What is first offense marijuana possession in Iowa?
Simple possession of marijuana in Iowa is still illegal and conviction carries with it a minimum jail sentence and a driver's license revocation. 

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What is the One Leg Stand Field Sobriety Test in Iowa? 
The One Leg Stand is one of a battery of standardized field sobriety tests in the State of Iowa.

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Can I ride a motorized bicycle without a license in Iowa?
Iowa defines motorcycles, bicycles, and motorized bicycles diffrently from one another and from other States. Get informed before you make a purchase.

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If I got stopped and the officer didn't cite me for the original purpose of the stop, is s/he hiding something?


Officers use "pretext" to bootstrap investigations for alcohol and narcotics investigations on stopped cars. Sometimes they don't cite a motorist for the original stop.

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What will go on in my Cedar Rapids, Iowa criminal prosecution?
Many defendants and their loved ones are confused by all the court dates involved in an Iowa criminal case.

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Are OWI Field Sobriety Tests 'FAIR' 
Many aspects of life are unfair. Here's why standardized field sobriety tests also fit that bill.

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What are the Odds of My Case? 
Cedar Rapids Criminal Lawyer David A. Cmelik Law PLC explains the $64 million question nearly every one asks during an initial consultation. 

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What is 'domestic abuse' relationship mean in Iowa prosecutionj?
Domestic abuse assaults are defined by the relationship between the alleged assault victim and the defendant. 


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Can I carry a Gun in my car without a permit? 
What is and what is not okay with regard to the carrying of weapons in Iowa. 

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Should I Represent myself in an Iowa Criminal Case? 
Some people might want to try to go it alone in a criminal prosecution. It's a personal choice but here's something to think about.

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Does an Officer Need Probable Cause to Conduct a Traffic Stop?
An officer needs a good reason to conduct a traffic stop. But does that mean he or she needs probable cause?

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Did I drink too much on New Year's Eve?
Some of my colleagues are suggesting a "three drink limit" on New Year's Eve, implying that it's "safe" to drive after three drinks. Is that true? 

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Arrested for marijuana Possession? 
Some things are important in an Iowa marijuana possession case. Some things aren't.

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What is a 'Speedy Trial' in Iowa? 
A speedy trial is codified in the United States Constitution as well as Article I Section 10 of the Iowa Constitution. But what does it really mean? 

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Should I have Refused or Tested on the Datamaster DMT?
The decision to provide a test result or refuse a Datamaster DMT in an Iowa OWI is a personal decision affected by facts on the ground and the science of alcohol absorption and metabolization. 

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Possession is a many splendored Thing 
Possession is an huge part of the criminal law. Trace its history back to the 1800s in Iowa and find out what it really means to criminally possess something in the State of Iowa. 

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What is the Initial Appearance in an Cedar Rapids, Iowa Criminal Prosecution?
Sometimes the names of court dates and appearances can be confusing. Assume you have to go to all of them unless your attorney notifies you otherwise in writing to avoid confusion, but here's a helpful roadmap.

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When do I have to go to court?
Criminal cases have a lingo all their own. Court appearances are named for different things. Find out what's what here.


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What is An "ALFORD" PLEA IN IOWA?
The Constitution does not forbid defendants from pleading guilty without admitting they committed the crime-- if the guilty plea is the product of a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary choice between two alternative courses open to the defendant. 

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Can I Be Convicted without a Datamaster DMT test result?
The presumptive level of intoxication in the State of Iowa is .08 grams per 210 L breath or the same amount per 100 L blood. Can I be convicted with less? 

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WHat's the Difference Among OWI, DUI, and DWI?
Iowa calls its drunk driving statute "operating while under the influence," or, OWI, but other State's may have different acronyms. 


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Can a defendant challenge a search warrant? 
Warrants are nearly bullet proof. But there are ways to challenge them and your lawyer should examine the warrant and the application and affidavit closely to determine any defects.

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What if I Disagree with the Police Report?
Receiving a police report in the mail after the beginning of a prosecution can be a frustrating experience. Afterall, a criminal defendant will seldom agree with everything a law enforcement officer writes in such a document.

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THE LONELY CHAIR: OWI (DUI) PROCESSING IN IOWA
The chair next to the desk has a special, shared meaning for OWI defendants across the State. 


