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West Des Moines Iowa Criminal Defense Law Blog

Rap star Fetty Wap charged with drunk driving and street racing

Hip-hop music fans in Iowa and around the country may know Willie Maxwell better by his stage name Fetty Wap. Wap's 'Trap Queen" reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2015, but the 26-year-old rapper was making headlines of a different sort on Nov. 3. That was when officers with the New York City Police Department took Wap into custody on drunk driving, street racing and motor vehicle charges following an alleged early morning street race on a Brooklyn highway.

Police say that Wap, who was behind the wheel of his girlfriend's Mercedes sedan, reached speeds of up to 105 mph and was weaving in and out of traffic as he raced a friend on the Gowanus Expressway at approximately 1:20 a.m. Prosecutors say that Wap admitted to consuming two glasses of cognac at a New Jersey nightspot before getting behind the wheel, and reports stated that the hip-hop star handed over a suspended New Jersey driver's license to officers at the scene.

DUI preliminary hearing: What to expect

There could come a point when you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and brought before a judge.

While a DUI preliminary hearing can be scary in many ways, it's important to realize one thing: You have legal rights and you need to do whatever it takes to protect them.

Police charge 3 with multiple crimes

On Oct. 24, police in North Liberty, Iowa tried to conduct a traffic stop at about 10:30 p.m. on Rustic Ridge Road NE. However, when police tried to make contact with the 23-year-old driver, he took off running. When police searched the vehicle, they found two baggies of cocaine, which was the basis for a search warrant executed at a home on Hodge Street.

When the police arrived at the home on Oct. 25, they found the driver of the vehicle in addition to a 27-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman inside. There was also a variety of drugs including LSD, marijuana and cocaine located in the kitchen and bedroom in addition to drug paraphernalia. There was also a 6-year-old child found in the home who slept on a mattress near where the drugs were kept.

College football players in trouble for marijuana

College football fans in Iowa will not be seeing John Kelly, the leading rusher for the Tennessee Volunteers, for a while. The team suspended the running back along with teammate and linebacker Will Ignont following a traffic stop that resulted in criminal charges for marijuana possession. Police officers stopped Kelly's car because one headlight was not working. Ignont was a passenger.

Officers said that they detected the odor of marijuana and asked to search the vehicle. Kelly reportedly consented to the search that yielded a glass pipe and a small plastic bag that appeared to have some marijuana in it. According to subsequent analysis by law enforcement, the bag contained 4.6 grams of marijuana.

Charged with a DUI? One of these defenses might apply

A conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI) can have a lasting effect on many aspects of your life. For example, if you are a college student your university can suspend you, you might lose access to financial aid, and you may even have problems finding a decent job or a nice apartment with a criminal conviction on your record.

If you are facing a DWI charge, there may be a strong defense available to you. While your attorney will be your best source for a solid defense, read below for some common defenses to drunk driving that might apply to you.

8 search warrants on Iowa residences yield 16 drug arrests

Multiple law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, raided homes in Onawa and Whiting on Oct. 11. Armed with eight separate search warrants, agents searched the homes of suspected drug dealers and users and confiscated drug paraphernalia, weapons, marijuana and methamphetamine.

The sheriff of Monona County said that so far the investigation has resulted in the arrest of 16 people. The suspects' ages ranged from 18 to 55 and included men and women. The court set the bond at $30,000 for one 55-year-old man charged with possessing a controlled substance near a school and possession of methamphetamine. As a previously convicted felon, he also faces charges for possessing a firearm as a felon.

29 lbs of marijuana found in man's gas tank

Iowa residents may be interested to learn that on Oct. 2, a Texas state trooper reportedly found 29 pounds of marijuana stashed in the gas tank of a car during a traffic stop. The trooper stopped the vehicle in question at about 3:15 p.m. in Willacy County.

While conducting the traffic stop, the trooper conducted a search of the 2001 Gray Kia Sorento and found 24 bundles of marijuana inside the gas tank. The street worth of the drugs was estimated to be more than $176,000. The driver of the vehicle was identified as a 22-year-old Brownsville man. He was taken into custody and was transported to Willacy County jail. The man is now facing a felony charge for possession of marijuana.

Drug arrests rise as society wants drug war ended

Judging from national statistics, much Iowa law enforcement work focuses on drug-related activities, especially simple drug possession. The Uniform Crime Report from the FBI identified a 5.63 percent increase in drug arrests in 2016 from 2015. Nationwide in 2016, police took over 1.57 million people into custody on drug charges. These arrests represented more than triple the number of people arrested for all types of violent crimes in the aggregate.

Despite a rising arrest rate and the Trump administration's desire to renew the drug war, public opinion has moved towards decriminalizing drug activity. A report from the Drug Policy Alliance shows that a majority of people want marijuana to be legal. Most people now disapprove of arresting people and locking them up over drug possession.

Officer's demand for illegal blood draw goes viral

When we think about cases where a person has refused a chemical test in drunk driving cases, we may think of a belligerent individual who may be so impaired that they don’t understand the legal consequences of their choice. We certainly don’t think that a person may be charged with a crime even though they were following the law.

Unfortunately, a Salt Lake City emergency room nurse faced criminal charges when she refused to take a blood sample from an unconscious individual who was suspected of committing a crime. The entire ordeal involving a police detective went viral last week after the detective insisted that the sample be taken, despite the lack of consent that could have been obtained. 

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