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How DUI laws in Iowa impact those suspected of drunk driving

Being pulled over for suspected drunk driving is one of the most nerve-wrecking traffic stops. Motorists in Iowa and elsewhere might not fully understand what the penalties are for a DUI charge and how greatly a conviction could impact his or her life. This is especially true if it is not a driver's first conviction. As a means to deter drunk driving, the laws in Iowa have altered over the years; however, this does not mean that those accused of drunk driving fully understand the consequences that could follow.

Iowa's laws surrounding OWI charges state that it is unlawful to operate a vehicle in the state while the driver is under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, other drugs or a combination of such substances. It is illegal for motorists to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. Additionally, state OWI laws state that it is illegal for any motorists to have any amount of a controlled substance in their body.

The implied consent laws in the state, which occur when a motorist obtains a driver's license in the state, means that a motorist agrees to submit to a breath test, blood test or a urine test in order to determine a motorist's alcohol level or the presence of drugs. If a police officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that a motorist is under the influence, these implied consent laws apply.

If a driver is charged with a DUI, he or she could face possible penalties such as license suspension or revocation, alcohol education, assessment and treatment, jail time, vehicle confiscation and the installation of an ignition interlock device. With regards to this device, it is required for those with a BAC of .10 or more. If an Iowa driver had their driver's license revoked for an OWI, he or she may be eligible for a temporary restricted license if they have an ignition interlock device installed in all of their vehicles. This device is designed to prevent an individual from operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

Whether it is your first offense or third, it is important that those accused of a DUI understand their rights and options. It is possible to challenge evidence against you, allowing some or all of it being suppressed. This could help them develop a strong defense, possibly resulting in reduced or dismissed charges.

Source: Iowadot.gov, "Iowa OWI (Operating While Intoxicated)," accessed June 16, 2017

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J. Dean Keegan and Thomas D. Farnsworth, Attorneys at Law
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