RURAL CERRO GORDO COUNTY – On April 23rd, 2012 a State Patrol Officer made a traffic stop in Cerro Gordo County on a vehicle driven by 27-year-old Vincent Allen Dowdell of Hampton. The trooper allegedly smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the car, and after a search of the vehicle found marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the vehicle. There was at least on child in the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop.
In the criminal complaint, the trooper indicated Dowdell failed a field sobriety test designed to detect drug use. Dowdell was taken to a local medical facility where he submitted to blood testing under Iowa’s implied consent statutes.
After obtaining a blood test specimen Dowdell was transported to the Cerro Gordo County Jail and charged with a serious misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana, and a simple misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Dowdell was released the following day after an agent with North Iowa Bonding posted a $1,000 bond in his name.
On June 20th, 2012 Assistant County Attorney Rachel Anne Ginbey filed additional charges after the state crime lab returned the blood test results showing Dowdell’s THC blood level to be consistent with being under the influence of marijuana as the state trooper suspected following field sobriety testing in April.
In accordance with Iowa law, Dowdell was charged with a serious misdemeanor count of 1st offense OWI, and an aggravated misdemeanor count of child endangerment for the April traffic stop.
Dowdell originally pled not guilty to all four charges and a trial date was set. Before the trial Dowdell’s public defender requested a suppression hearing in an attempt to have evidence obtained in the case withheld from use in the pending trial. After the prosecution resisted the motion, Dowdell’s public defender withdrew the motion before it was ruled on.
At a pre-trial conference a plea bargain agreement was reached between the prosecution and the defense. As part of the plea bargain agreement Dowdell agreed to plead guilty to operating while under the influence of marijuana and child endangerment for having kids in the car while he operated the vehicle. The prosecution agreed to not pursue the original charges of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia in exchange.
At Dowdell’s sentencing hearing on Friday, February 15th, newly appointed District Associate Judge Karen Kaufman Salic sentence Dowdell to serve 2 days in county jail for operating while under the influence of marijuana. Dowdell was also ordered to pay a $1250.00 fine, $437.50 surcharge, and $190.00 in court costs.
On the more serious aggravated misdemeanor count of child endangerment Judge Salic sentence Dowdell to a 365 days in jail with all but 2 days suspended. Judge Salic then suspended the minimum $625 fine in the case, instead ordering Dowdell to pay $441 in court costs and public defender fees. In addition Dowdell must serve 2 years of probation with the Iowa Department of Corrections.
Dowdell has a record of being a violent individual who has a history of violating probation and has a problem with paying court imposed fines. Dowdell’s criminal record in Iowa started before he turned 18:
December 2002 Dowdell was charged with an aggravated misdemeanor count of Assault with Intent to Inflict Serious Injury in Butler County Iowa. Dowdell received a deferred judgment in the case with probation and anger management classes. He was found guilty of violating probation in December 2003.
December 2002 Dowdell was found guilty of a simple misdemeanor count of assault in Franklin County Iowa, he received a 30 day suspended jail sentence.
May 2003 Dowdell was charged with a Class D felony count of Intimidation with a Dangerous Weapon in Butler County Iowa. The charge was plea bargained to a simple misdemeanor count of criminal mischief with Dowdell receiving 30 days in jail. $598.91 is still owed in the case nearly a decade later.
July 2004 Dowdell was charged with a serious misdemeanor count of Assault Causing Bodily Injury. The charge was plea bargained to a simple misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct with Dowdell receiving 1 day in jail. $599.99 is still owed in the case.
February 2005 Dowdell was found guilty of a serious misdemeanor count of Domestic Abuse Assault Causing Injury in Floyd County Iowa. He received 7 days in county jail and 1-2 years of probation. Records show he was later discharged from probation after being convicted of another crime.
August 2009 Dowdell was found guilty of a serious misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana in Cerro Gordo County Iowa. He received 2 days in county jail with $501.14 remaining unpaid in court costs and fines.