Driving Is Not Probable Cause

August 19, 2011

Drunk drivers are fucking idiots. The fact that often the penalties for drunk driving are milder than those for underage drinking is absolutely boggling. If you’re going somewhere to drink, have a non-drinker friend drive you. Take public transit (though this is often tough, especially if in DC, where everything shuts down for the night earlier than convenient for late night drinkers). Stay where you’re going overnight if possible. Or at least allow a decent amount of time to pass between your last drink and when you’d be driving again.

All that said…

Sobriety checkpoints?! Seriously?!

I was driving back from the NYRA Annual Meeting a couple weeks ago on Wisconsin Ave, when way ahead I see a lot of flashing police lights. At first I figured maybe a huge accident or something weird going on. Then I pass some signs lit up by flares that said “Prepare to Stop. Sobriety Check Point.”

Oh, HELL no! So I turned right around and went a different direction.

Checkpoints?! What is this, fucking Israel?!

I was obviously not drinking. But I will not be subject to a sobriety test (I was also running low on gas!) for no other reason than I’m driving down this road at 12:30am. Not to mention I was really tired from doing the meeting all day so if that were obvious, I could see them assuming it’s drunkenness and making me take a breath test or something.

I don’t at all subscribe to the “if you’re doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about!” bullcrap. Sometimes people are doing something others think is wrong without realizing it. And even so, there’s no probable cause to be stopping me, asking me questions, making me prove my innocence when I’ve done nothing to imply I’m not innocent. Driving late at night is not a suspect activity! This shit is grossly unconstitutional and I hope the ACLU is on this.

Nor does this do anything about drunk driving. For one, someone who’s been drinking who approaches a checkpoint could easily do like I did and turn around and go a different way. In fact, when I did that, I almost expected to see a police cruiser following me!

Also, what’s with the ads for these checkpoints? Their only purpose seems to be to intimidate and make people believe the police are watching your every move (actually, maybe that’s not a bad warning…). And they show a policeman asking the driver if he’s been drinking, and for some reason the driver says “just a few”. Who in their right goddamn mind willingly tells a cop he’s been drinking while driving and thinks he’ll be let go?! Nothing about this makes sense!

If someone is swerving all over the place, then yes, pull their ass over. Or even if they’re already pulled over for something else and they seem drunk or buzzed, yeah, fine, run your sobriety tests. Testing fucking everybody who happens to be driving down a certain road? No way! That’s not probable cause. That’s just going about your own way and in no way indicative of a crime.

Stopping drunk driving is a good thing. But this is not at all the way to do it! Cut that shit out!

This has been Day 88 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 11.

2 thoughts on “Driving Is Not Probable Cause”

  1. Checkpoints are a crass abuse of our rights as citizens. In a free country, people should be able to come and go freely without having to worry about being questioned, detained or similarly harassed by agents of the state, whether driving, flying, or taking the bus or train. I believe the real purpose to all of these harassment tactics is to make travel undesirable for people so they will stay in their local areas. After all, a non-traveling populace is more easily controlled than a freely mobile one. I too hope someday, the issue of checkpoints, for any reason, comes up before the SCOTUS.

Comments are closed.