"With New Year's Eve only days away, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration expects this to be one of the deadliest weeks of the year on the roads.
But now a new weapon is being used in the fight against drunk driving.
It's a change that could make you more likely to be convicted.
"I think it's a great deterrent for people," said Linda Unfried, from Mother's Against Drunk Driving in Hillsborough County.
Florida is among several states now holding what are called "no refusal" checkpoints.
It means if you refuse a breath test during a traffic stop, a judge is on site, and issues a warrant that allows police to perform a mandatory blood test."
You're driving down the road, coming home from work; both perfectly lawful acts. You've done nothing wrong, haven't violated any traffic laws and suddenly you confront a sobriety checkpoint where you are detained against your will and both you and your vehicle are searched, using the visual and olfactory senses of the officer.
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Based on a purely subjective opinion of the officer you are told to blow into a piece of equipment that is supposed to be able to measure your blood alcohol content. You know nothing about the accuracy of the instrument, whether it was calibrated correctly or if the officer using it is using it properly or was trained in its use.
What you do know is that if the machine says you're drunk, you're going to jail.
"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."
Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
So now you've been stopped and searched against your will and the state is trying to bully you into taking the chance of self incrimination by blowing into a machine that is suspect at best. In a perfect world you would pull out your trusty copy of the Constitution and politely reaffirm your rights and go on about your way, stopping by your attorneys office to file a suit for the violation of your rights.
But this isn't a perfect world.
Cities, counties and states are hurting for money and a sure fired, tried and true way of raising revenue is the checkpoint. Regardless of the clear intent of the framers of the Constitution, the courts have allowed the police to stop and search us for no reason at all and then they have given them the power to threaten us with the revocation of our license if we don't cooperate.
Now the icing on the cake. If we refuse to follow their commands based on our understanding of the clear meaning of the Constitution they have a judge standing there to force the issue. Of course, the judge is employed by the same governing body and he needs work, too. Everyone that gets a DUI or is falsely accuse of a DUI or gets arrested for refusing to cooperate will end up in court and the judge will make a buck or two off the misery of the defendant.
So we submit to something that is clearly wrong and immoral. Just like we do at the airport when we get felt up and looked at by some baboon with a badge. We do it because it's easier to just go along and get it over with. We do it because the system is rigged against us. We do it because we're cowards.
When you hear somebody ask for your papers when you go to the store or demand to enter your house because they suspect that you might be doing something illegal remember where it all started. It started when we refused to say no to the little things.