Iowa drunk driving laws and penalties

Even a first arrest for drunk driving in Iowa might require a driver to spend time in jail, pay fines and use an ignition interlock device.

Drivers in Iowa know that their state can be tough on drunk driving. This is not necessarily a bad thing as keeping people safe is important but equally important is protecting the rights of all people, including those arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Just as with any other criminal arrest, defendants should remember that simply being arrested does not guarantee a conviction. After an arrest happens, it is important to know what penalties may result as the defense process unfolds.

Will I be fined for an OWI in Iowa?

According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety, a driver convicted of a first-time OWI offense may be required to pay a $1,250 fine . It may be possible to avoid this fine in exchange for community service work. The fine may also be able to be reduced if there were no injuries or property damage associated with the alleged drunk driving incident.

Fines for a second OWI offense range from $1,875 to $6,250. For a third offense, people might have to pay between $3,125 and $9,375.

Will I spend time in jail?

A first OWI in Iowa is considered a serious misdemeanor and generally includes a minimum of 48 hours in a jail or an OWI program facility. Jail time may last as long as 12 months for a first offense.

Jail time for a second charge of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated can range from a minimum of seven days to two full years. The minimum jail time for a third offense is 30 days and this can extend to 60 months.

Will I lose my driver's license?

For most people, a revocation of driving privileges happens at least for a short time after a drunk driving arrest or conviction. The length of time varies not only based upon the number of any previous offenses but also based upon the driver's blood alcohol content and whether or not any accident occurred. FieldSobrietyTests.org explains that the field tests given at the site of an arrest are not used in determining a BAC. This information is collected from breath, blood or urine samples only.

A first drunk driving arrest can find a driver facing a 180 day revocation and if ultimately convicted that may last a full year. A temporary license might be obtained and an ignition interlock device may be required. The length of the revocation and required time to use an IID generally increases with each offense, with BACs over 0.14 percent and if a crash has happened.

How can I get help after an OWI arrest?

After being arrested for drunk driving in Iowa, people should always contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Because there are many factors that may play into an OWI arrest and charge, getting help from someone who knows these details well gives drivers the best chance at a good defense.