Is the practice of random breath testing by the police an invasion of an individual's privacy and classifiable as an unreasonable search?
If there is no supporting evidence that a person is under the influence of alcohol, they should not be subjected to a breath test. If the police are given the authority to administer breath tests at their own discretion, it is possible that certain people may be singled out unfairly for a test simply because of their race or other personal attributes.
Police should not be able to randomly give people a breath test. If they have no proof or reason to do it, they shouldn't have the right to do it. If a cop randomly asked me to do a breath test for no reason at all, I would say to him "Okay, but first give yourself a breath test." It may sound rude, but that is pretty much what he/she is doing to me! However, if the police have a reason for a breath test that is okay. Only if there is no reason at all, police shouldn't be able to perform random breath tests.
I am a firm believer in that every person has their own space. And I, for one, do not like people to come within a few feet from me. I feel that when they encroach in this area, they are invading my personal space, and I really get upset and ask them to back away from me. I would be really upset if a police officer approached me and asked me to breath into his face. Excuse my French, but I would probably tell him to kiss my ass. I just feel that it is wrong for anybody, especially a police officer, to encroach close enough to make me feel uncomfortable.
For police, protecting others from dangerous drivers would mean pulling people over who are driving erratically. They could check that by following people for a while. If people aren't driving erratically, it's unlawful detention and a warrantless search and makes it easier for more intrusive searches to happen eg hands on crotches at airports and soon at train stations, coach terminals etc. It always starts when we accept small intrusions.
I would always have said the police need to do their jobs, random breath testing acts as a deterant, if youve nothing to hide it shouldnt be an issue..... until this morning. I was on the road at 5am driving my 5 yo son to hospital as he was unwell and just as we were approaching the hospital I and another car were pulled over. I have always stuck up for the police, but this PC brought me down to nothing, asked me if i was freinds with the other driver, told me i took that corner a bit fast (i had checked as i took the corner i was under the speed limit - in fact i slowed way down for the corner) asked me all kind of questions i explained i was taking my son to hospital and we were to be there in ten minutes. He said he would require a specimen took my details etc. i felt like a criminal. his attitude was so hostile then he came and said something else to me like 'alright there' and i said no not really ive been up all night and my child is sick - promptly burst into tears and he let me go - thankfully.
but i will never forget how i was made to feel - so my advice is wait till it happens to you then make up your mind whether its okay for them to randomly test folk.
Allowing random breath tests seem harmless. Only the people that are drunk would be punished. But there is a slippery slope problem. How far should law enforcement be allowed to go in conducting tests on people to see if they have violated a law? Should there be random urine tests to see if someone has used an illegal drug in the past few weeks? It seems to be going too far.
Detaining a driver who is driving safely is a violation of his liberty. Requiring him to blow into a bag is an invasion of his privacy. Sticking a needle in his arm is a serious assault. All are indicators of an authoritarian police state. What next? Random house searches looking for contraband?
Before long the police will be able to barge in our homes any time they want and search our belongings for whatever they can find that will incriminate us. In fact a breath test forces self incrimination. Any time there is an accident it would not be unreasonable for officers to insist on a breath test. In other cases where a person is being pulled over for a broken tail light or some other minor offense, asking for a breath test goes beyond the scope of reasonable cause.
If someone has been pulled over after driving erratically and there is a suspicion that they are intoxicated then a breath test makes sense. But random testing, I'm assuming of drivers, is not warranted and should constitute an unreasonable search. This is a total invasion of privacy, total inconvenience to the individual and must certainly be unconstitutional.
Driving is a privilege, not a right. If you violate the terms and conditions of holding a drivers license then you should be held accountable for your actions. If a person is pulled over and asked to do a breathalyzer, they have no reason to deny it if they have nothing to hide. And if they do have something to hide they obviously should not have the right to drive.
The police aren't going to go around testing people's breath for no good reason. Let's say the system was abused. What's going to happen? Drunks will be found and those who aren't drunk will face no consequences. It's pretty easy to smell alcohol on a person's breath. Does smelling around their personal space constitute invasion of privacy? Of course not. This way the police can have proof and it protects not only the police but the person tested.
This whole idea is being pushed, once again, by MADD. In my opinion they have become nothing more then a neo-prohibitionist group out to simply justify their own existance. In 1985, their original founder, Candy Leitner of California, cut all ties with them saying "".. MADD has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned... I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving". To be flip, they are a bit like Don Cherry. We've heard your agenda, you've pushed your ideas and now there's nothing left to do but push the boundaries so you can stay relevant. Otherwise the multi-millions in slaries stop. To me, the thought of some cop forcing me to take a breathalyzer when I know that he/she drinks more then I do ( since I don't drink at all) is beyond frustrating!
