The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case on the Fourth Amendment which will decide the question: Can the government make it a crime to refuse a chemical sobriety test?
As Reason reported, while a handful of states have argued that the government is allowed to criminalize refusal to take the test:
The arrested parties in these cases offer a different view. Danny Birchfield, for example, is a North Dakota man arrested on suspicion of drunk driving who refused to submit to a warrantless chemical test. He was charged for his refusal and sentenced under the refusal statute. Birchfield maintains that the state law imposed an unconstitutional condition upon him, forcing him to either sacrifice his constitutional right to be free from a warrantless search under the Fourth Amendment or else face criminal sanctions. Birchfield and his lawyers therefore urge the Supreme Court to reject “the extraordinary proposition that persons may be subjected to criminal penalties for asserting their constitutional right to resist a search that is not supported by a warrant or an exception to the warrant requirement.”“]
This case is one worth watching, because the outcome will set a precedent for other cases. If the court rules in favor of the states, it will be supporting the government’s ability to criminalize the refusal of a warrantless search.
The question, then, would be: where do we draw the line between citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights and the rights of the government to conduct warrantless searches?
For a more complete breakdown of the arguments in the case, check out the full article.
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