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  • Lets Talk Drivers Licenses...

    Hello everyone.

    I am a regular of another online police forum and came here to get some additional perspectives on an issue that I have recently become aware of.
    The issue in question is “driver’s licenses” and the “right to free travel”.

    Now to be honest, I have ALWAYS believed that driving was a privilege permitted by the state. However, I have unearthed that this is just not true. Driving is in fact a right.

    Hear me out completely before I get pounced on

    My discovery and subsequent declarations on this matter were, believe it or not, confirmed to me to be true by an officer who had actually been involved with such a situation.

    As I said above, I always believed that driving was a privilege and was shocked to learn it is a right.

    Here are several court cases confirming this:

    “The right to travel on the public highways is a constitutional right." Teche Lines v. Danforth, Miss. 12 So 2d 784, 787

    The use of the highways for the purpose of travel and transportation is not a mere privilege, but a common and fundamental Right of which the public and the individual cannot be rightfully deprived." Chicago Motor Coach vs. Chicago, 169 NE 22; Ligare vs. Chicago, 28 NE 934; Boon vs. Clark, 214 SSW 607; 25 Am.Jur. (1st) Highways Sect.163.

    No statutory duty lies to apply for, or to possess a driver license for personal travel and transportation as defendant is not within the class of persons for whose benefit or protection the statute was enacted." Routh v. Quinn, 20 Cal 2d 488.

    "The right to travel is part of the 'liberty' of which a citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment." Kent v. Dulles, 357 U.S. 116 (1958)

    "Operation of a motor vehicle upon public streets and highways is not a mere privilege but is a right or liberty protected by the guarantees of Federal and State constitutions." Adams v. City of Pocatello 416 P2d 46. .


    To top it off, from the Supreme Court:

    "The right of a citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon in the ordinary course of life and business is a common right which he has under his right to enjoy life and liberty, to acquire and possess property, and to pursue happiness and safety. It includes the right in so doing to use the ordinary and usual conveyances of the day; and under the existing modes of travel includes the right to drive a horse-drawn carriage or wagon thereon, or to operate an automobile thereon, for the usual and ordinary purposes of life and business. It is not a mere privilege, like the privilege of moving a house in the street, operating a business stand in the street, or transporting persons or property for hire along the street, which a city may permit or prohibit at will." Thompson vs. Smith, 154 S.E. 579 at 583.


    To further reinforce the rights vs. privilege argument, there is also this case which ruled that a “right” cannot be converted to a “privilege”:

    "No State may convert a Right into a Privilege and require a License of Fee for the exercise of the Right" Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 373 U.S. 262


    I have also found modern court cases that apparently uphold the idea that “driving” is a part of “free travel” and therefore no license is required. A man by the name of Charles Sprinkle is one example; he has not had a driver’s license in over 30 years and has been arrested for it twice. Once in 1975, the other in 2003. Both cases were dismissed. There are many more but I’m trying to keep this short.

    In my studying of this matter I cannot really find a reasonable explanation as to why we uniformly adopted driver’s licenses other than the fact we have been cultured to believe that it is the “norm” and everyone just goes with the flow.

    Now, with all of that out there… what is your position on the matter? I was informed by the aforementioned officer that few cops are actually aware of this.

    Were you aware of this? Have you dealt with it before? What would/will you do if you stop someone on the road who demonstrates knowledge of this?

    I’m looking forward to your replies!

    (And FWIW, I do have a valid drivers license)

  • #2
    Until I receive legal training to the contrary from the government entity that employs me, I will continue to take appropriate enforcement action for license not in possession or unlicense driver and let the courts sort it out.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by L-1 View Post
      Until I receive legal training to the contrary from the government entity that employs me, I will continue to take appropriate enforcement action for license not in possession or unlicense driver and let the courts sort it out.
      And just when do you expect to receive this legal training? How comfortable are you knowing that this right to travel freely is being infringed and that you are not likely any time soon to be receiving any "legal training." Is there any straw that will break the camel's back? How many government bureaucracies are really nothing more than government mafia?

      I for one have always innately believed that it is not privilege but a God given right. How many Rights have we lost since the Declaration, I wonder?

