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Consequences of a First-Time OWI/DUI in Iowa

Alcoholic drink near handcuffs and car keys

No one is immune to mistakes. The error of drinking and driving can lead to serious consequences, such as getting an OWI/DUI. In Iowa, even those charged or convicted of an OWI/DUI after one mistake will most likely face severe penalties.

What leads to an OWI/DUI?

Many assume you must be legally intoxicated behind the wheel of a moving vehicle on a public road to be charged with an OWI/DUI. That’s not always the case.

An OWI/DUI can result from:

● Having a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) higher than .08%;

● Being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of similar substances that impairs someone’s ability to operate a vehicle;

● Having any amount of a controlled substance in their system; or,

● Being behind the wheel of a non-moving vehicle with a running engine

BAC is the most common reason an individual is charged with an OWI/DUI. BAC higher than .08% is the most common condition leading to OWI/DUI. There are also penalties for drivers are under 21, with a BAC higher than .02%. Drivers who operate a commercial vehicle cannot have a BAC higher than .04%.

What Happens After an OWI/DUI Charge?

Interactions with law enforcement are the first step in determining how and if an OWI/DUI charge will proceed. Iowa follows ‘implied consent’ law, meaning anyone driving agrees to submit a blood, breath, or urine test to determine the level of alcohol or presence of drugs in their system if law enforcement believes they have reasonable grounds to suspect impairment.

A driver can usually refuse a chemical test; but that refusal usually results in a one year license suspension.

A driver with a test showing presence of controlled substances or blood alcohol content over the legal limit also faces suspension.

A driver may get back behind the wheel with a Temporary Restricted License (TRL) under certain circumstances. The Iowa DOT website provides forms and conditions for TRLs.

What Happens After an OWI/DUI Conviction?

Sentencing may include: jail time, fines, probation, fees, court ordered classes. A first offense OWI/DUI conviction is usually classified as a serious misdemeanor. That misdemeanor is permanently on a criminal record if a deferred judgment is not granted. A deferred judgment may be available to a driver who:

  • Does not have two prior deferred judgments
  • Had a BAC under .15
  • Does not have a prior felony
  • Does not have a prior OWI.

There are no guarantees in any case, but the team at Branstad & Olson will help you take any possible steps to protect your personal and professional life after an OWI/DUI charge — contact our team to set up a free consultation. (515) 329-3100

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