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Iowa DUI Information

Most people are familiar with the term DUI, which is the abbreviated form used to describe driving under the influence.  In Iowa, this is also sometimes referred to as OWI, which means operating while intoxicated.  If an individual’s blood alcohol content is determined to be .08%, or higher, he/she is guilty of OWI in Iowa.

First time offenders are charged with a misdemeanor and face a minimum of 48 hours up to a maximum of one year incarceration.  If the offender has no previous license revocations within the previous 12 years, his/her license will be revoked for a period of 180 days.  In addition, they may also be imposed with a fine of up to $1,000.00, up to $500.00 of which may be waived by the judge providing the act of OWI did not result in personal injury or property damage.  In lieu of the fine amount that is waived, the court may order the offender to perform community service.

Every offender will be ordered to complete a drug/alcohol evaluation and treatment program as recommended by the court.  In addition, they may be required to participate in a course for drunk drivers and attend a victim’s panel.  Before requesting license reinstatement, each offender will have to provide proof of completion for all of the above mentioned sessions.

In some instances, an individual may be able to apply for a temporary restricted license even if his/her license has been revoked for OWI.  If the blood alcohol content was proven to be between .08% and .10%, and a crash was not involved that caused personal injury to another person or property, the offender may not be required to apply an ignition interlock device to their vehicle.  This type of unit is installed to prevent the offender from driving his/her vehicle if any alcohol is present in their system.  The installation, which is sometimes required, is done at the offender’s expense.  If the blood alcohol content is determined to be between .10% and .15%, an ignition interlock device is required in order to receive a restricted license.  This type of special permit allows the offender to operate his/her motor vehicle in certain circumstances, including to and from work, school, medical appointments and court ordered treatment sessions.

In some instances, including a first offender whose blood alcohol content was determined to be less than .15% after consenting to testing and did not cause personal injury, a deferred judgement may be entered.  This is only available to first offenders.  Youthful offenders, on the other hand, are considered to be intoxicated with a blood alcohol content of .02% or higher.  In addition to a 60 day license suspension, additional criminal penalties may be imposed at the discretion of the court.

Following a guilty plea or a verdict of the same, offenders will likely face additional problems with their insurance carrier.  Rates should be expected to increase dramatically or, in the worst case, the policy may be canceled altogether.  The driver will be labeled as “high risk” and may have difficulty finding another carrier to provide them with a policy which, if found, will be very costly due to the conviction.





DISCLAIMER: This website provides only general information intended to be a starting point for most legal issues. This information is not legal advice, nor is it intended to create any binding advisory relationship. Do not take action based upon this information unless you consult with an attorney or other specialist.