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Iowa Drunk Driving Laws And Penalties

Even a first arrest for drunk driving in Iowa might require a driver to spend time in jail, pay fines and use an ignition interlock device.

Drivers in Iowa know that their state can be tough on drunk driving. This is not necessarily a bad thing as keeping people safe is important but equally important is protecting the rights of all people, including those arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Just as with any other criminal arrest, defendants should remember that simply being arrested does not guarantee a conviction. After an arrest happens, it is important to know what penalties may result as the defense process unfolds.

Will I be fined for an OWI in Iowa?

According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety, a driver convicted of a first-time OWI offense may be required to pay a $1,250 fine. It may be possible to avoid this fine in exchange for community service work. The fine may also be able to be reduced if there were no injuries or property damage associated with the alleged drunk driving incident.

Fines for a second OWI offense range from $1,875 to $6,250. For a third offense, people might have to pay between $3,125 and $9,375.

Will I spend time in jail?

A first OWI in Iowa is considered a serious misdemeanor and generally includes a minimum of 48 hours in a jail or an OWI program facility. Jail time may last as long as 12 months for a first offense.

Jail time for a second charge of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated can range from a minimum of seven days to two full years. The minimum jail time for a third offense is 30 days and this can extend to 60 months.

Will I lose my driver's license?

For most people, a revocation of driving privileges happens at least for a short time after a drunk driving arrest or conviction. The length of time varies not only based upon the number of any previous offenses but also based upon the driver's blood alcohol content and whether or not any accident occurred. FieldSobrietyTests.org explains that the field tests given at the site of an arrest are not used in determining a BAC. This information is collected from breath, blood or urine samples only.

A first drunk driving arrest can find a driver facing a 180 day revocation and if ultimately convicted that may last a full year. A temporary license might be obtained and an ignition interlock device may be required. The length of the revocation and required time to use an IID generally increases with each offense, with BACs over 0.14 percent and if a crash has happened.

How can I get help after an OWI arrest?

After being arrested for drunk driving in Iowa, people should always contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Because there are many factors that may play into an OWI arrest and charge, getting help from someone who knows these details well gives drivers the best chance at a good defense.

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

Keegan, Tindal, & Mason 

Put Over 50 Years of Combined Trial Experience On Your Side 
  • J. Dean Keegan
  • Eric D. Tindal
  • Andrea D. Mason
  • J. Dean Keegan J. Dean Keegan

    Owner

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

See What Our Clients Have to say

  • He was professional, knowledgeable and prompt. He was very effective in his communication.

    “He showed genuine concern with my matters. He described a plan of action. His information and demeanor were very reassuring. After the Hire: He was professional, knowledgeable and prompt. He was very ...”

    - David
  • I am glad he was there to get my head out of the guillotine when I needed him and keep my record clean.

    “I was stopped for an OWI. Dean took things as far as he could with the appeals process, finding every way possible to keep me driving in the meantime (which I needed to do for my job). Dean argued the ...”

    - Ryan
  • Attentive and a Standup Guy

    “I needed an attorney with deep experience in federal cases. Eric was recommended to me by an immigration lawyer in Iowa City I had hired in the past to help my wife obtain her green card. I was ...”

    - John
  • This is the guy you want!

    “Eric is the whole package. He will fight relentlessly for you, all the while using tact and professionalism. Eric always respected my best interests and kept them his top priority. He is incredibly ...”

    - Anonymous
  • No matter the “level” of your legal issue - I wouldn’t want to be facing it without Eric Tindal in your corner

    “I’m struggling to write this review because it’s truly impossible to find the right words - that properly describe how much I appreciate Eric Tindal, his legal skills, and the effort he put forth for ...”

    - anonymous
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SUCCESSFUL results for our clients

Protecting Your Freedom & Rights
  • 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.

  • Second Degree Sexual Abuse and Other Charges Acquittal at Trial

    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.

  • Sexual Abuse in the 2nd Degree Conviction Reversed on Appeal

    Iowa Supreme Court No. 04-361. The Defendant was convicted of Sexual Abuse in the 2nd Degree. On appeal, Mr. Tindal successfully argued that the conviction was based on improperly admitted evidence. The conviction was reversed.

  • Trafficking Stolen Weapons and Misdemeanor Theft Charge Dismissed

    Scott County FECR384046. The Defendant was charged with Trafficking Stolen Weapons and Misdemeanor Theft. The Court dismissed the felony following a Motion litigated by Mr. Tindal. The Defendant subsequently pled to the remaining misdemeanor.

  • Vehicular Homicide Charges Reduced

    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.

  • First Degree Murder and Child Endangerment Causing Death Acquitted of First Degree Murder at Trial

    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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Keegan, Tindal, & Mason

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  • Our Attorneys Are well Respected Throughout Eastern Iowa

  • We Offer Free Consultations No Matter How Severe The Charge

  • Trial Attorneys With Successful Track Records In The Courtroom

  • Over 50 Years of Combined Experience In Criminal Defense with an Emphasis on OWI's

Keegan, tindal, & Mason 

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