Crossing Fog Line Is NOT Reason to Believe Driver is Drunk

Atlantic, Cass County, Iowa.

The Iowa Supreme Court confirmed what the Iowa Supreme Court said back in 2004, a single, isolated incident of a driver crossing over the fog line (solid white line on edge of road) does not create a sufficient reasonable suspicion that the driver is intoxicated.

The facts in the case were captured by way of the Cass County Deputy’s squad car camera and showed that the defendant’s vehicle crossed over the fog line just once as it met the Deputy’s vehicle on a curve.  The Deputy turned around and followed the vehicle and did not observe any other erratic driving or traffic violations but stopped him none-the-less.  Despite very clear law from the Iowa Supreme Court explaining that such driving does NOT create a suspicion that the driver is intoxicated, the prosecution pressed on and the district associate court judge held that the stop was valid.

Even through the defendant qualified for a deferred judgment he forwent that option and instead accepted a conviction to the offense of operating while intoxicated so that he could appeal the case.  Thankfully, the Iowa Court of Appeals applied the well-established law and reversed the conviction finding that the traffic stop violated the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  The full opinion can be accessed at this link.  Here is to a long awaited and well-earned #NFG!