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DUI Check Point Constitutionality.

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by sunflower, Feb 23, 2012.

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  1. Feb 23, 2012 at 7:21 PM
    #1
    sunflower

    sunflower [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Due to the other thread which was mainly about a video of a man in a check point, this thread should be specifically about the constitutionality of DUI check points in America and the rights of motorists entering the check points.

    In Michigan vs Sitz, the US Supreme Court ruled that fixed DUI check points were in fact constitutional.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigan_Dept._of_State_Police_v._Sitz

    However, many people think that since the court ruled the check points constitutional that citizen motorists thereby forfeit ALL constitutional rights when they enter the check point.

    This is not true.

    A perfect example of this is the video showing the motorist refusing to answer a police officers question. This is due to the 5th Amend .....

    "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

    In writing the majority opinion in favor of the constitutionality of fixed DUI check points, Chief Justice Rehnquist said " It is important to recognize what our inquiry is not about. No allegations are before us of unreasonable treatment of any person after an actual detention at a particular checkpoint. See Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U.S. at 559 ("claim that a particular exercise of discretion in locating or operating a checkpoint is unreasonable is subject to post-stop judicial review"). As pursued in the lower courts, the instant action challenges only the use of sobriety checkpoints generally. We address only the initial stop of each motorist passing through a checkpoint and the associated prelimary observation [p451] by checkpoint officers. Detention of particular motorists for more extensive field sobriety testing may require satisfaction of an individualized suspicion standard. Id. at 567.

    This is the most important part of the ruling. Simply put, it means police CAN set up a check point to stop motorists and they CAN question them. However, motorists are allowed to invoke their 4th Amendment rights and their 5th Amendment rights.


    I think a healthy debate on constitutionality is great.
     
  2. Feb 23, 2012 at 7:27 PM
    #2
    jtav2002

    jtav2002 Kenny Fuckin Powers

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    If youre not drunk youre not being a witness against yourself and therefore should just answer and be on your way and not waste the officers, fellow motorists, and your own time. If youre drunk then thats different. But thats a whole seperate issue of why youre on the to begin with.
     
  3. Feb 23, 2012 at 7:32 PM
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    SlurpeeBlueMetallic

    SlurpeeBlueMetallic FFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU...

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    In praise of your Fifth Amendment right to not be a witness against youself.

    Granted, this is taking it a bit far just for a DUI checkpoint. But if the observation/questions go beyond looking at me or asking for ID/insurance then I'm generally not in the mood to be very talkative. I have nothing to hide but we're all human and it's too easy to make mistakes that can ruin your life.

    If you watch the video, be sure to catch the second half which is presented by a VA Beach police officer.
     
  4. Feb 23, 2012 at 7:34 PM
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    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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  5. Feb 23, 2012 at 7:36 PM
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    707tothe907

    707tothe907 Superior Member

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    And if you're such a great citizen that you exercise these rights in a check point, the police will just pull you over a block down the road and give you a ticket for any minor thing you did just for pissing them off.
     
  6. Feb 23, 2012 at 7:38 PM
    #6
    JimBeam

    JimBeam BECAUSE INTERNETS!! Moderator

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    o rly?
     
  7. Feb 23, 2012 at 7:39 PM
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    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    Kids....this is why you dont do drugs.....
     
  8. Feb 23, 2012 at 7:41 PM
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    sunflower

    sunflower [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Well, I think that is a flawed argument. See, I remain silent BECAUSE I am innocent. Its because I did nothing wrong that I feel the police dont have a right to information about my personal life.
     
  9. Feb 23, 2012 at 7:44 PM
    #9
    carcharias

    carcharias Giggiddy what what

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    I just asked the deputies I'm rolling with now abt that video. Seems in FL officers have the right to detain you for up to 3 hours without reason.
     
  10. Feb 23, 2012 at 7:46 PM
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    sunflower

    sunflower [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I have a great video I made of a DUI check point in Los Angeles. The police set up their check point with a side street about 50 yards before the stoping point. When a motorist would legally turn off there to avoid the check point the police would pull them over.

