Supreme Court questions drunk driving laws in 12 states; Refusing alcohol test considered criminal offense?
Apr 22, 2016 09:56 PM EDT
The Supreme Court questioned on Wednesday the drunken driving laws in 12 states. It expressed doubt whether the crime of refusing to take an alcohol test violates the constitutional right of the person. Judges try to reach middle ground but majority are leaning against the states.
According to Fox News, the high court heard the arguments pertaining to three cases in Minnesota and North Dakota pertaining to laws that criminalize a suspected driver who refuse to take an alcohol test through blood, breath, or urine. The drivers prosecuted that the laws violate their rights on unreasonable searches and seizures.
The judges suggested that obtaining a warrant could serve as middle ground between the police and the drivers. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Justice Anthony Kennedy stated that the states are "asking for an extraordinary exception here," as they are being asked to make it a crime what others view as a constitutional right.
It was proposed that if the state secures a warrant and the driver refuses to cooperate then an obstruction of justice punishment could be given. The "implied consent" laws imposed in North Dakota and Minnesota cases were also taken into consideration.
However, large focus was given on how the warrants would be obtained. The state lawyers argued that the approval of the warrants could take time, but had difficulty in responding when justices suggested that warrants are easy to obtain in most places.
According to USA Today, solicitor general Ian Gershengorn also argued that magistrates and judges are not always available round the clock to tend to issue warrants. Thus, some judges suggested that a breath test could be done instead as it can be considered as a less invasive search on an individual.
Chief Justice John Roberts shared his queries why drunk driving is given more special considerations when individuals' cellular phones cannot be searched without a warrant in a case of suspected texting while driving. A decision on the cases are yet to be made in June.