As the weather warms across the country, and the long days of summer descend upon us, many begin to think about the country’s beginnings. It was a July 4th in 1776 when the Continental Congress of the then thirteen colonies of Great Britain declared their independence and became a nation. It was not easy then, nor has it been since, but that was the beginning of this country.
Soon after declaring independence, the thirteen colonies began warring with Great Britain, the most powerful country on the earth. After many years of a protracted war, the two sides declared peace, and the United States was really born, but not in the way we know it today. In the beginning the country existed as a confederacy of states with a weak central government. Those same founders soon realized they would need a stronger government if the country wanted to last.
It was then, in 1789 that the founders drafted and adopted a constitution for the country. This document depicted a new form of government with three separate but equal branches of government. In contrast to governments formed before, this new government and its founding document was largely a restriction on what government could do, leaving the people free to act for themselves.
The Constitution would never have been ratified by the people at the time were it not for the Bill of Rights. Soon after ratifying the Constitution, the people amended it to include ten protected rights that the government could not trample on or do away with. Some of the most commonly cited and popular of those rights are the right to a free press, trial by jury, and to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
This last right, found in the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution is what has shaped the state of America’s criminal judicial system. It is amazing that a right announced and passed in the late 1700s continues to protect people from an overreaching and powerful government today.
The essence of the Fourth Amendment is that the government cannot just search someone, their belongings, or private things without a good reason. The same applies to arresting someone, before the police can do so rightfully there must exist probable cause that the person actually committed a crime. When the police go beyond these boundaries, they put their case at risk, and judge is obligated to throw out any evidence tainted by illegal activity occurring outside the bounds of the Fourth Amendment.
Never has the relevance of the Fourth Amendment been more important than today. Particularly when it comes to those accused of DWI. We see everyday the public, government officials, and others conducting a non-stop campaign against drunk driving. While no one would advocate that drinking and driving should be legal, these campaigns pose the danger of trampling on the rights of those accused of DWI. In this country a person is innocent until proven guilty, and that is something we have not forgot at The Wilder DWI Defense Firm. If you are accused of DWI, contact us, and we will give you a free evaluation of your case.