Zoning Plays a Role in Suppression of Breath Test

posted by Colin Murphy on Friday, April 05, 2019

When was the last time your attorney used a zoning map to suppress a breath alcohol test?

Did you say zoning map?

Yes.  

You are probably wondering what zoning has to do with OWI, right?

We were recently involved in a case where our client's vehicle slowed down to a complete stop at a four-way intersection controlled by a flashing yellow light in the city limits of Clarion.  He was stopped for apparently violating Iowa Code section 321.354, which prohibits vehicles from stopping on the travelled portion of the roadway.

There happens to be an exception to the general rule when the highway is in a "business district."

So, of course, we get a copy of the zoning map to determine how the intersection is zoned.  And what do we discover?  The stop actually occurred within town's business district.  That means the driver was absolutely authorized by law to stop at the flashing yellow.  It also means the officer mistakenly relied on that code section to make the stop.  The breath test resulted from an illegal stop making it inadmissible at trial.

We successfully obtained a ruling suppressing the breath test and then leveraged that ruling to reinstate his driving privileges with the Iowa DOT.

And that's how a zoning map was the key to victory.

This is yet another example of the lengths to which GRL attorneys will go to zealously defend their client's right to be free from unlawful traffic stops.
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About The Author

Recognized as a Top Attorney by Avvo (10/10), Colin Murphy has tried dozens of misdemeanor and felony cases to a jury over the last decade with numerous acquittals.  He has also obtained dismissals of more than 75 other drug and OWI charges through successful pre-trial rulings during the same p ... read more