Thursday, September 16, 2010

Computer Screen Satisfies Written Request Requirement of 321J.6(1)

State v. Fischer, no. 09-0338 (Iowa July 23, 2010).

Fischer was arrested for operating while intoxicated and the arresting officer used the TraCS computer program on a laptop computer to administer the implied consent procedures.

As part of the procedure Fischer marked a box on the computer screen that said he consented to the request for specimen, and signed on the screen with a stylus. A breath sample produced a BAC of 0.157.

Fischer filed a motion to suppress the results, arguing that the TraCS system did not meet the 'written request' requirement of Iowa Code section 321J.6(1) (2007), and the Hancock County court bought his argument. This appeal followed.

The question before the court was whether use of a computer screen rather than a written document satisfied the 'written request' portion of the statute.

The Court determined that the written request is procedural and ensures that an accurate and reliable record of a pre-test request was made. It held that written-request requirement of 321J.6(1) was satisfied by the use of the computer screen.

Information about the TraCS system can be found at


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