[Cdt-l] Hitchhiking in Idaho -- followup

Will Hiltz will.hiltz at gmail.com
Wed Jul 27 15:04:51 CDT 2011

The rights to free speech and assembly are not absolute, things like
incitement to imminent violence are not allowed even though we believe in
free speech. Same for assembly. You are talking about the federal
constitution here... state constitutions tend to have the same protections
as the bill of rights, but that is not necessarily true in all states. For
example in Oregon, the state constitution's freedom of expression provisions
are construed to be more expansive than the bill of rights, which allows the
most strip clubs per capita in the US in the portland metro area, among
other things.

States get wide leeway to choose how to govern themselves, particularly in
law-enforcement type matters. This is in the Constitution. I won't get into
the standard of review owed to state exercises of police power when they are
alleged to violate the federal constitution, but suffice it to say that
restrictions are most definitely allowed and the standard of review is very
deferential. The rights you speak of are nowhere near absolute. The citizens
of Idaho to a large degree choose the laws they will live under and in this
case, they have chosen no hitching. Idaho doesn't "have" to ban walking
along the side of the road any less than they "have" to allow any number of
number of things banned by ordinance, state law and the like. I suggest
moving to Idaho and amending its laws through the state assembly!


On Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 12:18 PM, Jonathan Ley <jonathan at phlumf.com> wrote:

> **
> I can't understand how these laws are constitutional. We have a right to
> free speech & free assembly in this country, and that's what hitching is -
> asking for a ride (speech) and getting a ride (assembly). I could possibly
> understand hitchhiking being made illegal for safety reasons. But, then
> you'd have to make it illegal to walk on the shoulder of any road as well.
> I wonder if you could make a sign that said something like:
> I am not asking for a ride to X...
> But might consider it if you offered.
> That might technically comply with the law ;-). But, good luck explaining
> that to an officer... they generally don't appreciate clever people.
> There's more about this here:
> http://www.digihitch.com/usa428.html
> State specific info here:
> Montana - somewhat restricted, but not bad:
> http://www.digihitch.com/usa133.html
> Idaho - illegal:
> http://www.digihitch.com/usa330.html
> Wyoming - illegal:
> http://www.digihitch.com/usa89.html
> Colorado - no problem:
> http://www.digihitch.com/usa324.html
> New Mexico - a little restricted but not a real problem:
> http://www.digihitch.com/usa92.html
> -Jonathan
> On 7/27/2011 5:50 AM, Brill Stephen wrote:
>   I wanted to follow-up on the recent post concerning hitchhiking in
> Idaho.  Yes, it is illegal to hitchhike in the Gem State.  My own personal
> experience in this may be helpful.
> Last year I was hitching back to my home in Boise after a 4-day CDT hike in
> Yellowstone.  My friend picked me up from the trail and after spending the
> night at his place in Island Park, drove me to Rexburg, from where I started
> hitching.
> It was a Sunday morning in the heart of Idaho’s MoCo.  I managed to get a
> ride from Rexburg to Mud Lake but had a very difficult time getting out of
> Mud Lake.  After about two hours trying to hitch out of Mud Lake, a state
> trooper came by and informed me that what I was doing (standing by the side
> of the road with a sign reading “Arco”) was against the law in Idaho.  Had
> there been a sidewalk there and had I been standing on the sidewalk with my
> sign, this would have been ok.  But since there was no sidewalk, even
> though I was well off the roadway, what I was doing was illegal.  It is
> illegal to attempt to solicit a ride with your thumb or sign if you are on a
> highway (or any public road, for that matter).  According to this trooper,
> it is perfectly legal to simply stand by the side of the road if you make no
> attempt to solicit a ride.  It is also legal to ask a motorist in a
> stopped car for a ride.  This last strategy eventually worked for me, and
> I was incredibly fortunate to catch a ride all the way from Mud Lake to
> Boise, a distance of about 250 miles.
> Finally it is worth noting that before the trooper left he said he would
> return in a few hours.  .And if he saw me out there attempting to solicit
> a ride illegally, he would arrest me.
> Hope this helps for all those considering hitchhiking in Idaho.  My
> suggestion is to go to a gas station and ask for a ride, rather than attempt
> to truly hitch.
> -- Moondancer
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