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  #1  
Old 19 June 2012, 02:53 AM
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snopes snopes is offline
 
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Driver Driving is a right, not a privilege

Comment: "Driving is a right and not a privilege, therefore states cannot
require a license to drive and you can get a "driving without a license"
charge dismissed on constitutional grounds."

Though not a new rumor, I've been seeing it more often lately, especially
in "patriot", survivalist, extreme libertarian, and tax protestor rants.

They typically quote Robertson v. Washington State Department of Public
Works as their case law precedent.

As an example, one such site is
http://educate-yourself.org/cn/drivi...e07apr05.shtml.

There's a current discussion on Amazon.com wherein one of the discussion
participants states he was part of a "mass dismissal" of infractions.

What research I've been able to do does not support any of the claims.
Robertson V. DPW does discuss a "right to travel over public roads" as
fundamental, but nowhere indicates that "right to travel" equals "right to
operate a motor vehicle."

Any clarifications or definitive rulings that state driving is a
privilege?
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  #2  
Old 19 June 2012, 06:56 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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Well, it could be an interpretation of the UN declaration of human rights, article 13:

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

If one is not allowed to choose how to travel, one might argue that freedom has been limited. Limited freedom is not freedom.

Or something along those lines.
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  #3  
Old 19 June 2012, 03:48 PM
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Jay Temple Jay Temple is offline
 
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This doesn't address the question directly, but someone who genuinely wanted to challenge it could argue that the state is trying to regulate interstate commerce. (The Commerce clause says that Congress, and only Congress, is allowed to regulate commerce between persons in different states.) I don't have the book with me that I'd need, but the courts have bought the flimsiest of reasons for considering something interstate commerce when Congress wants to regulate it. It would not be a huge stretch in light of those decisions to say that because a resident of Washington might buy gasoline from a retailer who obtained it from a Texas refinery and might put it into a car that was made in Michigan means that driving anywhere is still interstate commerce.
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Old 19 June 2012, 04:21 PM
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Driving is a right.

Driving on public roads is a privilege granted to you by the government that also built the roads.

You want to lay down a road on your own private property, do whatever the hell you want on it. Drive drunk with no license and no insurance at 180 miles in hour in a car with no seatbelt I could give a squirt.

And yeah this is pretty much my real opinion. For instance I don't a DUI should be enforceable until you leave your driveway and put a wheel on public roads.
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  #5  
Old 19 June 2012, 04:33 PM
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Who says driving is a privilege and not a right?

Case cited:

Donald S. MILLER, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Sally R. REED, California Department of Motor Vehicles;  Daniel E. Lungren, Attorney General, Defendants-Appellees 9th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals - 1999

Quote:
"Typically, if a right is going to be limited, restricted or revoked, there must be 'due process' – the right to a hearing – and there must be a good basis for the revocation or restriction,” Lykins said. “The privilege to drive is a benefit that is extended based upon certain requirements being satisfied."

“While the 'right of travel' is a fundamental right, the privilege to operate a motor vehicle can be conditionally granted based upon being licensed and following certain rules,” Lykins said. “If rules are broken or laws are violated, the State reserves the right to restrict or revoke a person’s privilege.”
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  #6  
Old 19 June 2012, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
If one is not allowed to choose how to travel, one might argue that freedom has been limited. Limited freedom is not freedom.

Or something along those lines.
But not being able to drive isn't the same thing as not being able to choose how to travel. Nobody is being legally barred from cars travelling on public roads, only from operating the cars. You can still ride when someone else drives.
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  #7  
Old 19 June 2012, 06:05 PM
FullMetal FullMetal is offline
 
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Driving may be a right, but if someone who has had 10 duis gets on the road, my right to safe travel is violated. The problem with things like this, is everyone has rights, and it's up to the courts and government to decide who's rights trump each others. and thus some rights get taken away. If you commit a murder your right to movement is restricted. as you get locked in prison.

Anyone who loses the right to drive, usually has a reason, and I'm sure there is due process to removing the license. Even if you get 10 DUIs you get your day in court to prove you deserve to keep driving. The requirement of a license is just one way of confirming that your rights are there, and that you have the skills necessary to obey the rules of the road.
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Old 19 June 2012, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
Limited freedom is not freedom.
Then no one has any freedoms anywhere, has ever had any freedoms anywhere, or will ever have any freedoms ever by this definition.

The word "Rights" is just used to0 flippantly. People use it without stopping to think what it means.

