- Casey Hamm
- March 10, 2016
Forced DUI Testing Unconstitutional
This past week, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled the state’s DUI testing refusal law unconstitutional, setting a remarkable precedent concerning forced testing of those suspected of driving under the influence.
In a 6-1 ruling, the court decided the state’s law, which had made it a crime to refuse breathalyzer or blood alcohol tests without a court-ordered warrant, is excessive punishment.
Those very tests, the court found, amounted to searches, and the Kansas law “punishes people for exercising their constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures,” reported the Kansas City Star.
In essence, the state’s reasons are not good enough, and the law not precise enough, to impede on the fundamental liberty to would result in “unreasonable search”
The Supreme Court ruled the state’s Constitution allows for the withdrawal of consent without punishment for doing so.
Whereas previously refusing a sobriety test qualified as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of no less than $1,250.
One Justice, Justice Caleb Stegall, wrote the lone dissenting opinion, saying there are “certain situations where the law could adhere to constitutionality, and as such, it should be applied on a case by case basis.”
There are similar laws from other states currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, and Kansas’ could potentially wind up under the high court’s consideration as well.
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