Dodging the 5th - How States Get Self Incrimination for DUIs

Refusing a breathalyzer is rarely actual crime with possible jail time, though some will throw you in a holding cell for 72 hours.  A few states have fines, but the tool of choice is revoking or suspending a drivers license.

The notion that driving is a privilege subject to the whims of the State and not a protected right has taken a firm hold.  By threatening to revoke a 'privilege' instead of a 'right', such as your liberty by throwing you in jail or your property by assessing a fine, failure to comply is not technically a crime and thus, being compelled to provide blood, urine or breath samples does not violate your 'right' to not incriminate yourself.

Whether that's a legitimate argument is currently before the courts, as providing this evidence certainly could providing self-incriminating evidence of drunk driving, but its important to note that we're only having this discussion because driving is not considered a right.

Driving is as essential to modern life for many as other long recognized rights such as the pursuit of happiness, or even many 'positive' rights such as health care.  Imagine being told your access to birth control would be revoked for failure to submit to an STD test after having unprotected sex.

The line where rights end and privileges begin is blurry and debatable.  We must behave responsibly as citizens, but laws which compel individuals to submit to government testing must be examined strictly.