Iowa Court of Appeals Throws Out Operating While Intoxicated Conviction

Adel, Dallas County, Iowa.  The Iowa Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of GRL Law’s client’s operating while intoxicated conviction, concluding that the Waukee and West Des Moines police officers entrance into the client’s residence was illegal.  At the district court level, the prosecution claimed that the officers were justified in entering the residence without a warrant under the “hot pursuit” doctrine.  However, GRL Law established that the officers were not in immediate pursuit of the client when they entered the house and consequently, that justification was not valid.  On appeal, the prosecution argued that consent was given, justifying the officers entry.  The Court of Appeals disagreed and made a point to emphasize that if the State wishes to rely on the consent exception to the warrant requirement, the individual’s consent must be clear and unequivocal.  In this case, the officers announced that they were going to enter the residence and the client simply acquiesced to their directives.  Mere acquiescence to a claim of lawful authority is insufficient to establish a constitutionally valid consent.  All evidence obtained as a result of the officer’s illegal entry will be excluded from the case when it is sent back down to the district court level.