    I shot video of this and presented it to the police department and to the California DOJ. Guess what, the next time they had their check point there the cops didnt pull people over for turning off.
     
  11. Feb 23, 2012 at 7:46 PM
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    JimBeam

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    I don't see how that's ok

    3 hours without reason by and large is a violation of the 4th amendment
     
  12. Feb 23, 2012 at 7:47 PM
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    SlurpeeBlueMetallic

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    No worries, but I'm still not inclined to chat other than about the weather. I would ask to speak to my attorney and keep my trap shut.

    I suspect some sort of reason would present itself. 3 hours is probably a technical violation but likely not enough for 99.99% of folks to chase it down via the legal system. If I was detained I'll give the benefit of the doubt that the officer had some sort of reason, but I'm still not going to be chatty.
     
  13. Feb 23, 2012 at 7:52 PM
    #13
    sunflower

    sunflower [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Nope. Not true. Law enforcement can not detain someone for any amount of time for "no reason".

    This may give you some guidance about "terry" stops.....

    Police are often taught that a Terry stop can last as long as an active and diligent investigation reasonably requires. While there is some truth in that, a Terry stop cannot last forever. A point comes when the suspect must be arrested or released.

    Reasonable suspicion authorizes the police to detain a suspect while they investigate the relevant suspicious circumstances. This detention, called a Terry stop, is a form of seizure and is thus governed by the Fourth Amendment. If a Terry stop lasts too long, courts will rule that an arrest has occurred, which of course requires the higher standard of probable cause.

    If a Terry stop lasts so long that it becomes an arrest, and the police lack probable cause to justify the arrest, then it is an unreasonable seizure, which will result in suppression of evidence (and potential civil liability). So, how long is too long for a Terry stop?

    The touchstone of the Fourth Amendment is “reasonableness.” Specifically, it prohibits “unreasonable searches and seizures.” In Terry v. Ohio, the United States Supreme Court interpreted the Fourth Amendment to permit something less than an arrest—a temporary investigative detention—in situations where the police have “reasonable suspicion” that crime is “afoot.”

    This lesser form of seizure, known as a Terry stop, is permitted when police encounter facts and circumstances that meet the lesser standard of “reasonable suspicion.” But in order for a Terry stop to comply with the “reasonableness” requirement of the Fourth Amendment, it must be limited in scope and duration.

    A Terry stop either progresses to probable cause to arrest, or it fails to develop into probable cause and requires the release of the suspect. During this period of investigative detention, police have a duty to affirmatively pursue the investigation to determine which course of action is appropriate—arrest or release. An investigative detention must be brief. It is limited to the time that is necessary under those particular circumstances to achieve the purpose of the stop.

    The answer to how long a Terry stop is permitted to last is determined by two factors: the purpose of the stop and what is necessary for the police to achieve that purpose. As information develops, the situation may justify prolonging the detention, but if an explanation readily dispels the suspicion, then the police must promptly release the suspect.

    Most investigative detentions can be, and are thus required to be, resolved in a measure of minutes, not hours. In United States v. Place, the Supreme Court said, “Although we decline to adopt any outside time limitation for a permissible Terry stop, we have never approved a seizure of the person for the prolonged 90-minute period involved here and cannot do so on the facts presented by this case,” and, “In assessing the effect of the length of the detention, we take into account whether the police diligently pursue their investigation.”

    In this case, the police failed to act fast enough with the information they had. A suspect believed to be carrying drugs was known to be arriving at an airport on a particular flight, but the police made no arrangements prior to his arrival. When the suspect arrived, he declined to give consent to search. The police then detained his luggage, which they reasonably suspected contained narcotics, and took it to another airport where a narcotics dog sniffed the luggage and established probable cause.

    The Court noted that limitations applicable to investigative detentions of suspects are also applicable to investigative detentions of their luggage. The Court determined that the initial detention of the luggage was permissible, but the 90-minute period was unreasonable under these circumstances.

