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“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”
― Patrick Henry
TENNESSEE — Holidays are a convenient excuse to push the limits of the police power over citizens. All across the state, Tennessee police will be performing another round of highly-publicized “no refusal” blood-draw DUI checkpoints this weekend. With police armed with a 2012 law that allows them to forcibly extract blood from drivers, its a bad time to be a citizen who does not consent to searches.
Forcible blood draws began in Tennessee in 2009, being used only for cases of vehicular assault. In all other circumstances, the blood draws were not forcible. They could be declined, with the understanding the DUI suspect’s driver’s license would be suspended. Tennessee calls it the Implied Consent Statute.
That changed January 1, 2012, with the enactment of a new law that took away that choice for suspects to decline with a license suspension. Ever since the law took effect, police can obtain rubber-stamped warrants to forcibly extract blood from any driver they decide is a DUI suspect.
Additionally, the new law now mandates blood be drawn from citizens in a variety of circumstances. No longer limited to vehicular assault cases, police are not required to take the blood of any DUI suspect who has ever had a DUI conviction in their life, according to WBIR. The other requirement is that blood be drawn from any suspect who has a person under the age of 16 in the car. The rest of the blood-draw cases are done upon seeking a readily available warrant.