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The right to counsel under the Iowa Constitution, as under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, does not attach until formal criminal charges are filed.
Defendant, detained for suspicion of drunk driving, was at the police station on the phone with a lawyer getting advice regarding the implied-consent procedure and his time-sensitive decision whether to refuse the breathalyzer test. The arresting officer declined the defendant's request for privacy during the phone call but told the defendant he could have privacy if the lawyer came to the station. No lawyer arrived in time, and the defendant submitted to the test, which showed his blood alcohol level at .140. Eleven days later, the State charged him with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). Defendant moved to suppress the test result, claiming he was entitled under article I, section 10 of the Iowa Constitution to a private phone consultation with counsel before chemical testing. The district court disagreed, and he was convicted. Defendant appealed his conviction.
Did Iowa Code § 804.20 (2013), by permitting a police officer or jailer to be present while a detainee suspected of drunk driving talked by telephone with a lawyer about whether to submit to chemical testing, violate the right to counsel under Iowa Const. art. I, § 10?
The court affirmed the judgment, holding that the right to counsel under Iowa Const. art. I, § 10 did not attach until formal charges had been filed by the state in court. According to the court, an arresting officer did not violate defendant’s constitutional right to counsel by remaining in the room during the defendant’s telephone call with a lawyer. This limitation of the right to counsel comported with U.S. Supreme Court and Iowa Supreme Court precedent limiting the right to counsel to after adversary proceedings had commenced with the filing of charges. Moreover, this interpretation comported with the text, purpose, and history of art. I, § 10.