Yes, the practice of random breath testing by police is an invasion of an individuals privacy and should be classified as an unreasonable search because most of the people being stopped are innocent and have done nothing wrong so that is considered an invasion of their privacy rights. This is also a very slippery slope, next they will stop you and make sure you have your correct i.d.'s and the right color shoes on. The point being, they could soon stop you for anything. The police should be more concerned about crime.
Random breath testing by the police is definitely an unreasonable search, and should be considered unacceptable, under our rights protecting us from unreasonable search and seizure. In order to scrutinize an individual, the police must have probable cause to believe a crime may be in progress. With random testing, there is no probable cause and, thus, police have no right to demand a breath test.
Currently, it is the US law that a person or property can only be searched under reasonable suspicion. Randomly stopping people on the highway is a waste of time for both the drivers and police. Chances are, police officers would be too busy trying to meet their quota of people they have to check that they'd completely miss people swerving around on the road at 2am.
Any form of 'random' testing of individual civilians is a breach of one's privacy. If a police officer pulls someone over because they have broken a traffic law or are driving dangerously, then they have probable cause for thinking that a person might be under the influence. However, without the probable cause police should not deal in individual civilians' business, this opens the door for greater access to the police of random home invasions and other forms of privacy invasion.
Breathalyzer testing should only be performed when the police have reason to believe the driver is under the influence
Random breath testing by the police is neither an invasion of an individuals privacy nor an unreasonable search because driving is a licensed privilege. In exercising that privilege, one is obligated to obey the laws related to driving. Alcohol related traffic deaths number over 33,000 per year, while gun related deaths number under 26,000 per year. Drunk drivers are deadlier than guns!
No, random breath testing by police is not invasion of an individual's privacy and classifiable as an unreasonable search, because they are protecting others from harm. If a person shows signs of intoxication, breath testing works as evidence for DUI or DWI. From there, the person will serve punishment and he or she is taken away from a situation where they might go on to drink and drive and eventually hurt someone.
It is clear that random breath testing is an effective deterrent against drunk driving. About 10,000 people are killed each year and many more wounded as a result of drunk driving in the U.S. Many of them are young people. Almost all of us know of somebody killed due to a drunk driver. If an average person gets tested once every three years or so in a random breath test, that will be an effective deterrent, and drunk driving fatalities and injuries could be reduced very significantly. Typically, in European countries, the tests are done quickly without asking for a driving license or registration. You are on your way in less that a minute, if you are under the legal limit. That is much less of an invasion of privacy than being video taped in the store or at an ATM. Talk to some of the mothers who lost their kids to a drunk driver. RBTs are just a small inconvenience, incomparable to the hurt that drunk driving currently causes to too many families.
The Constitution allows for reasonable search and seizures provided the reason outweighs the individual liberty. This is one of those where the individual is one person and the good of the society dictates that the police need to find out if someone is driving drunk. With this test, they are absolutely clear on the status of the driver and they will then judge if he/she can be let go or held in custody for the night.
Many an accident do happen due to drink driving. Some sensible people take a taxi, have a designated driver, or sleep it off at a friend's place. There are, however, some people who take the risk and get behind the wheel. If motorists know about the possibility of a random breath test, it might make them stay within the legal limit, or find an alternative to driving drunk.
Breath tests are helpful for the authorities when they are out in the field. It helps them to confirm right away if someone is driving drunk. This helps to prevent drunk driving and the accidents that could occur because of this. They are also helpful for cops to tell if minors are under the influence which helps to prevent others from doing something illegal. Whatever the case, breath tests benefit all drivers and citizens and are important to the safety of the public. I think that invading people's privacy can be necessary if the outcome is for the better good of the public, within reason of course.
We are protected by the Constitution against unreasonable search and seizure, but I do not agree that random breath testing falls under that category. Random breath testing usually has probable cause based on erratic driving. So, officers deciding to pull a driver over on suspicion of being a drunk driver must have cause to do so. In addition, most police cruisers are equipped with cameras. So, if an officer violates someone's civil liberties, that will be captured by the camera and can be proved in court. Also, this should be viewed as a preventive tactic to reduce the chances of someone being killed by a drunk driver and encourages the drunk driver to change his or her behavior.