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What does it mean to be an 'Eastern Iowa criminal Defense Lawyer' 
I describe my experience as an Iowa Criminal Defense attorney. 


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What do Body Cams mean for Iowa Criminal Defense and in particular for OWI (DUI)?
I describe my experience with body cameras in a recent OWI (DUI) case in Iowa. 


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Do I want an "aggressive" criminal defense?
The criminal justice system is an adversarial system in which two or more parties are represented in the courtroom. But is it aggressive and does a client need an "aggressive" criminal defense? An explanation of why battlefield metaphor is misplaced in the courtroom. 

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What is Rape in Iowa?
Rape is not a legal term of art in the State of Iowa. Instead, the Iowa Code defines acts of sexual aggression in terms of sexual abuse. 

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Pretrial Publicity Almost Always Helps the STate
A change of venue is a little bit like a unicorn . We've all heard of them but rarely are they seen. 

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What is Iowa Courts online and can I use it to keep track of my loved one's prosecution?
It is important to stay informed during a loved one's prosecution. Here's one way how to keep educated while staying in touch with your defendant's lawyer.

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What is Domestic Assault in Iowa?
Domestic assault is treated differently than simple assault in Iowa. 

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What is Evidence? 
Seems like a silly question. But drill down on it and it is a little more confusing to the uninitiated. 

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Can a crime victim decide not to press charges?
I frequently hear this question from prospective clients . . . 

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Flat Fees and Other Questions from a Prospective Client
I got a call over the weekend from a prospective OWI (DUI) client. Here's what I learned . . . 

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Why I Call myself a Cedar Rapids OWI Charge Lawyer
I call myself a Cedar Rapids OWI charge lawyer . . . 

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What is an OWI (DUI) Charge in Iowa?
Many states prohibit "drunk driving." In Iowa, operating while intoxicated is an offense that can occur without ever driving a car on a public roadway. 

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Iowa County criminal defense in Marengo, Iowa
The Iowa County Courthouse in Marengo, Iowa, is part of the Sixth Judicial District. I have both appellate and trial court-level cases in that jurisdiction

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Iowa DHS to Mandatory Reporters: Report non-criminal sex
The Iowa DHS directs mandatory reporters to break privilege to report to DHS and law enforcement the sex acts of minors aged 14 to 18—even though some such acts may not even be criminal under Iowa law.

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Can I open carry in Iowa?
My answer to this is qualified. It is not wise to open carry in Iowa and I do not recommend it. It will cause panic among those unfamiliar or opposed to firearms.

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Does lawyering up spell
g-u-i-l-t-y? 
In The Town, bank robbers in the opening scene force an assistant bank manager to open the vault and later abduct and release her after they are safely away. 

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What is a prescription drug defense in an Iowa OWI (DUI) case? 
Under Iowa law, an OWI (DUI) defendant may present a prescription drug defense to the fact finder. The defense derives from statute.

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Should a defendant talk to Iowa DHS about abuse allegation?
The target of a child sex abuse investigation in Iowa may also be “invited” to share his or her version of events with a Department of Human Services representative.

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Constructive Possession UpdatE: still falling out of favor
I have blogged before that I believe the Iowa Court of Appeals is disfavoring the concept of “constructive possession” of marijuana in the State of Iowa. By constructive possession, the court refers to the legal construct of possessory attribution . . . 
Should a suspect talk to the police?
Mr. Suspect just arrived home after a long day at work to find a police detective’s business card ever so carefully protruding from the space between the front door and its frame. On the back is scribbled the phrase, “Call my cell– Need to Speak with you ASAP,” or something similar. What’s a person to do?

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Dirty Laundry: should a criminal defendant talk to the media?
Cause we all know that ‘crap is king’ Give us dirty laundry -Don Henley Dirty Laundry No. First, you can’t control the press. It’s a genie in a bottle. Once you open it, say goodbye to your message.

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Suspensions, Revocations, and Barments: Oh, My!

I sometimes get calls to my Cedar Rapids Iowa criminal law practice from potential clients who have been told that they are "suspended" from driving. 

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Should a Defendant Stick with the Public Defender?

Cost and criminal law experience are both very big justifications for sticking with the public defender system.

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Second Time OWI-what now?
So you’ve been arrested for a second offense operating while intoxicated. Your last offense was within the last years and, perhaps you even received a deferred judgment or used the weekend program at a local Iowa community college to avoid jail time for your first offense.

