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Driving Is A Right – Not A Privilege!

Dayton DUI Attorney Charles Rowland > DUI Law  > DUI Process  > Driving Is A Right – Not A Privilege!

Driving Is A Right – Not A Privilege!

Driving Is A Right – Not A Privilege!

driving is a rightHave you ever been told that “driving is a privilege?” Bah! This author argues that case law needs to be expanded to include “driving” as a fundamental right under the First Amendment’s Freedom of Assembly. Thus, the analysis should be under the substantive due process analysis not simply under the procedural due process analysis.

Because the human rights of freedom of movement, right to earn a living and the right to peaceably assemble are only capable of being maintained with a valid driver’s license, the Court should require a more rigorous standard before depriving someone of this basic right. Driving is a right because the right to drive is a fundamental right that is deeply rooted in American history and tradition. Why is it important to establish driving as a fundamental right? Where the right is not a fundamental right, the court applies a rational basis test: if the violation of the right can be rationally related to a legitimate government purpose, then the law is held valid. If the court establishes that the right being violated is a fundamental right, it applies strict scrutiny. Strict scrutiny asks whether the law is justified by a compelling state interest, and whether the law is narrowly tailored to address the state interest.

I base this claim on cases decided in the United States Supreme Court. DUI case law analysis at the United States Supreme Court provides that driving is not “just” a privilege as alleged and assumed by most Ohioans. You may have heard the expression that a driver’s license is “a privilege — not a right”, and thus there were few effective remedies available to a driver who wished to contest a suspension. The U.S. Supreme Court changed that in Bell v. Burson, 402 U.S. 535 (1971), recognizing that a license’s “continued possession may become essential in the pursuit of a livelihood”. Because of their value, then, they “are not to be taken away without that procedural due process required by the Fourteenth Amendment”. The Court premised its opinion on the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments protections that neither the State or Federal government can deprive a person of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Without this decision it is likely that the police would confiscate your license without any recourse in or appeal. See also, Mackey v. Montrym (1979) 443 U.S. 1, involving a license suspension for refusing to submit to a DUI breath test. But they need to go further.

To understand why driving is a right in light of DUI case law, it is important to understand how the United States Supreme Court analyzes due process issues. “The Supreme Court has identified two distinct categories of fundamental liberties. The first category includes most of the liberties expressly enumerated in the Bill of Rights. Through a process known as “selective incorporation,” the Supreme Court has interpreted the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to bar states from denying their residents the most important freedoms guaranteed in the first ten amendments to the federal Constitution. Only the Second Amendment right to bear arms, the Third Amendment right against involuntary quartering of soldiers, and the Fifth Amendment right to be indicted by a grand jury have not been made applicable to the states. Because these rights remain inapplicable to state governments, the Supreme Court is said to have “selectively incorporated” the Bill of Rights into the Due Process Clause.

The second category of fundamental liberties includes those liberties that are not expressly enumerated in the Bill of Rights but which are nonetheless deemed essential to the concepts of freedom and equality in a democratic society. These unenumerated liberties are derived from Supreme Court precedents, common law, moral philosophy, and deeply rooted traditions of U.S. Legal History. The word liberty cannot be defined by a definitive list of rights, the Supreme Court has stressed. Instead, it must be viewed as a rational continuum of freedom through which every facet of human behavior is safeguarded from Arbitrary impositions and purposeless restraints. In this light, the Supreme Court has observed, the Due Process Clause protects abstract liberty interests, including the right to personal autonomy, bodily integrity, self-dignity, and self-determination. Id. Let’s get driving, freedom of movement and freedom of assembly to be included as a fundamental liberty.

Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio. He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671. You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500. Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog. You can email CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.

“All I do is DUI defense.”

For more info on the argument that driving is a right not a privilege, check these city-specific sites at the following links:

Fairborn, Dayton, Springfield,Kettering,Vandalia,XeniaMiamisburg,Huber HeightsSpringboroOakwood,Beavercreek, Centerville

Charles Rowland


Charles M. Rowland II has been representing the accused drunk driver for over 20 years. Contact him at (937) 318-1384 if you find yourself facing a DUI (now called OVI) charge.

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