Iowa Court strikes breath tests in drunken boating cases - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa Court strikes breath tests in drunken boating cases

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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.

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