DWI/DUI/OWI - Drunk Driving Laws And Attorneys In Iowa
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DWI/DUI/OWI Laws And Penalties In Iowa
Iowa's OWI or operating while intoxicated law
This law states that it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle in Iowa in
any of the following conditions.
1) While under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or other drug or a
combination of such substances.
2) While having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more.
3) While having any amount of a controlled substance in the body.
The drivers license of a person under age 21 who submits to a
chemical test that indicates an alcohol level of .02 or more, but less than
.08, will be revoked for 60 days on a first violation and 90 days on
subsequent violations. If a person is suspected of operating a motor
vehicle with an alcohol level of .02 or more, and refuses chemical
testing, the driver's license revocation will be one year for a first violation
and two years on a second or subsequent violation. These revocations
(.02/“zero tolerance”) are administrative and are not dependent upon
criminal charges being filed. If a driver's license is revoked for a .02/
“zero tolerance” violation, the driver is not eligible for a temporary
restricted license at any time during the revocation period.
Iowa’s implied consent law
This law states that any person who operates a motor vehicle in the
state agrees to have a blood, breath and/or urine test performed to
determine alcohol level or presence of drugs, whenever a peace officer
has reasonable grounds to believe the person is operating under the
A person who has been requested to submit to a chemical test has the
option of refusing the test, effectively withdrawing their implied consent.
A test is not given, but IDOT must revoke the person's driver's license
upon receipt of the peace officer's certification that the officer had
reasonable grounds to believe the person was operating a motor
vehicle while intoxicated in violation of the law, that specific conditions
existed for chemical testing, and that the person refused to be tested.
The revocation period is for one year if the person has no previous
revocation or two years with a previous revocation. In addition, the
person is ineligible for a temporary restricted license (work permit) for at
least 90 days after the effective date of the revocation if a first offense, or
for at least one year if the person has had a previous revocation. The
person must have an ignition interlock device installed on the person's
vehicle to receive a temporary restricted license.
Administrative drivers license revocation due to chemical test failure
If a person submits to a chemical test and the results indicate the
presence of a controlled substance or other drug, or an alcohol
concentration equal to or above the appropriate legal limit, IDOT must
revoke the person's driver's license for 180 days if the person has had
no previous license revocation. If the person is a first-time offender, the
person is subject to the same license revocation restrictions as a
person who has been convicted of an OWI for the first time. If the person
is under the age of 21, the person cannot apply for a temporary
restricted license for at least 60 days. If the person has had a previous
revocation, the person's license will be suspended for at least one year.
Substance Abuse Evaluations and Treatment
All persons convicted of an OWI offense must undergo a substance
abuse evaluation at the defendant's own expense, and the court must
order the defendant to follow the recommendations of the evaluation. If
the court commits the defendant to a substance abuse treatment facility,
the administrator of the facility shall report to the court when the
defendant has received the maximum benefit from the treatment and the
defendant shall be released from the facility. The defendant's treatment
time shall be credited against the defendant's sentence. The court may
prescribe the length of time for the evaluation and treatment or it may
request that the community college conducting the course for drinking
drivers, which the person is ordered to attend or the treatment program
to which the person is committed, immediately report to the court when
the person has received the maximum benefit from either program or
has recovered from the person's addiction. Upon successfully
completing a course for drinking drivers or an ordered substance abuse
treatment program, a court may place the defendant on probation for six
months and, as a condition of probation, the defendant shall attend a
post treatment program.
A person arrested for second or subsequent OWI offense, or for driving
while their driver's license is revoked for an OWI, may have the motor
vehicle they are operating seized and impounded immediately upon
arrest. The impoundment (or immobilization) continues for at least 180
days, or until the driver’s license revocation is completed, whichever
period is longer. If the vehicle is not impounded at the time of arrest, it
must be impounded or immobilized upon conviction for the second or
subsequent OWI offense. If a vehicle is operated in violation of an order
of impoundment or immobilization, it shall be seized and forfeited to the
state, and operation of the vehicle is a serious misdemeanor.
Iowa Court Penalties And Fines
License Suspension Period In Iowa