Below legal limit? Police say, "trust us, you're drunk."

Updated: May 31


SWAT team with face masks

This is the ninth in a series of blogs regarding a Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Waterloo, or other Iowa community OWI (DUI) defendant’s best options during a criminal prosecution for drunk driving.

Which is more important? Subjective eyewitness observations or chemical test results in a Cedar Rapids, Iowa OWI (DUI) criminal prosecution? The answer is, according to the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy that trains officers how to build cases against OWI suspects, that it depends.


The Iowa Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) trains students to understand that it is possible for an OWI (DUI) defendant in Iowa to be acquitted of the criminal drunk driving charge even if the test result is greater than the presumptive legal limit for intoxication in the State of Iowa.

On the other hand, it also teaches its students that a test subject who provides a chemical sample testing below the presumptive legal limit of intoxication in the State of Iowa—eight hundredths of a gram of ethanol per 210 L breath, or, .08 g ETOH/210 L breath—can also be convicted by the jury as long as the arresting officer testifies clearly and "convincingly" about his or her subjective observations.


While completely unfair, it is possible in Iowa to be convicted of a breath alcohol test lower than the presumptive legal standard of intoxication. An attorney licensed to practice in Iowa and, ideally, exclusively limited to the practice of criminal law of which OWI (DUI) is a subset, should review any such case carefully to determine next steps.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for an Iowa OWI (DUI), contact us for an initial consultation today. However, remember that a blog is not legal advice and that sending unsolicited information to an attorney over the Internet does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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