Archive for November 18th, 2004

The DUI Exception?

Thursday, November 18th, 2004

I have referred in many of my posts to a “DUI exception to the Constitution”, and have had numerous queries as to just what exactly this exception is.

There is, of course, no such “exception”. The term is one I have used for many years to characterize the increasing tendency in DUI cases to ignore the United States Constitution. It is easy for politically-sensitive legislators and judges to give in to the pressures of groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), particularly when there is no one to stand up for those whose rights are being violated. But the price is paid not only by the accused, but by all of us: it is the Constitution itself that is eroded. And the nature of our legal system is one of “precedent”: if it is permissible to ignore the Constitution in a DUI case today, then the precedent exists to ignore it in all cases tommorrow.

At some point I began using the term as the title of a lecture I’ve given to various groups of lawyers and laymen on the increasing danger to our Constitutional rights from the political pressures of well-intentioned but ignorant groups like MADD. The lectures have since been reproduced on a number of websites. For an example, see the transcript on Atlanta attorney William C. Head’s website.

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