The Iowa Supreme Court has rejected two unusual challenges of drunk driving convictions. 

The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled authorities can use a computer system to get accused drunken drivers to sign the paperwork for breath or blood alcohol tests. The court ruled in two cases, one involving a state trooper’s arrest of a suspected drunken driver in Crystal Lake in 2008. The other case, from 2007, involved a drunken driving arrest in West Des Moines.

In both cases the authorities used a computer screen to record the responses of the man in Crystal Lake and the woman in West Des Moines. A stylus or wand was used to respond to commands on the screen, and then the stylus was used by the accused to make an electronic signature. The two defendants argued that process didn’t meet the requirements of state law, that an accused drunken driver be allowed to read a “text” and put their signature on the consent form for the tests. 

The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled it is the “clear intention of our legislature for the meaning of ‘writing’ to continue to evolve to recognize the realities of our information age.” The court rejected the two defendants’ arguments, meaning their drunken driving convictions will stand.

The Supreme Court’s opinion in the Crystal Lake drunken driving case outlines the history of drunken driving laws in Iowa, noting it’s been illegal to drive drunk here since 1911.