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What Are The Consequences of a Breath Test Refusal In Iowa?

When a driver is pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in Iowa, they will usually be asked to take a breath test for blood alcohol content. The driver has the right to refuse the test, but there are serious consequences for the refusal. Of course, there are also serious consequences if the driver takes the test, fails it, and is convicted of OWI.

Under Iowa's implied consent law, every driver is deemed to consent to take a breath test if there are reasonable grounds to believe they are driving under the influence. A first-time refusal to take the test will result in an automatic driver's license revocation for one year. If the driver has refused the test on a prior occasion, the revocation will be for two years. In contrast, if the driver takes the test and fails, the license is revoked for 180 days on a first arrest or one year if there was a prior revocation.

There are other consequences of refusing the test. The driver must pay a civil penalty of $200 and either attend a class on drinking and driving and submit to substance abuse evaluation and possibly treatment. A driver who refuses a test will not be eligible for a restricted driver's license for 90 days after the revocation takes effect, or for one year after the revocation effective date if they have a prior revocation for test refusal. If the driver seeks a restricted license, an ignition interlock device must be installed in their vehicle.

When a driver has to decide whether to refuse a breath test, contacting an attorney immediately is often a good idea. The decision whether or not to take the test will depend on a number of facts and legal issues, and an experienced Iowa OWI lawyer can help the driver make an informed choice.

Source: Iowa Code §§ 321J.9 - 17, accessed July 18, 2015

Categories
  • The Iowa State Bar Association
  • DUI Defense Law
  • NACDL
  • AAJ
  • Iowa Association of Justice

Keegan, Tindal, & Mason 

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  • J. Dean Keegan
  • Eric D. Tindal
  • Andrea D. Mason
  • J. Dean Keegan J. Dean Keegan

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    Decades of Award-Winning Legal Service J. Dean Keegan was born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa. After high school, Dean served ...
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  • Eric D. Tindal Eric D. Tindal

    Attorney

    Highly Rated Criminal Defense in Iowa City Eric D. Tindal, attorney at Keegan, Tindal & Mason, graduated from the University ...
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  • Andrea D. Mason Andrea D. Mason

    Attorney

    Experienced Criminal Defense in the Iowa and Illinois Quad Cities Andrea D. Mason practices in the areas of white collar ...
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  • Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana and Methamphetamine Charges Dismissed

    Washington Count FECR5351. Attorney Tindal and Attorney Clemens Erdahl successfully argued that evidence of drug manufacture was obtained in violation of the Constitution. All charges were dismissed.

  • Possession with Intent to Distribute Charges Dismissed

    Iowa County FECR010358. Attorney Tindal was able to show the Court that his client was detained in violation of his Constitutional rights and that the K9 utilized in the search was unreliable. Following hearing all charges were dismissed.

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    Johnson County FECR089277. The Defendant was charged with Second Degree Sexual Abuse and other charges. Following a one-week trial by Mr. Tindal, the Defendant was acquitted of all charges.

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    Johnson County FECR68296. The Defendant was charged with Vehicular Homicide. Following a suppression hearing, Mr. Tindal and his co-counsel were able to show that the blood test result was taken in violation of implied consent procedures. The case was subsequently resolved for a misdemeanor.

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    Henry County FECR005634. Attorney Tindal’s client was charged with First Degree Murder and Child Endangerment Causing Death. Following a two week trial, the Defendant was acquitted of all charges.

  • Operating While Intoxicated Reduced to Public Intoxication

    Johnson County OWCR116811. The Defendant was charged with Operating While Intoxicated. Mr. Tindal was able to win the Iowa Dept of Transportation appeal and have the blood test result thrown out. The case was resolved for a public intoxication charge and no loss of license.

  • Operating While Intoxicated Second Offense Reduced to Public Intoxication

    Washington County OWIN010946. The Defendant was charged with Operating While Intoxicated Second Offense. Following long negotiations with the State the Defendant was able to plead to a Public Intoxication and have his driving privileges reinstated.

  • Operating While Intoxicated Record Expunged

    Johnson OWCR106890. Attorney Dean Keegan's client received an Operating While Intoxicated, a serious misdemeanor. After reviewing the videos, Mr. Keegan filed a Motion to Suppress arguing the officer denied his client's right to make a phone call. The State declined to present testimony at the hearing and the Motion to Suppress was granted, making the client eligible for a deferred judgment. Mr. Keegan's client will have her record expunged and be able to obtain a license after 90 days instead of 180.

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