DWI Roadblocks: Constitutional Right to Be Free Falls Victim to High Gas Prices

Hello, and Happy Independence Day! Every year, the police erect more and more DWI roadblocks. It is not because roadblocks are effective at detecting or even deterring drunk drivers, because roadblocks do not serve either purpose very well. The police usually have to seize at least 100 cars before they find one driver who is even arguably drunk. The cost for the roadblocks is huge, both in terms of manpower and equipment. Last year, reports were published about a new batmobile that cost $400,000.00 for use during these crackdowns on freedom.

Roadblocks don't deter drunk driving, as evidenced by the government's own statistics that show the numbers remaining constant year after roadblocking year. At their best roadblocks are a publicity stunt, but they are growing in number and frequency every year. Roadblocks will soon be a way of life in our country, because we have let them become a way of life for the sake of law enforcement efficiency.

In a new bizarre twist, one state's police will conduct hundreds of roadblocks just because of the price of gas! Follow the story from WHAS about this state's effort to save money at the expense of the Constitution. It is sadly ironic that on the day that we celebrate our freedom you are far more likely to be stopped by the police for no reason at all, just because you were on a road that was convenient for them to erect a blockade, and because they got a government grant to block it and stop you.


Whatever happened to the Fourth Amendment? If John Adams were stopped in a roadblock on the Fourth of July today and told the cops needed to save gas but they still wanted to seize hundreds of citizens without any evidence, without any probable cause and without a warrant, what would he say? John Adams once argued (echoing Blackstone) that he would rather see 100 guilty men go free than for one innocent man to be convicted. Today, due to roadblocks, that bedrock legal principle has been completely inverted: the government today seizes about 100 cars to come across one driver who they can even colorably argue might be drunk. Prepare yourself ahead of time for these unwanted intrusions.

Happy Independence Day,

Mark Stevens
5 Manor Parkway
Salem, NH 03079




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