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Meth Clean Up Sites: Are they really as bad as the Government says they are? 

I'm not a scientist. Let's get that out of the way right now. But I have been personally present when a prosecutor made scientific arguments and in court about the purportedly substantially negative impact that methamphetamine dump sites have on the environment.

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Benton County Criminal Defense: By the Numbers
I’m an Iowa criminal defense attorney licensed to practice Iowa criminal defense throughout the State of Iowa but I have spent considerable amounts of time as a practicing Benton County criminal defense lawyer in Vinton, Iowa.

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Cell Phone Cases Will Dramatically Alter Landscape of Warrantless Data Mining
I am eagerly awaiting the review by the United States Supreme Court of a pair of decisions involving the warrantless search and seizure of digital smartphone contents by law enforcement

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By the Numbers: A Jones County Criminal Defense
 Nestled in the rolling hills that served as the subject matter for Grant Wood’s idyllic farm depictions is the City of Anamosa. 

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OWI-IS IT THE END OF THE ROAD?
 No. Many first-time OWI defendants want to get the ordeal over with the night after an arrest.

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Child Sex abuse: the new war on drugs
Every poor policy craves a bogeyman. The unsuccessful War on Drugs, siphoning billions of dollars from education, infrastructure, and rehabilitation, is (hopefully) taking its last breaths. 

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Taxman: How the State Can Tax You and Jail You for Possessing the Same Drug
Cause I'm the Tax Man, Yeah, I'm the Tax Man

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Your lawyer should have a basic understanding of the scientific and mechanical evidence at issue in your criminal prosecution and the ability to seek out expert witness testimony on more complicated matters. Mr. Cmelik has used scientific evidence and expert witnesses to explain complex subjects to the jury including firearms and accident reconstruction. The following blogs are drawn from the experience of attorney David Cmelik but should not in any way be considered legal advice. No attorney client privilege is established by reading a blog or by sending information to an attorney over the Internet.  

 KNOWLEDGE + COMMUNICATION = VALUE

cedar rapids / iowa city criminal defense

Can the Police Pull Me Over for OWI When I SlidE on Ice? 

Law enforcement may conduct a traffic stop for any violation of the rules of the road. They use pretextual stops to escalate and elevate citations and warnings for minor traffic violations to full blown drunk driving investigations.

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Should I seek a deferred or the weekend program in a first time OWI?
If and when the decision has been made to seek a plea agreement in a first-time OWI in Iowa, there are options. 

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I just had a 'couple drinks' and still got arrested for OWI. Is that right?
Most people answer "a couple drinks" when asked at the roadside by a police officer how much alcohol they've consumed. The rough 'science' of alcohol absorption and metabolization has taught me their not fibbing.

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Is a $3,000 retainer for 'the other guy' too much for a first Time OWI?  
A $3,000 retainer might be too much if you're likely to resolve your case with a plea agreement early in the prosecution. Here's why. 

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Will the Judge Throw Out Evidence at My Jury Trial? 

Sometimes police collect evidence illegally. How can a Cedar Rapids criminal defendant seek to have such evidence thrown out?

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Can an Officer "Fake" the reason for the stop to Make Personal Contact with a Driver?
The NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Test Manual acknowledges that one phase in DUI sobriety testing is making personal contact. This is how police officers get there. 

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What is the 'HGN' EYE TEST IN AN IOWA OWI (DUI)?
The HGN is one of a battery of standardized field sobriety tests in the State of Iowa

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Can a Police Officer Bootstrap a more serious investigation from a minor fix it ticket?
Can a police officer conduct a traffic stop for a minor equipment violation and then bootstrap a more serious investigation? 

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Can the Police look inside my car during a traffic stop?
Officers pay close attention to what they can see through the windows of an automobile. They often assert an exception to the warrant requirement, called "plain view," that is a legal conclusion for a judge to make.

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What is the Walk and Turn Field Sobriety Test in Iowa? 
The Walk and Turn is one of a battery of standardized field sobriety tests in the State of Iowa.

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Why are the POlice in Cedar Rapids and Linn County Iowa arresting for OWI Before a Datamaster DMT test? 
If the Datamaster DMT test is the only admissible breath test in an Iowa OWI (DUI) prosecution, why are officers arresting test subjects after the PBT but before the Datamaster? 
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Is 'Finder's keepers' a 'Thing?'
Finders keepers and its cousin, "Possession is Nine Tenths of the Law" are dangerous myths. Here's why. 

