A ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court changes the way alleged drunken boaters are handled.
The case involved Dale Dean Pettijohn Junior, who was stopped on Saylorville Lake in 2013 after a conservation officer noticed a woman sitting at the back of his pontoon boat in what he deemed to be a dangerous position.
Pettijohn signed a consent form and gave a breath test that showed his blood alcohol was over the legal limit. The Iowa Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision ruled officers needed to get a warrant for the breathe test as there was no emergency concern that the alcohol in Pettijohn’s system would dissipate.
The court also ruled the information given Pettijohn in the implied consent form was inaccurate as it did not advise him of his constitutional right to withhold consent or the serious criminal penalties that would result if he submitted to the test and failed it. The ruling says the in accurate information made Pettijohn’s consent to the test involuntary.
The Supreme Court ordered a new trial without the breathe test information. The justices also noted that the ruling applies only to drunk boating and does not apply to operating a motor vehicle while drunk.
Here’s the ruling: Drunk Boating ruling PDF