach (527650) on Friday December 31, 2010 @08:09PM (#34726158) Homepage

    At least in some states they need to consider the penalties for DUI. In many, drivers will be fined as little as $250 and be allowed to continue driving on a restricted license. DUI should result in a minimum one year total ban and a requirement to resit your test. There is no excuse for such behaviour.

    Many other countries have made drink driving socially unacceotable. That status is long overdue in the US.

    • Re:Penalty? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by KiloByte (825081) on Friday December 31, 2010 @08:51PM (#34726556)

      Around here, there is quite a lot of popular support for lifetime driving bans for the first offense. This might be an overkill, but I'd support that for 2nd one.

      I'm quite shocked by the US where they catch a drunken bozo for the 5th time in a month and he still is allowed to drive to work and back.

      • Re:Penalty? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Seumas (6865) on Friday December 31, 2010 @11:49PM (#34727848)

        Sounds perfect, to me. I'm tired of treating driving like some sort of god-given right that we only take away from you in the absolute most dire circumstance. Convicted of driving drunk? Never drive again. Caught driving after a life time ban? Serve time in prison (maybe a year - five if you're doing it drunk). It's pretty easy to avoid losing your right to drive. You know, by just not drinking and driving.

        People would be pissed as hell if, say, their doctor was caught performing surgery while drunk. Slap him on the wrist and send him right back into the surgery room. A second time. A third. A fifth. A twelfth.

        For that matter, I'd like to see more attention given to proper driving *period*. Your car isn't your living room or your office. People always say things like "well, if I can't use my cell phone in a car, should I just not be allowed to have conversations, either -- since that's proven to be just as distracting?".

        YES. Fucking hell YES. You are behind the wheel of a three ton 80mph fucking DEATH MACHINE. You shouldn't be eating, drinking, playing with your radio, reading, disciplining your kids, doing office work, making calls, texting, or any fucking other things. If that's too much to ask of people, they need to hire a fucking driver, walk/bike, take a taxi, or hop on a bus.

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      At least in some states they need to consider the penalties for DUI. In many, drivers will be fined as little as $250 and be allowed to continue driving on a restricted license. DUI should result in a minimum one year total ban and a requirement to resit your test. There is no excuse for such behaviour.

      Many other countries have made drink driving socially unacceotable. That status is long overdue in the US.

      Well, 0.08 is pretty much standard now, and while I don't think people should be driving at that amount, there are many medications that people take that make them just as dangerous behind a wheel and yet that is legal. Why is alcohol singled out?

      Also, in most states, you have to get special insurance if you've had a DWI/DUI and it is a lot more than a small fine. On top of that, almost all states suspend your license, many upto a year. However, they do issue a hardship license so you can go to work. Un

  • Bad Idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FCAdcock (531678) on Friday December 31, 2010 @08:11PM (#34726184) Homepage Journal

    1: I don't know where you are, but New Years isn't "days away" here... It's here now.

    2: Doesn't Florida fall under the same constitution as the rest of the US? Refusing to take a brethalyzer test is a constitutional right under the 5th amendment, and as much as I'd like to see all drunk drivers charged with attempted murder, I don't see how a judge can issue a warrant without evidence simply because someone exercises their rights. Two wrongs do not make a right in this case for sure.

    • Re:Bad Idea (Score:5, Interesting)

      by v1 (525388) on Friday December 31, 2010 @08:30PM (#34726352) Homepage Journal

      it does sound like the judge is using your refusal to take the test as probable cause to issue a warrant.

      Sounds like a 4th amendment issue. "We don't have probable cause, so we can't get a warrant. MAY we search your house?" "NO you may not." "OK then, your refusal to allow us to search gives us probable cause to believe you're hiding something illegal. Now that we have probable cause, here's the warrant. Step aside."

      The 4th amendment is specifically worded to prevent that sort of abuse. (before this, in England, probable cause was "required", but refusal WAS probable cause in the law's eyes, so it didn't matter) I don't see why simply having a judge on site changes anything. Actually I don't see why they can even do that do you once they haul you off to jail for refusal. It probably comes back to your agreeing to the test as a condition for receiving your state-issued drivers' license?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Wrath0fb0b (302444)

      I don't see how a judge can issue a warrant without evidence simply because someone exercises their rights.

      It's not. On the other hand, upon sworn testimony from an officer that he observed multiple objective indicia of drunkenness (e.g. slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, smell of booze), a judge might conclude that it is more probable than not that you committed the crime of DUI.

      That's been the standard for judging warrants since time immemorial -- the police gather evidence, they submit an sworn affidavit summarizing their evidence, the judge determines whether the materials in the affidavit suffice to establish

  • by olsmeister (1488789) on Friday December 31, 2010 @08:15PM (#34726222)
    And the problem is, all politicians are too big of pussies to rein them in. Their eventual goal is 0% legal BAC and probably after that, a complete prohibition on alcohol at all. And you know what? I think they'll eventually get it. Baby steps. It's been going on for decades.

    No, I don't condone drunk driving. I'm sorry people get hurt and die. But at some point, you have to stand up and say, I think our system is OK as-is.

    Why not just force them to take the damn breathalyzer rather than jabbing them with a needle? Do they have an RN there for that, or does Barney Fife take a crack at it?
  • RIP Constitution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by martas (1439879) on Friday December 31, 2010 @08:17PM (#34726250)
    my sig depressingly relevant, again
    • by John3 (85454)

      I was fascinated by that guys speech until he said:

      "You saw what happened to Galileo. The government, for saying such things, based on SCIENCE, executed him."

      Fail

  • by Stavros_Oz (1702104) on Friday December 31, 2010 @08:44PM (#34726488)
    Do it the way we have been successfully doing it here in Victoria, Australia for over two decades. Random breath testing, either preliminary testing performed by ANY cop doing ANY stop using a hand held device, or process an entire stream of traffic using one of thirty-odd 'booze buses', each equipped with several cops who breath test everybody, AND can also perform the second stage (analytical) breath test on site (in the specially equipped bus). Yeah, you CAN refuse a breath test, that's easy, but you're then charged with refusing to take a breath test which carries the same penalty as if you blew the end off the range!! No we don't enforce 'mandatory taking of blood', after all that would be considered a deprivation of a citizen's rights in some enlightened cultures. But refusal = guilty, it's your choice!! Also for the past few years the booze buses are being converted to booze/drugs buses and a saliva test is used to check drivers for cannabis or amphetamine use. Some may scream of invasion of privacy, but the statistics clearly reflect the good that is done by this initiative. Road fatalities have fallen by 2/3!!! Injuries have fallen a similar amount. Stavros_Oz, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Friday December 31, 2010 @09:08PM (#34726730)

    In Missouri, if you refuse the breath test, you are automatically guilty of a DWI, regardless of your blood alcohol. However, you do have a right to talk to your attorney before taking the test.

  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Friday December 31, 2010 @09:16PM (#34726788)

    If there were a better alternative, I'd go there.

    The trained drunks are really good at basic baseline driving. It is REALLY hard to catch them.

    But give the trained drunk one glitch in his driving situation--one unexpected thing--and that sorry bastard becomes a KILLER.

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