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October 2018 Archives

Iowa Supreme Court: DOT officers can't write traffic tickets

Imagine you're headed down the highway and are signaled to pull over by an official state vehicle. It's the Iowa Department of Transportation, and they say they spotted a traffic violation you committed a couple of miles back. They issue you a $150 ticket.

Des Moines police make arrest based on new ballistics machine

Recently, the Des Moines police became the first Iowa police department to install an in-house machine that can analyze shell casings and access a federal ballistic imaging network to identify potential matches with firearms. Now, that system has been used to match a particular handgun to shell casings found at a robbery scene. As a result, an 18-year-old Ankeny man is facing criminal charges.

Keeping Halloween fun and free of criminal charges

For children and parents who go out trick-or-treating or to haunted houses during Halloween, the season is an occasion for fun and creativity. But for older children and teens, Halloween can also lend itself to a degree of mischief that can sometimes border on criminal. It's important to know where the line is between a bit of fun and a potential arrest, so you and your family can keep the holiday lighthearted, and potentially avoid a trip to the local jail.

Can you get arrested for OWI just for sitting in a parked car?

Suppose you've been drinking and had been planning to drive. Realizing you're too intoxicated to do so safely, you decide to avoid driving and sleep it off in your car. To keep warm, you start the engine, but you don't have any plans to drive. While you're asleep, the police notice you. Can they arrest you for OWI just for being in the car while intoxicated?

What are the penalties for OWI in Iowa?

In Iowa, drunk driving is considered "operating while intoxicated," or OWI. It is defined as operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, a drug, or a combination of substances. A blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 is considered "per se" OWI, as is having "any amount" of a controlled substance in one's system.

When is threatening speech protected by the First Amendment?

The First Amendment protects us from being prosecuted or persecuted by the government for what we say -- our opinions, our arguments and our rants. That said, not all speech is protected by the First Amendment. Fraud, plagiarism, defamation, perjury and solicitation to commit crimes are all examples of speech that is not protected. Also, incitement to imminent lawless action and true threats fall outside the First Amendment's protection.

Even with more legalization, marijuana arrests were up last year

Someone was arrested for a marijuana offense every 48 seconds in 2017, according to new data from the FBI. Arrests for marijuana offenses rose across the U.S. last year even as more states legalized the drug. Moreover, the increase was driven by arrests for mere possession.

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