    Under other circumstances, even a short detention may exceed the limitations of a Terry stop. For example, detaining a pedestrian beyond the time that was necessary to write a ticket, for the purpose of checking for arrest warrants based on an unsubstantiated hunch, has been found to be an unreasonable extension of the Terry stop, and thus an unreasonable seizure.

    Traffic stops are also analogous to Terry stops and must not be prolonged unnecessarily. A stop that is lawful at its inception can violate the Fourth Amendment if it exceeds a reasonable period that is necessary to accomplish the purpose of the stop. See, for example, Illinois v. Caballes.

    In Caballes, the Supreme Court found that walking a narcotics dog around a vehicle during a traffic stop was not a search and was permissible as long as the stop was not extended for that purpose, even where there were no articulable facts to suggest drug activity. The purpose of the stop was traffic enforcement, and the stop was not extended beyond the time that was necessary for normal questioning and interaction associated with a traffic stop.

    However, “a seizure that is justified solely by the interest in issuing a warning ticket to the driver can become unlawful if it is prolonged beyond the time reasonably required to complete that mission.” If police detain a driver for the purpose of bringing a narcotics dog to the scene where there is no evidence of drug activity, even a brief extension of the traffic stop is unacceptable.

    A Terry stop, even if initially justified, may lose its acceptability over time. The Supreme Court is unlikely to ever announce a specific time limit for Terry stops because the very nature of them requires that question to be answered on a case-by-case basis. Particular circumstances involving a serious case may justify a prolonged detention, whereas a less serious situation would only justify a short detention.

    A 90-minute stop may be acceptable if a serious police investigation is progressing, the police are acting with diligence and the additional time is likely to reveal information that will resolve the situation. However, 90 minutes is a long time to detain a suspect under the reasonable suspicion standard and will only be justified in compelling circumstances.

    Even in serious cases where investigation is progressing toward probable cause, it is unlikely that the Supreme Court would approve of an all-day Terry stop. A rule of thumb might be that the duration of an investigative detention should normally be measured in minutes, not hours—though in a serious case where circumstances required it, 75 minutes might be reasonable.
     
  14. Feb 23, 2012 at 7:56 PM
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    carcharias

    carcharias Giggiddy what what

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    Obstructing justice, maybe? I'll ask again tomorrow.
     
  15. Feb 23, 2012 at 7:57 PM
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    Man of War

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    I believe in Check Points.... and Constitutional rights. The officers are professionals and can tell the difference between people challenging their rights, and those who are drunk.
    I say yes to challenging your rights, but don't be a bitch when you get rolled up for DWI.:D
     
  16. Feb 23, 2012 at 7:58 PM
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    jtav2002

    jtav2002 Kenny Fuckin Powers

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    For me its just the situation. Its a simple question that can be answered with a no sir and id rather not draw extra attention to myself over that. Now you make it a different situation where say they ask if they can search my vehicle for no reason then id have a problem. I just personally dont feel my rights are being violated by one question to conclude whether or not im gonna end up running over a bunch of pedestrians down the street because im plastered.
     
  17. Feb 23, 2012 at 8:06 PM
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    sunflower

    sunflower [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I have never been through a check point where it was just one question. In fact, the official training given to police for check points instructs them to ask multiple questions about various topics.
     
  18. Feb 23, 2012 at 8:08 PM
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    JimBeam

    JimBeam BECAUSE INTERNETS!! Moderator

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    No

    A 3 hour detainment typically is of a length that the person being detained will believe they are under arrest, and without probable cause for an arrest...it's a violation of the 4th amendment

    Which typically will equal a civil court case against the officer(s) and department
     
  19. Feb 23, 2012 at 8:09 PM
    #19
    JimBeam

    JimBeam BECAUSE INTERNETS!! Moderator

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    official training for check points?

    or official training for advanced dui detection?

    **EDIT**

    My bad...some quick googling revealed that other states do actually have checkpoint training

    I have no clue what is taught though
     
  20. Feb 23, 2012 at 8:11 PM
    #20
    sunflower

    sunflower [OP] Well-Known Member

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