When drivers in Iowa and elsewhere are stopped by police officers, they may or may not be aware of their rights during this stop. While it is clear that there are steps and procedures for police officers to take during the stop, some drivers may not understand what they have consented to when they applied for and obtained a driver's license. In matters when a driver is suspected of drunk driving, there is an implied consent to a breath test if an officer requests one.
Being pulled over for a traffic stop is often described as an uncomfortable and nerve wrecking position for residents in Iowa. While a driver might be let go with a warning, such a situation is not likely to occur when a driver is accused of drunk driving. Facing an OWI charge is unlike other traffic violations because the presumed drunk driver could lose his or her license and even face harsher penalties, such as fines and jail time.
In Iowa, as in other states across the country, law enforcement officers administer a standardized battery of three field sobriety tests to a driver suspected of driving while intoxicated. The tests are the horizontal gaze nystagmus, or HGN test, the walk-and-turn test and the one-leg stand test.
A conviction on drunk driving charges carries serious consequences in Iowa. A first-time drunk driving charge is a serious misdemeanor, and a second offense is an aggravated misdemeanor. Convictions on these charges can result in license revocation, fines and jail time.
Iowa's drunk driving laws are very strict. For those who are under the legal drinking age of 21, they are even more strict -- and the consequences for a youthful error in judgment can last well into adulthood.
A drunk driving conviction in Iowa can seriously affect a person's life. In addition to fines and possible jail time, the defendant will face driver's license revocation and may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on the person's vehicle. In a felony drunk driving or vehicular homicide case, a conviction can result in years in state prison.
New technologies have been criticized for causing distracted driving. However, a new smartphone application played a role in reversing an Iowa drunk driving conviction recently because a suspect was not permitted to receive an in-person consultation.
A lot of out-of-state residents drive into and through Iowa on a daily basis. In addition, our state is home to a number of colleges and universities with a lot of out-of-state students. When someone from another state is arrested for drunk driving in Iowa, a frequent question is whether Iowa can revoke an out-of-state driver's license.
In Iowa, if you cause a fatal accident while driving drunk you can be charged with homicide by vehicle. If convicted, you will face a mandatory prison sentence in addition to huge fines and revocation of your driver's license. Anyone facing vehicular homicide charges needs to fight aggressively to preserve their future and their freedom.