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What is Operating While Under the Influence of a Drug in Iowa?
The prohibition on operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, or, under the influence, in Cedar Rapids and other Iowa communities applies to controlled substances and a combination of alcohol and drugs. 

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Should I Ask My Neighbor What Lawyer to Hire? 
Friends, neighbors, and coworkers are often the first to recommend "their" lawyer. Ask piercing questions of these recommendations. 

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wHAT WILL mY bOND bE IF i AM aRRESTED? 

The Iowa Supreme Court has established a uniform bond schedule for the release of defendants prior to an initial appearance when court is not in session.


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Can a Suspect Control the Investigation against HIM?  
What can a suspect do to try to steer himself down the swiftly moving river of a criminal investigation? 

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How Does the criminal code define and classify theft? 
Theft is defined variously by Iowa criminal code and classified by value.

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How Does the Court Decide I'm Entitled to Court Appointed Counsel? 
The Court has a formula based on a federal government statistic to determine 'indigency' under Iowa criminal law.

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What's the Difference Among initial Appearances, Preliminary hearings, and arraignments?
A Cedar Rapids criminal lawyer explains the difference among initial appearances, preliminary hearings, and arraignments.

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What is a 'Trial Information' in Iowa Criminal Law?
The Iowa criminal code and the criminal rules of procedure have some strange names for things that everyone else has already named differently somewhere else. One example is the "Trial Information" which is commonly called an "indictment" in places east and west.

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Should I have Refused the PBT or Datamaster DMT? 
A Cedar Rapids criminal lawyer explains what it means to refuse the PBT and, later, the Datamaster DMT.

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What is Assault? 
There are multiple ways to commit an assault in Iowa. 

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What is a "Lascivious Act" in Iowa?


The Iowa criminal law has many names for sex offenses. Lascivious acts is just one such phrase. 


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Should I Hire a Cedar Rapids Criminal Lawyer or a Generalist?
The relationship between an attorney and a client is complex. While generalists are to be commended for knowing much about many different areas of the law, they do not limit themselves exclusively to the criminal law.

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How do I get my Car Back After a Cedar Rapids OWI (DUI)?
A Cedar Rapids OWI (DUI) is a traumatic event not the least of which because law enforcement enlist a third-party tow agency to seize and maintain custody of the vehicle unless and until it is released. 

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When can an officer ask for a PBT? 
A law enforcement officer will usually end a battery of standardized field sobriety tests with a request to provide a preliminary breath test sample in the field.

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OWI/DUI defendants will feel alone -- But they're Not
Not the first, and not the last, but an Iowa DUI/OWI defendant is an individual who deserves individualized attention and zeal in their criminal defense.

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ARE POLICE MISUSING THE PBT AS A 'DRUG DETECTOR?'
Some SFST administrators think they have the corner on spotting intoxication even before they complete the full battery of SFSTs-- that includes the PBT. They use the PBT merely to distinguish intoxicants. Or so they say. 

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What is a "Sex Act" For Purposes of Iowa Criminal Law?
Some sex offenses require the commission of a sex act. Find out what it is here.

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Make it to the County Line: Does Jurisdiction matter?
For crimes committed in Iowa, the city limits or the county line may not matter if an officer sees a crime in progress.

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Criminal Mischief in Iowa
Criminal mischief includes offenses that damage property--
otherwise known in everyday language as "vandalism."

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Carrying Weapons in Iowa
Many people understand that the Iowa Code criminalizes the carrying of a concealed firearm in Iowa without a valid carry permit. Pursuant to Iowa Code § 724.4, “a person who goes armed . . .

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Why confessions should be inadmissible
While there is no specific evidenatiary reference to the admissibility of "confessions" ...

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Can the police just walk a dog around my car like that without a warrant? 
As Iowa appellate courts have noted, “[t]he law surrounding dog sniffs is long-standing and well-settled."

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What's the difference between felonies and misdemeanors in Iowa?
Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors in Iowa. 

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OWI (DUI) defenses in cedar rapids, Iowa
There are but a few DUI defenses in the State of Iowa. Here's a few to consider if you or a loved one have been arrested for OWI here.


