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Ignition interlock devices for OWI in Iowa

The penalties for a conviction on drunk driving charges in Iowa are severe. A person convicted of operating while intoxicated can face severe fines, driver's license revocation and a potential jail sentence. In most OWI cases, a person who has had their license revoked can apply for a temporary restricted license to get to and from work or school. However, some individuals will be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle as a condition of receiving a temporary restricted license.

The device is connected to the vehicle's electrical system and will prevent the car from starting if the driver is under the influence of alcohol. Before starting the car, the driver must blow into the device. If the device detects alcohol above a preset limit, the car will not start.

In general, Iowa law requires installation of an ignition interlock device if the individual's blood alcohol level was above 0.10 or if they were involved in an accident. An interlock device will also be required if the person has a prior OWI conviction or license revocation.

The device must be installed on every vehicle the defendant owns or operates. If the defendant is ordered to install the device but fails to do so, they can be found in contempt of court and subject to punishment. If the defendant tampers with the device, they can be charged with a serious misdemeanor. Tampering with the device or driving a vehicle without the device will also lead to revocation of the temporary restricted license.

The ignition interlock requirement is one more reason to prepare an effective defense strategy in an OWI case. An experienced Iowa criminal defense lawyer can help the individual prepare that strategy.

Source: coolice.legis.iowa.gov, "321J.4 Revocation of License - Ignition Interlock Devices - Conditional Temporary Restricted License," accessed Nov. 21, 2015

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