The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution 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, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause…”
In simple terms, the amendment protects the rights of U.S. citizens from being violated by the government. The government needs to have a good reason to barge into our private lives.
Even though the rules are written in the Constitution for all to refer to, some law enforcement members decide to overstep boundaries. They keep testing the legal limits, thinking they are entitled to do so in order to “protect the public”.
For example, in the case of Mitchell vs. Wisconsin, Gerald P. Mitchell had his blood drawn while he was unconscious. Police officers had read him his rights, but the man had been too incapacitated for the whole arresting procedure. However, the police had his blood analyzed, revealing his BAC to be .222. They then used this information to charge Mitchell with a DUI.
We also continue to hear news about individuals being forced to comply to breathalyzers and even cavity searches. And when we try to protect those rights that the law says we have, we are charged with resisting arrest.
Over half of the U.S. states accept the implied consent law. These 29 states allow law enforcement to conduct warrantless blood draws on unconscious individuals, if they are suspected of DUI.
I understand people wanting the police to be proactive in order to prevent bad outcomes; it can help save lives. But, there unfortunately is a fine line between that and supporting the rights of individuals to make their own decisions. If these decisions cause injury and result in a criminal act, that is something for which to look out. Still, does it have to come with such a violation of individual rights? “Innocent until proven guilty” seems to be fast becoming a utopian phrase.