Value drivers’ lives above liberty

When trying to stop drunk drivers, police should not need a warrant to conduct a blood alcohol exam.

by Keelia Moeller

Implied consent laws — or the laws that determine whether it’s constitutional to test the blood alcohol content of suspected drunk drivers — are currently under fire in Minnesota and 12 other states. 
Drivers can face criminal punishment for refusing to submit to a blood alcohol test. Some want to make it necessary for officers to obtain a warrant before they conduct a blood or Breathalyzer test.  
This proposal would hinder the ability of law enforcement to catch drunk drivers. It would also give a greater sense of invincibility to people who shouldn’t be on the roads. 
Yet Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor wasn’t swayed when Minnesota and North Dakota attorneys told her how much of a hassle it could be to obtain warrants for blood alcohol tests.
Some justices believe obtaining a warrant can take as little as 15 minutes. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in Minnesota. 
Aside from the controversy surrounding warrants for all blood alcohol testing cases, there is also disagreement over the invasiveness of certain testing styles. 
The Supreme Court may soon differentiate between Breathalyzers and blood or urine testing. This means one style of testing might require a warrant, while another might not.
I don’t believe police should need a warrant for any of these blood alcohol testing techniques. Immediate testing makes it easier to prosecute drunk drivers, and it gives people a stronger incentive to find a sober ride.
Protecting the safety of legal drivers must trump the personal or constitutional liberties of suspected drunk drivers. 
Keelia Moeller welcomes comments at [email protected].