Getting a DUI or OWI in Iowa is easier than one might assume. Iowa has an implied consent law stipulating that individuals operating motor vehicles within the state automatically consent to tests that determine blood-alcohol content (BAC). A law enforcement official with reasonable grounds to believe that a driver is under the influence of alcohol may require a urine, blood, or breath test to confirm this. If convicted of Iowa DUI, the driver faces serious consequences.
First DUI/OWI Conviction Penalties in Iowa
Initial DUI conviction in Iowa results in a 180-day driver license revocation period. A temporary restricted license permitting commutes to school or work may be granted. However, the individual must wait 30 days from sentencing if BAC exceed 0.15 and must install an ignition interlock device if BAC exceeded 0.10 or the DUI or OWI incident included an accident.
Additional penalties for an initial DUI conviction in Iowa include fines of at least $1,250 (a portion or all of which may be waived) and a minimum of 48 hours in jail. Convicted drivers must also participate in substance abuse evaluation and treatment. They may be required to enter a substance abuse education program and install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.
Iowa had 92 drunk driving fatalities in 2012 according to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. DUI involving the death of another individual is considered a Class B felony, which requires $150,000 victim restitution and carries a prison sentence of up to 25 years. If another person was seriously injured, the incident is considered a class D felony that includes fines of $750 to $7,500, possible victim restitution, and up to five years in prison.
Underage DUI in Iowa
Drivers under age 21 with a BAC of 0.02 percent but less than 0.08 percent will have their licenses revoked for six months following initial DUI or OWI convictions. Drivers younger than 18 do not qualify for temporary restricted licenses. Those ages 18 to 21 must wait 60 days from conviction before becoming eligible. Underage drivers who refuse chemical testing face one-year license revocation and are not eligible for temporary restricted licenses.
If BAC exceeds 0.08 percent, an underage driver will be charged between $625 and $1,250 in fines and may be sentenced to jail time ranging from two days to one year. Underage drivers convicted of DUI may face other charges that have additional penalties. For example, if underage passengers in the car were intoxicated, the driver may be charged with distributing alcohol to minors.
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