      Comment


      • #4
        My take is that using the roads may be a right, but driving a vehicle isn't. That's up to the individual states to determine and regulate the privy off.
        Just like the speed limit is up to the state, not the feds.

        I think?
        I shoot, therefore I am.

        Comment


        • #5
          My take is that one needs to understand the entire context in which those smidgeons were written -- or if they were written at all.

          For example, Routh v. Quinn, a California case from which you purport to quote, deals with sales of property by a tax assessor, and the word "driver" does not even appear in the opinion.

          Furthermore, state-court opinions can be specific to each state.
          Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
          Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by oofdah View Post
            Hello everyone.

            I am a regular of another online police forum and came here to get some additional perspectives on an issue that I have recently become aware of.
            The issue in question is “driver’s licenses” and the “right to free travel”.

            Now to be honest, I have ALWAYS believed that driving was a privilege permitted by the state. However, I have unearthed that this is just not true. Driving is in fact a right.

            Hear me out completely before I get pounced on

            My discovery and subsequent declarations on this matter were, believe it or not, confirmed to me to be true by an officer who had actually been involved with such a situation.

            As I said above, I always believed that driving was a privilege and was shocked to learn it is a right.

            Here are several court cases confirming this:

            “The right to travel on the public highways is a constitutional right." Teche Lines v. Danforth, Miss. 12 So 2d 784, 787

            The use of the highways for the purpose of travel and transportation is not a mere privilege, but a common and fundamental Right of which the public and the individual cannot be rightfully deprived." Chicago Motor Coach vs. Chicago, 169 NE 22; Ligare vs. Chicago, 28 NE 934; Boon vs. Clark, 214 SSW 607; 25 Am.Jur. (1st) Highways Sect.163.

            No statutory duty lies to apply for, or to possess a driver license for personal travel and transportation as defendant is not within the class of persons for whose benefit or protection the statute was enacted." Routh v. Quinn, 20 Cal 2d 488.

            "The right to travel is part of the 'liberty' of which a citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment." Kent v. Dulles, 357 U.S. 116 (1958)

            "Operation of a motor vehicle upon public streets and highways is not a mere privilege but is a right or liberty protected by the guarantees of Federal and State constitutions." Adams v. City of Pocatello 416 P2d 46. .


            To top it off, from the Supreme Court:

            "The right of a citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon in the ordinary course of life and business is a common right which he has under his right to enjoy life and liberty, to acquire and possess property, and to pursue happiness and safety. It includes the right in so doing to use the ordinary and usual conveyances of the day; and under the existing modes of travel includes the right to drive a horse-drawn carriage or wagon thereon, or to operate an automobile thereon, for the usual and ordinary purposes of life and business. It is not a mere privilege, like the privilege of moving a house in the street, operating a business stand in the street, or transporting persons or property for hire along the street, which a city may permit or prohibit at will." Thompson vs. Smith, 154 S.E. 579 at 583.


            To further reinforce the rights vs. privilege argument, there is also this case which ruled that a “right” cannot be converted to a “privilege”:

            "No State may convert a Right into a Privilege and require a License of Fee for the exercise of the Right" Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 373 U.S. 262


            I have also found modern court cases that apparently uphold the idea that “driving” is a part of “free travel” and therefore no license is required. A man by the name of Charles Sprinkle is one example; he has not had a driver’s license in over 30 years and has been arrested for it twice. Once in 1975, the other in 2003. Both cases were dismissed. There are many more but I’m trying to keep this short.

            In my studying of this matter I cannot really find a reasonable explanation as to why we uniformly adopted driver’s licenses other than the fact we have been cultured to believe that it is the “norm” and everyone just goes with the flow.

            Now, with all of that out there… what is your position on the matter? I was informed by the aforementioned officer that few cops are actually aware of this.

            Were you aware of this? Have you dealt with it before? What would/will you do if you stop someone on the road who demonstrates knowledge of this?

            I’m looking forward to your replies!

            (And FWIW, I do have a valid drivers license)
            I guess the whole "government created safeguard" applies in making people get a license in order to drive on state or federal maintained roads. It might actually mean something if everyone who had a license "HAD" to go to driver improvement school once a year instead of only going when they get into trouble etc..
            Sure the "learning" part needs to be something we continue to make a law as far as passing basic test both on the road/behind the wheel and written test.

