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Iowa Legal Update Lesson Summaries

2020 Lesson 10: Legal Update


Release Date:


This is an online, Iowa-specific legal studies course. The lesson addresses recent court decisions providing guidance to Iowa law enforcement officers regarding the following questions:

  • When is a person “seized” for purposes of the Fourth Amendment?

  • If an officer stops a car because it is registered to an unlicensed driver, when may the officer continue to detain the driver who claims not to be the registered owner of the vehicle?

  • What evidence is sufficient to prove constructive possession?

  • If a suspect in custody has not been read the Miranda warnings, when does the public safety exception to the Miranda rule allow an officer to ask questions likely to elicit an incriminating response from the suspect?

  • When may an officer testify that he or she recognized the “odor of marijuana” or the “smell of marijuana”? 

  • As a general rule, does the odor of marijuana constitute probable cause to search a person or car?

The lesson also provides information on a new interpretation from the Iowa Supreme Court of Iowa’s “Theft by Check” Statute.

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