There is no actual DWI exception to our Constitutional rights; however, DWI Attorney Lawrence Taylor popularized the term to describe numerous Supreme Court rulings that act as if there were. (See http://dwimanual.com/our-attorneys/what-motivates-us/ for more.)
A number of DWI Attorneys have written excellent blogs about the Navarette case – but a previous Virginia case that was before the Supreme Court showed once again that the DWI Exception to the Constitution is alive and well.
Harris v. Commonwealth of Virginia shared a number of details with Navarette including that the police observed absolutely no bad driving behavior after an anonymous tip. None. The United States Supreme Court considered, but rejected, hearing Harris. In his dissent though, Chief Justice Roberts demonstrated once again the “DWI exception to the Constitution” and presaged his decision in Navarette:
“I am not sure that the Fourth Amendment requires such independent corroboration before the police can act, at least in the special context of anonymous tips reporting drunk driving.”
“This Court has in fact recognized that the dangers posed by drunk drivers are unique, frequently upholding anti-drunk-driving policies that might be constitutionally problematic in other, less exigent circumstances.”
Notice that the Chief Justice admits that drunk driving is “special” and that the current DWI laws are “constitutionally problematic.” Problematic is a nice way of saying “wrong:” it’s constitutionally wrong for the government to seize you without probable cause.
Huh. Does “the Fourth Amendment requires such independent corroboration before the police can act, at least in the special context of anonymous tips reporting MURDER?” It does. Does “the Fourth Amendment requires such independent corroboration before the police can act, at least in the special context of anonymous tips reporting RAPE?” It does.
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