            Thats why I have a huge problem with all the illegal aliens riding around who can't read or speak english. It's a true safety issue.
            to answer your question? have i ever had some nut try and quote case law as to why they dont have a license? No. and I'd write them a ticket in Va for 46.2-300 Driving w/no OL
            "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The MARINES don't have that problem." ....Ronald Reagan

            Comment


            • #7
              Well the interesting thing here is these rulings, especially those from the Supreme Court, still stand.

              I know as well as the next person that the side of the road is not the place to argue, per say. However it appears that whenever these rulings are brought up in a courtroom, the defendant always wins.

              The SCOTUS interprets the Constitution, and it's rulings supercede all laws that any state may pass. The Supreme Court has ruled that we have the right to free travel "upon public highways" using the "ordinary and usual conveyances of the day", and specifically uses the word "automobile" in that ruling.

              Furthermore:

              "If a State does erroneously require a License or Fee for exercise of that Right, the Citizen may Ignore the License and or Fee and exercise the Right with Total Impunity. See Schuttlesworth v. Birmingham 373 U.S 262."

              "There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of this exercise of constitutional rights." Sherer v. Cullen, 481 F 946.

              "The claim and exercise of a constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime." Miller v. US, 230 F 486, at 489.


              Only the Supreme Court can overrule itself:

              Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S. 203, 237-238 (1997); State Oil Co. v. Khan, 522 U.S. 3, 20 (1997) - "it is this Court's prerogative alone to overrule one of its precedents."





              So, this is not merely "case law" but an interpretation of the U.S. Constitution; which is what you, above all else, swear an oath to - correct? If so, how do you justify ignoring that?
              Last edited by oofdah; 11-17-2009, 05:29 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by oofdah View Post
                Well the interesting thing here is these rulings, especially those from the Supreme Court, still stand.

                I know as well as the next person that the side of the road is not the place to argue, per say. However it appears that whenever these rulings are brought up in a courtroom, the defendant always wins.

                The SCOTUS interprets the Constitution, and it's rulings supercede all laws that any state may pass. The Supreme Court has ruled that we have the right to free travel "upon public highways" using the "ordinary and usual conveyances of the day", and specifically uses the word "automobile" in that ruling.

                Furthermore:

                "If a State does erroneously require a License or Fee for exercise of that Right, the Citizen may Ignore the License and or Fee and exercise the Right with Total Impunity. See Schuttlesworth v. Birmingham 373 U.S 262."

                "There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of this exercise of constitutional rights." Sherer v. Cullen, 481 F 946.

                "The claim and exercise of a constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime." Miller v. US, 230 F 486, at 489.


                Only the Supreme Court can overrule itself:

                Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S. 203, 237-238 (1997); State Oil Co. v. Khan, 522 U.S. 3, 20 (1997) - "it is this Court's prerogative alone to overrule one of its precedents."

                So, this is not merely "case law" but an interpretation of the U.S. Constitution; which is what you, above all else, swear an oath to - correct? If so, how do you justify ignoring that?
                Very simply put:

                I see no reason to even consider your "analysis," given that you completely misrepresented the one case I checked.

                I also think that you likely are confusing driving with traveling. One can travel without driving.
                Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by DAL View Post
                  Very simply put:

                  I see no reason to even consider your "analysis," given that you completely misrepresented the one case I checked.
                  Well you got me there... but it wasn't intentional. I copied a few of these off the research of others and I must have mis-copied one of the cites and even I can't find where the hell I got it from again

                  I'll be sure to review all of the other cases to make sure I am referencing the proper ones. Thanks for pointing that out.

                  Originally posted by DAL View Post
                  I also think that you likely are confusing driving with traveling. One can travel without driving.
                  Nope, I'm not confusing it. "Driving" for a commercial purpose does indeed require a license. However, personal driving is not commercial. It is travel.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I figured you largely copied what you wrote from some other nonsense on the web.

                    Although driving is a form of travel, one can travel without driving. Even assuming that there is a "right" to travel, it does not necessarily encompass every means of travel.

