Iowa DUI Laws
In the state of Iowa, a person stopped on suspicion of operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) will be asked to take a chemical test (blood, breath or urine) to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and/or the presence of drugs. If a person refuses testing, or has a BAC above the limit, he or she faces criminal prosecution and loss of driving privileges. OWI laws are complicated, and the consequences of a conviction can be serious. It is highly advisable to have an Iowa OWI attorney protecting your rights and fighting for the best possible resolution to your case.
Criminal penalties for an Iowa OWI conviction may include fines, mandatory jail, driver's license revocation, substance abuse evaluation and treatment and restitution of damages. The exact sentence depends on prior convictions (Iowa looks back 12 years) and other factors. On your first offense, you may get a deferred judgment, deferred sentence or probation in lieu of jail. If your license is revoked you may be eligible for a temporary license with the installation of an ignition interlock device. In order to have your license restored after the revocation period ends, you will have to pay a penalty, complete a course for drunk drivers and undergo a substance abuse evaluation and treatment or rehabilitation services program. A skilled Iowa DUI lawyer will help you navigate this complex set of laws.
It is important to know that there are many things a lawyer can do to help you avoid jail and criminal penalties. For example, your OWI charge could be dismissed because of a medical condition, police mistake or discovery of faulty testing procedures. If you have been charged with OWI, it is best to have an Iowa OWI lawyer by your side.
Iowa DUI/DWI (OWI) Laws and Penalties
State and federal laws in the United States are constantly changing. The following guide is intended solely for informational purposes and should not take the place of the advice of a lawyer. Only a qualified attorney can assess the merits of your case completely and provide an effective plan for counsel.
Blood Alcohol Content/Concentration ("BAC")
Iowa BAC laws may differ from those of other states, as follows.
|Iowa BAC Laws|
|Per Se Violation||BAC of .08 or higher|
|"Zero Tolerance" (BAC for someone under 21)||.02 or higher|
|Commercial Driver's License Holder*||.04 or higher (while operating a commercial vehicle)|
|Implied Consent to Submit to a BAC Test|
Administrative License Suspension
Suspension by DMV: immediately following arrest for DUI/DWI; independent of court conviction and suspensions following a court conviction.
Time to file for appeal: You may be able to request a hearing at the DMV to appeal your license suspension, but the time limit for doing so is usually very short (within seven to 15 days after DUI/DWI citation).
|1st Offense||6-month license suspension|
|Subsequent Offenses (within 10 years)||1-year license suspension|
|"Zero Tolerance" (BAC for someone under 21)||60- 90-day license suspension, depending on prior convictions|
|Temporary License||Yes, for 10 days after DUI/DWI citation|
|Limited Privileges Possible||Yes|
|Refusal to Submit to BAC Test|
|1st Offense||1-year license suspension|
|Subsequent Offenses||2-year license revocation|
|"Zero Tolerance" (BAC for Someone Under 21)||1- or 2-year license suspension, depending on prior convictions|
Criminal Court Conviction - Mandatory Fines and Penalties
(Penalties imposed by the criminal court system)
|First DUI/DWI Offense|
|License Suspension||180 days (may have restricted license)|
|Prison Term and Community Service||48 hours to 1 year in jail; maybe community service|
|Fines, Fees, and Surcharges||Approx. $600 to $1,000 or higher**|
|Drug and Alcohol Education, Assessment and Treatment||Potential alcohol education and treatment|
|Second DUI/DWI Offense (within 12 years)|
|License Suspension||1 year (may have restricted license)|
|Prison Term and Community Service||7 days to 2 years in jail; maybe community service|
|Fines, Fees, and Surcharges||Approx. $1,800 to $6,000 or higher**|
|Drug and Alcohol Education, Assessment and Treatment||Mandatory alcohol education and treatment|
|Aggravating Factors that Can Alter DUI/DWI Penalties***|
|Driving with Children in the Car|
|Higher BAC (above the enhanced penalty)|
|Zero Tolerance DUI/DWI|
|Driving While Under the Influence of Drugs|
|Out-of-State DUI/DWI Convictions|
*Restrictions can be placed on a commercial driver's license for any DUI/DWI (even those received while driving non-commercial vehicles).
**Includes only fines, fees, and surcharges imposed by the court upon conviction; excludes court costs, attorneys' fees, mandatory treatment costs, bail, and increased insurance.
***A variety of factors in your specific DUI/DWI situation can alter your penalties beyond what is set out in law. This chart lists some of these aggravating factors.
Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Governors Highway Safety Association, Iowa Department of Transportation