TheBlaze posted a story earlier this week about Ryan Scott's dicey encounter with a police officer at a DUI checkpoint in DeKalb, Illinois.
After being asked for identification, Scott — who recorded video of the exchange — told the officer, “I’m not obligated to provide (my driver's license) if I’m not being detained.”
The officer replied by opening Scott’s car door and saying, “You know what, you ARE obligated, get out now! Driving’s a privilege, not a right!”
Scott told the officer that his actions are unconstitutional and said he pleads the Fifth Amendment. The officer asks Scott if he knows what the Fifth Amendment means and slams his door shut.
Here's what some readers of TheBlaze had to say about the exchange:
I do not know the specific laws for the state of Illinois; however, I do understand the clear language of the Constitution. Further, I understand that driving a car is a privilege. I also understand the state can't deny an inalienable right (review the Merriam-Webster definition of "inalienable"). SCOTUS has ruled that stopping SOME cars for a quick check of impairment is permitted; however, I do not see that the state is allowed to deny an inalienable right – under ANY circumstance. Additionally, the permit to create such a checkpoint does NOT and cannot require a citizen to have ANY conversation with police, nor allows an officer to touch/handle ANY private property (probable cause or exigent circumstances are still required). So, keeping that in mind, coupled with the knowledge that these stops do not perceptually change any drunk-driving numbers, we are left with a citizen's legal right in dealing with these stops – remain silent and never talk with police. This might be construed as an inconvenience that “prohibits an officer from performing duties,” but the very same could be said of the state when it prohibits law-abiding citizens from going about their days. Bottom line: The Constitution matters and therefore trumps “officers' needs."
While this guy might have made the stop more difficult, this “Peace Officer” has no regard for who he “serves.” And police officers wonder why most Americans no longer trust them. He went ballistic and, for me, I felt he was threatening.
This cop is proof enough why we must never surrender our weapons. That’s our only line left from being dictated to.
I simply cannot believe how many police officers don’t know citizens' constitutional rights. Are these not taught to them?
Respect our police officers. That numb nut behind the wheel is gonna scream like a little girl when he NEEDS a cop.
Police have a tough job. They deal with the idiots of society all day long, are only called when something goes terribly wrong, and are treated with disrespect and suspicion by almost everyone they have to deal with. And to top it all off, their job consists of accusing people of things and gathering evidence BEFORE experts, scientists, and judicial authorities decide what accusations hold up and which ones are baseless.
You libertarians are so concerned about the right to keep an ID in your pocket rather than let a uniformed authority check it for a second, as he’s been ordered to do for everyone else, on the principle that he needs probable cause to suspect you in the first place — aren’t you being a little hypocritical here? In effect, YOU’RE suspecting the OFFICER of abuse of authority without probable cause.
A guy like this who cuts off his nose to spite his face, standing stupidly on the wrong principle (YES, technically it’s his right — no dispute there), is behaving like he has something to hide and wants to find any way he can to weasel out of compliance with a proper authority. Cops, at that point, DO have probable cause, IMHO, to at least CHECK to confirm or deny their suspicions.
Dude deserved his 15-minute harassment, deserved a cop’s accusations, and then deserved to drive away free because it was proven baseless.
Let them keep the peace, people.
I was forced to go through a DUI checkpoint a couple of years ago. I lived in a small town and they blocked off the main road. I went through the checkpoint to return a movie; I showed them my license and proof of insurance. They saw that I was not drunk and let me go through.
I chose to take a side street home and a cop FOLLOWED me, he pulled me over and demanded to know why I avoided the checkpoint. Mind you, it had been maybe three minutes since I went through. This was about power and obedience to THEM and had NOTHING to do with my, or anyone else’s, safety. If we the people don’t reign them in now, we will soon live in a police state. I am sick of people taking the side of police when they abuse their power.
I can see how DUI checks can be helpful in some ways, but once you start letting these people take away your constitutional rights there will be no end in sight. Pretty soon the police will be nothing more than another Gestapo if you let them have their way. Our constitutional rights need to be upheld.
If you can say going through a DUI checkpoint is unconstitutional, then you can also say it’s unconstitutional to have security checkpoints at airports. Flyings a privilege, not a right — but you still give your ID and empty your pockets willingly even though you own your ticket to get on the plane. You own your car and you own your airline ticket.
This cop is a catastrophe waiting to happen. When I was a municipal officer that kind of behavior would have gotten you fired. Sadly its becoming all too common today because of lack of discipline and proper screening of applicants.
They are both right.
Regardless of the constitutionality of the checkpoint, while operating a motor vehicle you are required, as the operator, to hand over your driver's license upon request, because, yes, operating a motor vehicle on public roads is a privilege.
Anything beyond presenting your ID at one of these checkpoints does not need to be complied with, nor should it be, regardless of the nature of the checkpoint.
Anything beyond this, if you do not ask, “Am I being detained? Am I free to go?” you make your encounter voluntary, and you the allow officers to do what they want.
Look guys, SCOTUS ruled 6-3 in 1990 that DUI checkpoints are constitutional, so unless that is overturned at some point, checkpoints are lawful despite the armchair legal arguments; and being obstinate at a checkpoint is not going to improve your lot if you get flagged into one. So three choices… you can lobby your state legislature or the U.S. Congress to prohibit checkpoints, or you can wait for a more libertarian court to overturn the previous SCOTUS decision (which is rare), or you can move to a state where DUI checkpoints are prohibited.
As for showing the cop your driver’s license, driving a car on a public road is not a right. A driver’s license is a contract to drive on a publicly owned road, and like any contract there are terms and conditions. When you accepted that license you accepted those terms, including the understanding that when police pull you over at a DUI checkpoint they are entitled to determine if you have a driver’s license to begin with, as well as valid registration and insurance if that is the law in your state. Once again, acting like you have a law degree from a box of Cracker Jacks is not going to change that; and in fact, being rude to the police officer is going off on the wrong person. All you are doing is giving him or her a hard time for the sake of your own satisfaction. It will not change the law, and it will not make you a martyr for liberty.
Speaking as a former LE Deputy, I do not believe in check points, and I believe we have a right to question why we're being detained. I would much rather stop someone I believe has violated the law. I have in the past made conversation with suspicious individuals and asked for ID. Most times they provided it. But I've never been part of a safety checkpoint. I felt that the officer ripping open the door could have easily and unnecessarily escalated that situation if there was a different person sitting in that driver's seat.
The Fifth Amendment does not specifically say you have the right to remain silent – that is a right you have under the Miranda Rights, which do not go into effect until you've been arrested. The Fourth Amendment, however, states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…” This kid goaded the officer, and the officer took the bait and acted poorly. So, what in the world was accomplished by this whole thing? Nothing much.
OK, I’m just as in favor of less government as the next person who’s in favor of less government, but you can tell when someone just wants to cause trouble. If this had been an Amber Alert, precious time would’ve been lost because someone wanted to post something potentially viral on YouTube.
This has been through the courts time and time again. I have made several DUI arrests as a result of these types of checkpoints and never have any been lost on the grounds of the process being unconstitutional. The same thing happens at the airport when you get ready to fly — but you don’t see anyone screaming “my rights, my rights” when they are being screened. I’ve been an officer for over 20 years and have always been very careful of the rights of the public I serve. If I don’t agree with it (based on what I perceive to be the constitutionality of it, I don’t do it). I don’t search without permission or probable cause. But this guy doing the recording is a typical agitator, nothing else.