                    What the Supreme Court means by a "right to travel" was explained in Saenz v. Roe, 526 U.S. 489 (1999), as follows:

                    The “right to travel” discussed in our cases embraces at least three different components. It protects the right of a citizen of one State to enter and to leave another State, the right to be treated as a welcome visitor rather than an unfriendly alien when temporarily present in the second State, and, for those travelers who elect to become permanent residents, the right to be treated like other citizens of that State.
                    None of these has anything to do with driving.
                    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DAL View Post
                      None of these has anything to do with driving.
                      I don't think that's a fair quote. No it doesn't mention driving... but at the same time it doesn't mention ANY method of travel. It seems to me that it explains that you have the right to travel anywhere within the borders of the United States and be treated the same regardless of the means, but yet as a whole pertains to the idea the the rights of a citizen apply anywhere in the U.S.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by oofdah View Post
                        I don't think that's a fair quote. No it doesn't mention driving... but at the same time it doesn't mention ANY method of travel. It seems to me that it explains that you have the right to travel anywhere within the borders of the United States and be treated the same regardless of the means, but yet as a whole pertains to the idea the the rights of a citizen apply anywhere in the U.S.
                        I can see that you are the master of the "fair quote." My point is that it does not mention "driving."

                        Come back when you graduate from law school and are admitted to the bar. In the meantime, stop wasting our time.
                        Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                        Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well I'm just calling a spade a spade. You claim it doesn't mention driving. Fine. But it also doesn't mention ANY method of travel so I guess the point is moot isn't it?

                          I am a business owner, not an aspiring lawyer. I have taken an interest in a specific subject and wish to explore it further. As far as wasting your time - well my apologies. If you don't like what you're reading, then don't read it - no skin off my back.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Cold Rodear View Post
                            And just when do you expect to receive this legal training? How comfortable are you knowing that this right to travel freely is being infringed and that you are not likely any time soon to be receiving any "legal training." Is there any straw that will break the camel's back? How many government bureaucracies are really nothing more than government mafia?

                            I for one have always innately believed that it is not privilege but a God given right. How many Rights have we lost since the Declaration, I wonder?
                            As you can see from the above discussion, people often disagree on the interpretation of law. That's why law enforcement doesn't allow the average citizen to come into the station, dictate their particular interpretation of the law and expect us to follow it. Were we to do that, we would be expected to carry out multiple interpretations of the law at the same time, all in conflict with each other.

                            When there is a change in the law impacting law enforcement, usually each county's District Attorney and/or the State Attorney General issues a training bulletin informing law enforcement agencies of that change and advising them as to how it will affect their day to day enforcement and operations. Because these are the agencies who will accept or decline the prosecution of arrests made by police, it is their legal advice we follow and not that of the average civilian who decides they know best how to direct the police.
                            Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by L-1 View Post
                              As you can see from the above discussion, people often disagree on the interpretation of law. That's why law enforcement doesn't allow the average citizen to come into the station, dictate their particular interpretation of the law and expect us to follow it. Were we to do that, we would be expected to carry out multiple interpretations of the law at the same time, all in conflict with each other.

                              When there is a change in the law impacting law enforcement, usually each county's District Attorney and/or the State Attorney General issues a training bulletin informing law enforcement agencies of that change and advising them as to how it will affect their day to day enforcement and operations. Because these are the agencies who will accept or decline the prosecution of arrests made by police, it is their legal advice we follow and not that of the average civilian who decides they know best how to direct the police.
                              That's a completely reasonable and understandable response. As I said, the argument is reserved for the courtroom, not the side of the road. I simply wonder if you experience the scenario yourself, and the case is tossed, would you continue to cite/arrest for it?

                              Nevertheless, I doubt that these kinds of cases ever make it to your bulletin boards. The majority I've read are outright dismissed.

                              My theory is this:

                              We all have rights guaranteed by the constitution, however we can't exercise those rights until we are 18 years of age. Driving at 16 is most certainly a privilege... both from the state and from a childs parents. Because children have been given drivers licenses for several generations now, I believe that as a society we have been indoctrinated to believe that it's the "norm". We renew it when it expires, and life goes on. Nobody ever thinks to question whether it's really a necessity or not... they've been cultured to believe that it is.

                              I do have to say, though, that in the matter of Thompson vs Smith I really don't think any interpretation is necessary - it's quite clear to the average person.
                              Last edited by oofdah; 11-17-2009, 09:28 PM.

                              Comment

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