Iowa Supreme Court Strikes Down Portion Of Iowa's Drunken Boating Law

Sat 7-1-2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court has struck down as unconstitutional a portion of Iowa's drunken boating law that allows officers to seek alcohol breath tests declaring the law coercive.

A divided 4-3 court concluded Friday that the portion of the law that requires individuals suspected of drunken boating to pay a fine of at least $500 if they decline a breath test violates the state constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The justices awarded Dale Dean Pettijohn Jr. a new trial during which the results of his breath test cannot be used. He was stopped by an officer while driving a pontoon boat on Saylorville Lake northwest of Des Moines in August 2013 and asked to take a breath test. He exceeded the legal limit and was convicted of drunken boating.

(From the Associated Press.)