Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mandatory Blood Tests With No Probable Cause

A Wisconsin legislator is considering introducing a bill requiring mandatory blood tests for any driver involved in fatal car accident, even if there is no probable cause to suspect the driver has been drinking. Presumably, a blood test would be required even if the driver passed a field sobriety test.

The legislation is being pushed by grieving parents and it appears one legislators has bought into it and will likely introduce the bill. The rationale behind the legislation:

  1. If drivers who have died in a car accident must have their blood drawn why shouldn't we similarly force driver who have survived?
  2. If you have nothing to hide what's the big deal?

The answer to the first question is that the deceased do not have constitutional rights, unlike living people. If you buy into the second point, we might as well repeal the Fourth Amendment. Why not authorize the cops to barge into anyone home unannounced? What do you have to hide you filthy criminal?

It seems like the cops dropped the ball on this occasion, but I have a hard time believing that drivers are beating field sobriety tests (or Breathalyzer tests) left and right to make this law necessary.

Imagine going through one of the most traumatic experiences of you life only to have the medic show up and start poking you with needles so that you can prove that you are innocent of a crime for which no probable cause even exists.

I (truly) sympathize for the grieving parents pushing the legislation. It is a heart wrenching story. As a father, I can't imagine what that would be like.

However, grieving are parents not necessarily in the best position to be setting a legislative agenda.

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