The Iowa Court of Appeals rules you can have an open container of alcohol if your car is parked in a private lot. Des Moines police searched Lacey Brown’s car in 2013 after noticing an open container of alcohol inside.
Officers found a half-smoked marijuana cigar under Brown’s seat and she was found guilty of possession of a controlled substance. Brown says officers lacked probable cause to search the car because she was parked in private parking lot.
The district court denied her motion to throw out evidence from the search, but the Iowa Court of Appeals reversed that ruling. The court says the privately-owned parking lot does not fall within the definition of “public street” or “highway” in the Iowa Code section that prohibits open containers of alcohol, so the officers did not have probable cause to search Brown’s car.
Here’s the full ruling: Lacey Brown ruling PDF