Every state has a constitution and a supreme court that provides the ultimate interpretation of matters that arise under that constitution. Similarly, there is a Federal constitution which the United States Supreme Court interprets. In the event of a conflict between the two, the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution makes the United States Supreme Court the final word.
The first ten amendments to the United States Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights. These Amendments restrict and define what the Federal government can and cannot do in its relationships with its citizens.
Although at one time the Unites States Constitution applied only to the Federal government, since the Civil War and passage of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, the restrictions in the Bill of Rights have been applied to actions by state governments. This is known as the Incorporation Doctrine.
One of the most important Constitutional provisions in DUI law is the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment prohibits law enforcement from conducting “unreasonable searches and seizures”.
Many of the United States Supreme Court’s decisions in criminal law involve interpretations of the Fourth Amendment. Every encounter a citizen has with law enforcement while operating a motor vehicle, even a simple speeding ticket, implicates the Fourth Amendment, making these decisions especially important. Continue reading →