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.
Felony OWI in Iowa
In some cases, an OWI in Iowa will be charged as a felony. There are basically two ways this can happen: if the defendant has two or more prior OWI offenses, or if the defendant caused injury or death.
Prior OWI Offenses
A third or subsequent OWI offense in Iowa is a Class D felony. If convicted the defendant can face a prison sentence of up to five years. The defendant must serve at least 30 days in jail. A fine of $3,125 to $9,375 can also be imposed. Those convicted must also complete an evaluation for substance abuse as well as a course of treatment for drunk drivers.
OWI Causing Injury or Death
Drunk driving that results in serious injury is also charged as a Class D felony in Iowa. There is a five-year mandatory prison sentence upon conviction. The judge cannot suspend this sentence. The defendant may also be required to pay a fine of $750 to $7,500, as well as restitution to the victim.
The most serious OWI offense in Iowa is one which leads to the death of another person. This is charged as a Class B felony. The prison sentence for this offense is up to 25 years, and cannot be suspended. In addition, a person convicted of OWI resulting in death is not eligible for release on bail before sentencing or during an appeal. Instead of a fine, the defendant will be ordered to pay victim restitution in the amount of $150,000.
Contact Keegan, Tindal & Jaeger for Experienced Representation
Felony drunk driving is a very serious charge in Iowa. Anyone facing such a charge needs to understand their rights and fight the charges aggressively. An experienced defense attorney can provide a significant advantage to the defendant.
Charged with a felony OWI? Call our firm today or contact us online for the defense you need!
Source: Iowa Department of Public Safety, "Iowa's OWI Law," accessed Oct. 23, 2016