The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld the drunken driving conviction of a man caught at an Iowa State football game. Two Iowa State University police officers were working foot patrol in the parking lots near Cyclone Stadium during a night game on August 28 of 2008.
The officers noticed a car driving through the busy parking lot without its headlights on. One of the officers walked to the car and tapped on the window to tell the driver to turn on his lights. The driver, Erik Rave, rolled down his window and the officers noticed Rave looked like he had been drinking.
Rave failed a field sobriety test, and later refused to give a breath test at the police station. Rave was convicted of drunk driving, but sought to have the stop of his car thrown out as illegal. He said the officers had no legal reason to stop him because he was in a private paid parking lot and the law requiring use of headlights on public highways after sundown did not apply.
Prosecutors agreed that there was no traffic violation because Rave was in a private parking lot, but said officers had probable cause to stop Rave as he posed a danger to the people in the parking lot. The district court agreed. The Court of Appeals ruled that officers had a right to stop Rave under the “community caretaking” function as they were concerns Rave would be unable to see a pedestrian. The court also said the public’s needs and interests outweighed the intrusion on Rave’s privacy, and upheld the stop as legal.
See the entire court ruling on the Iowa Courts website.