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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78188 Find in a Library
Title: British Pre-Arrest Breath Tests - Constitutional in the United States?
Journal: Traffic Digest and Review  Dated:(December 1969)  Pages:1-6
Author(s): A R Hricko
Date Published: 1969
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the feasibility of a law allowing a prearrest breath test to determine driver alcohol consumption similar to the British one in terms of constitutional protections afforded individuals in the United States.
Abstract: The rising highway death and injury toll and a greater public awareness that a substantial portion of this problem can be attributed to drunk drivers have intensified legislative action to remedy the situation. A total of 26 States have already passed implied consent legislation. In search for a legal tool to assist the police in their investigation of driving while intoxicated cases, legislators and safety officials are examining the feasibility of a law similar to the one enacted in the United Kingdom, the Road Safety Act of 1967. The British statute provides that an officer may require any person driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle to provide a specimen for a breath test if the officer has reasonable cause to suspect him/her of having alcohol in his/her body or to suspect him/her of having committed a moving violation, or if an accident occurs. The article suggests that the constitutional issues of self incrimination, unreasonable search and seizure, and due process, which could be raised in breath test cases, involve judicial questions determined through consideration of set factual situations. Therefore, it is difficult to predict their application unless the exact factual situation is known. However, a properly drawn statute providing for an investigative breath test following an accident or based upon reasonable suspicion of drunk driving does not appear to present insurmountable constitutional barriers. The article includes 34 footnotes and a draft statute.
Index Term(s): Alcohol consumption analysis; Arrest and apprehension; Driving Under the Influence (DUI); Drunk offender implied consent; Law reform; Police legal limitations; Right against self incrimination; Right of privacy; Right to Due Process; Search and seizure laws; United Kingdom (UK); United States of America
Note: Based on a paper presented by the author at the Institute on Motor Vehicle and Traffic Law, August 18-21, 1969, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
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