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  • Writer's pictureDavid A. Cmelik Law PLC

Cedar Rapids DUI Lawyer: March Breathalyzer results

During the month of March, there have been 39 Datamaster DMT breath tests administered at the Linn County Correctional Center Sobriety Testing and OWI Processing Center, or, “STOP” Office. Of these 39, one was a “blank error,” one was a refusal, and another was considered “incomplete.” Twenty-one tests were attributed to those identifying as male and 17 identifying as female.

Under Iowa Code § 321J.5, a law enforcement officer who has reasonable grounds to conclude a motorist has operated a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol may seek a preliminary, or, portable breath test in the field. When sum total grounds including this preliminary breath test comprise further reasonable grounds to conclude impairment, the officer may invoke “implied consent” pursuant to Iowa Code § 321J.6—the law that purports all licensed drivers operating on Iowa’s roads, streets, and highways impliedly consent to waive the Fourth Amendment right to be free from a warrantless search of their breath, blood, and/or urine if a law enforcement officer so concludes. Such implied consent can be withdrawn but the “privilege” to operate on Iowa’s roads, streets, and highways will be impacted to a greater extent for such refusal.

Implied consent allows an officer to temporarily detain the motorist for further testing a jail or law enforcement center to impose the motorist’s decision to consent or refuse—and the testing that goes along with consent. In Cedar Rapids and Linn County, this is commonly at the Linn County Correctional Center.


From March 1 to March 27, law enforcement agencies including the Linn County Sheriff, Cedar Rapids Police, and other surrounding municipal departments used Datamaster DMT serial number 100225 a total of 39 times. In Johnson County, including Iowa City, law enforcement used similar machines twice as frequently in the same period of time.


Because the Datamaster DMT tests a given breath sample twice, there are two values for every confirmed test. The average of each of these two tests in this March time period was .167257 and .1666 g ETOH/210 L breath, respectively. Law enforcement, prosecutors, and the Iowa DOT use the lower of the two values in any given case to make determinations, respectively.


The Datamaster DMT has a stated margin of error of +/- .004 or five percent of the test result, which ever is greater. The Iowa DOT applies the margin of error if the result to determine whether a revocation of the motorist’s privilege to operate will be revoked. However, the criminal court, which is separate litigation, will not do so to determine criminal culpability and the applicability, for example, of the deferred judgment statute. Deferred judgments are front loaded expungements that may not be granted if the motorist refuses or provides a breath, blood, or urine sample with an alcohol concentration of more than .15 g ETOH/210 L breath.


If you have been arrested for Operating While Intoxicated, or, OWI, Iowa’s drunk driving law, contact us for an initial consultation.



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