On December 6th, 2013 a roadblock was set up on O’Fallon where police asked citizens to provide breath, blood, or saliva DNA samples.
The DNA Roadblock that was conducted in O’Fallon on 12/6/13 by uniformed Police from St. Charles County Sheriffs Department and representatives from MoDOT is believed to be a part of a larger federal NHTSA program surveying motorists to see how many people drive while intoxicated.
The DNA roadblock was run morning through early afternoon in O’Fallon on Highway 79 near Zephyr Gas Station.
At the checkpoint officers asked motorists if they would provide breath, saliva, or blood samples as part of a study. Reports state that some drivers were offered financial compensation for participating. Police say submitting to questions or providing DNA samples was voluntary.
When we posted the DNA roadblock information on our Facebook page many people were outraged that such a checkpoint/roadblock was occurring. Many posters were concerned that the roadblock was unconstitutional or unlawful. Many people were surprised that something like this would occur in the United States.
My understanding of these DNA Stops/Roadblocks based upon what has been reported in other states recently and based upon reports from witnesses at Ofallon today, is that these programs are typically funded by private companies and/or seemingly quasi-governmental and/or governmental federal traffic and safety related programs. The uniformed officers are typically contracted/paid by the private organization, and typically not there on the payroll of the local police department. The reports are that the uniformed police officers STOP citizens in traffic from freedom of driving/movement in the roadway and there is a mandatory communication that transpires between the uniformed officer and the driver and car occupants. The reports are that when stopped the citizen is detained for enough time to explain the Roadblock purpose/study/goal/payment process and THEN a request is made that the citizens “consent” for “voluntary” DNA samples, saliva, breath samples. So, first MANDATORY STOP, second MANDATORY COMMUNICATION, third Request for Consent…
I am suspicious and curious about whether the citizen is stopped for a much longer period of time than what typically occurs during a standard MO Sobriety Checkpoint, and about whether the stop is occurring in relation to some safety goal, and about whether these stops are supervised, approved and announced pursuant to same rules that are applicable to a legal DWI Checkpoint.
In my opinion, if these DNA Blocks/Stops are happening like they are being reported your Rights are already violated before you ever get to the request for “Consent to Testing”.
-Casey Coats, Attorney – Traffic Law Stop 12/6/13.
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