The drug defense attorneys at GRL Law prove once again that preparation is everything when it comes to implied consent testing and DOT administrative hearings. This is especially true when it involves professional CDL drivers and forensic drug testing.
In this case, a DOT officer assigned to an I-35 weigh station in North Iowa believed he had reasonable grounds to invoke implied consent and request a urine sample under Iowa Code section 321J.6 based on the discovery of a small amount of marijuana and an admission to smoking the previous evening. When the sample came back positive for non-impairing metabolites of THC, the DOT moved to revoke the driver’s non-resident driving privileges. If the revocation was upheld, the driver’s CDL would have been disqualified for one year.
After thoroughly reviewing all dash and body camera videos, we discovered the following:
- No evidence of impaired driving or parking
- No evidence of impaired fine dexterity
- No bloodshot or watery eyes
- No slurred or mumbled speech
- No flushed facial complexion
- No clues of impairment on HGN
- VGN not administered
- No clues of impairment on Walk and Turn
- No clues of impairment on One Leg Stand
- PBT negative (0.000) for alcohol
- No dilated or constricted pupils
- No odor of burnt marijuana
- No raised heat bumps on tongue
- No “green tongue syndrome”
- The DOT officer was ARIDE certified to detect clues of impairment by drugs other than alcohol
- The DOT officer inquired about DRE officer availability but did not request assistance
- Lack of Convergence was not administered
- Modified Romberg Balance was not administered
- Finger to Nose not administered
- No body or eyelid tremors
- No swaying
- No pupil rebound dilation
- No temperature check
- No blood pressure check
- No pulse check
- No muscle tone check
- No euphoria
- No visibly excited emotions
- No loss of control of bodily actions or motions
- No impaired judgment
- No impairment in reasoning or mental ability
To his credit, the DOT officer agreed with each and every one of the above points at the hearing. The question became whether the discovery of marijuana and a single admission of use nearly 16 hours prior, standing alone, were enough to support reasonable grounds to request a urine sample.
Under this record, the administrative law judge found we met our burden in proving reasonable grounds were not present. As a result, the revocation for a positive urine test was rescinded and removed from his Iowa driving record. This keeps his CDL from being disqualified.
When your CDL privileges are on the line, you can count on GRL Law to aggressively defend any sanction imposed by the Iowa DOT.