The Constitution says I have a right to own a gun. Does this mean that I can own any sort of gun I want? Does this mean the government has to subsidize gun ownership if some people can't afford them? Does this mean I should be able to own a gun if I've proven I'm not responsible with one? Does any restriction on my gun ownership mean I've lost that right?

On the flipside. What if you had to get a license to speak in public? What if you had to take a class before I could speak in public? What if I had to tell the government I planned to speak in public but had to wait a 10 day cooling off period before I could actually do so? Does any restriction on my Freedom of Speech mean I've lost that right?

See what I mean? Both Freedom of Speech and the Right to Bear Arms are rights. A right is everything and nothing. It's whatever people want them to be and whatever people don't want them to be. People use it to mean something they should be able to do, something they should be able to do without any restriction, something they think should be provided to them all without rhyme, reason, or internal or external consistency. The term is useless in and off itself.
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  #9  
Old 19 June 2012, 06:48 PM
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In the case of DUI it's a matter of public safety to take away a person's license, since driving drunk directly endangers other people on the road. But the government often exploits the "it's a privilege, not a right" concept in a nation where having a driver's license a necessity in much of the country.

The state of Florida will suspend your license for a drug conviction. Not a conviction related to using drugs while driving, just a drug conviction. I'm pretty sure that if a person has to pay probation fees, do community service and be employed (as is often a condition of probation) yanking their DL is not the way to encourage that.

The state of GA will suspend a person's DL for falling too far behind on child support. If somebody does lose their job and lapse in their child support payments I don't see how hampering their ability to get a new job (most of GA isn't readily accessible via public transit) is supposed to fix that problem.
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Old 19 June 2012, 07:03 PM
FullMetal FullMetal is offline
 
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JoeBentley, you make a good point however a more suitable comparison would be do you have the right to speak on the 50 yard line during half-time of the Superbowl? Is preventing you from having a megaphone and standing on the 50 yard line preventing your right of free speech? And if you are allowed to, is that infringing on everyone elses rights to be heard at that time?

I agree the definition of what a right means is what people do not understand. They understand the right as being "I can do this as I please without consequence" When in reality rights come with responsibilities. Libel laws would be very unconstitutional then.

I think people need to understand that laws are there not to restrict individual rights, but to protect the masses rights. In my example of a man with 10 DUI convictions, his right to drive does not outweigh my (and everyone else's) right to safety. Thus his right is restricted.

Also, I remember a few years back (ok it was more like 12-14 years back now that I think about it) there was a thing on the news. A man was fighting this very thing. Specifically driving without a license or license plate. He cited Common law stating that the road was common property, and that he had a right to use the roads as he sees fit, as he pays his taxes, and thus has the right. What ultimately shut him down was he has the right, he does not have the right to operate heavy machinery without proving himself qualified. He also did not have the right to operate a vehicle that was not proven safe to him or other users of the roads. The law requiring license plates was shown to not restrict his driving rights, but to provide a central registry of vehicles for both protection of his property, and the protection of others property.

The laws are there for the protection of everyone else's rights not to restrict an individuals.
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  #11  
Old 19 June 2012, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Then no one has any freedoms anywhere, has ever had any freedoms anywhere, or will ever have any freedoms ever by this definition.

The word "Rights" is just used to0 flippantly. People use it without stopping to think what it means.
"Freedom" and "rights" aren't the same thing.
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  #12  
Old 20 June 2012, 12:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fitz1980 View Post
The state of GA will suspend a person's DL for falling too far behind on child support.

It's the same in Michigan. From personal experience, this is usually one of the last resorts, and used mainly after the non-custodial parent has blatently disregarded the child support order.

ETA - For example, my ex spent about two years dodging payments, ignoring show cause hearings and bench warrants, and jumping from place to place and job to job before the FotC had his license suspended. By this time, he owed me thousands of dollars in unpayed child support.

At that point, I have a really hard time mustering up any sympathy for a non-custodial parent losing their DL.

Last edited by Swordmaster; 20 June 2012 at 12:58 AM. Reason: Hit send too soon.
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  #13  
Old 20 June 2012, 06:57 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Then no one has any freedoms anywhere, has ever had any freedoms anywhere, or will ever have any freedoms ever by this definition.
Well, can one be "a little unfree"?

Now, I'm not arguing for either side here, I'm just trying to be the devil's advocate. I'm not that hard-line anarchist.
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