Does a deferred judgment completely seal
Not necessarily. In Iowa, an officer only needs "reasonable suspicion" that a crime is afoot or contraband is presence to conduct what is known as a Terry stop.

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The officer didn't have probable cause to stop me: is my case dismissed? 
Not necessarily. In Iowa, an officer only needs "reasonable suspicion" that a crime is afoot or contraband is presence to conduct what is known as a Terry stop.

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What is the difference between robbery and burglary in Iowa?
I sometimes hear people confuse robbery with burglary. This is usually in the context of a homeowner casually mentioning that they want to prevent their house from "getting robbed” while they are gone on vacation. Houses cannot be robbed. They can, however, be burglarized.

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What is robbery in Iowa?
Under Iowa Code Chapter 711.1, a robbery is (1) an assault; or (2) a threat with the purpose of placing another in fear of a serious injury; or (3) a threat of a forcible felony paired with the intent to commit a theft. It matters not whether something was actually stolen.

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Can a protected party lift a no-contact order?

I was standing at the Clerk of Court criminal window today and a woman came asking for help on how to obtain a lift on a criminal no-contact order in what I could only assume was a domestic abuse case.

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Do I have any special pretrial release conditions?
Pretrial release conditions are generally imposed to ensure the protection of the community and the defendant's appearance at  future court dates. 
Who is the criminal judge in my Linn County Iowa criminal case?

There are many judges who can handle a criminal case in Linn County, Iowa. First, if the case is a simple misdemeanor or traffic offense, it is likely that the judge will be a magistrate. 

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Does a criminal defendant get to pick his own jury?

Trick question. A criminal defendant gets to deselect potential jurors with something called a "strike." Prosecutors may not strike potential jurors solely because of race. That would trigger a so-called Batson​ challenge.

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If the protected party in a no-contact order calls me, is it okay?
The 2010 thriller Unstoppable starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine chasing  down a runaway train has all the ingredients of a Hollywood blockbuster—including an obligatory male bonding moment.

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Does a plea agreement guarantee a result?
Not necessarily. A plea agreement is an agreement of the parties to a criminal lawsuit that typically requires the State to make a recommendation to the Court in exchange for the Defendant’s guilty plea to the charges as they stand, lesser charges, or substituted charges.

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Text Messages are Exhibit A in any Prosecution
Text messages are not a good idea for people who engage in criminal activity. Most people, of course, think neither about their not-so-finest moments nor the text messages they send off in immediate, rapid-fire fashion either before or after those moments. Hence, text messages can and do become Exhibit A.

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Dope on the Floorboards: is constructive possession falling out of favor in Iowa?
Officer Friendly and Partner activate their marked patrol car top lights to initiate a traffic stop. Civilian driver pulls over. Three passengers are along for the ride. Officers don’t like the cut of the automobile occupants’ clothes.

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Juvenile Sentencing Options Evolving in Iowa
The law on juvenile delinquency is evolving rapidly in the nation and in the State of Iowa. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that mandatory life sentences for juvenile offenders are cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

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Johnny Cash was Right: Don't Take Your guns to Town
In 1958, Johnny Cash wrote a cowboy ballad aptly titled, "Don't Take Your Guns to Town." A mother implores her son-- who is itching to come of age and get off the farm-- to leave his guns at home when he goes to town to taste his first hard liquor.

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Suicidality not sign of guilt in child sex abuse cases
We probably each know someone who has attempted to end or ended their existence on this planet by choice. If it happens as the result of a false accusation of child sex abuse, there are some bystanders who would scoff and suggest that the act or attempt was a cowardly sign of guilt.

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Cell Phones, Suspicionless Searches, and the New, Wild, Wild West

Smart phones have as much or more power than laptop computers of a decade ago. They have replaced the old-fashioned Rolodex.

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Prosecutorial Overcharging: Nothing New Under the Sun

Overcharging has likely been a fact of prosecutors' (and criminal defendants') lives since the beginning of prosecution.

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Marijuana Possession: Student Financial Aid Still at Risk
First time marijuana possession in the State of Iowa is a serious misdemeanor punishable by at a minimum 48 hours in jail, a fine ranging from $315 to $1000, and a jail sentence no greater than six months on a first offense.

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Understanding Iowa assaults
The law on assaults in Iowa is interesting and multifaceted. It takes a reading of the Iowa Code to break it down. 

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Iowa Criminal Law Articles