“The DUI Exception to the Constitution”

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on October 16th, 2004

This website is about the other side of the story….

For years we have heard about the “slaughter on the nation’s highways”, read tragic stories of promising lives cut short by drunk drivers. Pressure groups such as MADD have been wildly successful in fomenting public hysteria and, with no politican daring to oppose them, pushing through ever stricter DUI laws and harsher punishments. As a result, we are repeatedly assured, the number of “alcohol related” traffic fatalities continues to drop dramatically.

I am a lawyer. I defend those accused of driving under the influence. I see the other side of the story every day.

I see the politicans stumbling over themselves to prove who is the toughest on drunk driving. I see the judges nervously watching members of MADD in the audience as they pass sentence in a DUI case. I see the the slow erosion of our Constitutional rights in DUI cases — a phenomenon that has come to be known as “the DUI exception to the Constitution”: illegal DUI sobriety checkpoints, forceful and violent seizure of blood, no right to see a lawyer, double jeopardy, denial of the right to jury trial, presumptions of guilt, defective breath tests blindly accepted into evidence, scientific facts banned by law from the courtroom, routine violations of due process and basic fairness in trial….all because “the ends justify the means”.

But there is a cost to this perversion of the American system of justice. There are unseen victims: you and I. I would like to talk about that. And I invite your comments….

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