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Death Involving a Drunk Driver

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    Everyday 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol impaired driver(Snyder,2014). This is one death every 50 minutes, the annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than 44 billion dollars. Interesting enough, car accidents involving alcohol impaired drivers are jarring at night(Snyder,2014).Despite 60% less traffic on the roads, more than 40% of all fatal car accidents occur at night. Of fatal crashes in 2014, the highest percentage of drunk drivers were for drivers ages 21-24(30%), followed by ages 25-34(29%). That means a person who is 22 years old is more likely to get into an accident while being intoxicated than a 45 year old(Snyder,2014).

    Alcohol can affect your driving by causing: Drowsiness, impaired vision, reduced reaction time, and difficulty understanding sensory can also cause you to feel more relaxed which may cause you to fall asleep at the wheel (Elements Behavioral Health,2017). The greater the amount of alcohol consumed, the most likely the person will be involved in an accident (Elements Behavioral Health,2017). According to the AAA foundation for traffic safety, 31% of fatal drunk-driving accidents occurred on the weekend and the highest number of drunk drivers are on the road between midnight and 3 a.m. (Elements Behavioral Health,2017).

    There have been many court cases over the past decades, one of which dated back in 1897, the first ever Dui case in history. There are many different court cases out there but there are three that violated the Fourth Amendment. It is defined as “No unreasonable search and seizure”, if there is no probable cause and no warrant issued a person’s 4th amendment has been violated(Nelson,2018). In North Dakota states require a driver to consent if they are drinking and driving, but in Minnesota the law states it is okay if a police offer has probable cause to believe a driver is impaired(Keena,2016). There are 12 states including North Dakota and Minnesota that contains criminal penalties or jail time for refusal to consent(Keena,2016).

    In the first case Birchfield Vs. North Dakota Danny Birchfield drove his car into a ditch, when an officer arrived he asked Birchfield for a sobriety test(McCarthy,2015). This test revealed Birchfield had an alcohol level of 0.254, Danny Birchfield was charged with refusal to summit a chemical test, Birchfield pled guilty and ultimately was charged with a misdemeanor(McCarthy,2015).

    Beylund Vs. Levi, in this case the police officer had probable cause to approach suspect Steve Micheal Beylund(Keena,2016). Beylund was driving erratically and when pulled over the police officer noticed an empty wine glass on the console. Beylund then performed 3 tests which included: field sobriety test, on-site screening test, and a chemical test which revealed Beylund’s alcohol level of 0.250(Keena,2016). This case was a cival sanction not a criminal case, under North Dakota law if an arrestee submits a chemical test, the only punishment required is a license suspension for two years(Keena,2016).

    In the third case, Bernard Vs. Minnesota, William Robert Bernard and two other men got their truck stuck in a river(McCarthy,2015). Bernard admitted to the officers he had been drinking, he was arrested but refused to take a breath test(McCarthy,2015). According to the government about 1/4th of those arrested from drinking and driving from 1996-2001, simply refused to take a chemical test(Keena,2016). Those with a prior arrest come from the highest risk group. In all three cases the defendants appealed to the state supreme court and in all three cases the state supreme court ruled them(Keena,2016).

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    Death Involving a Drunk Driver. (2022, Mar 13). Retrieved from

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