Iowa DUI Law Information
Drivers arrested for operating while under the influence alcohol or drugs (OWI) in Iowa may be charged with OWI and face jail time, fines, and a driver’s license suspension.
Iowa OWI/DUI defined
In the State of Iowa a person can be charged with the offense of operating while intoxicated (OWI) if they are operating a motorized vehicle 1) while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or other drug or a combination of such substances; 2) while having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more; or 3) if any amount of a controlled substance is present in the person, as measured in the person's blood or urine (Iowa Statute 321J.2)
Iowa Look Back period: 12 years
If a driver’s second or third driving infraction occurs during the look back period the OWI penalties can be substantially increased. The date begins on the date of the first OWI arrest.
Criminal DUI Penalties in Iowa
First OWI offense:
- Possible jail time for no less than 48 hours
- Fines of $1,250 (under some conditions the court may waive up to $625 of the fine or the entire fine if the court requires the driver to perform community service).
- Revocation of the driver’s license for 180 days up to one year
- Assignment to substance abuse evaluation and treatment, a course for drinking drivers, and, if available and appropriate, a reality education substance abuse prevention program
Second OWI offense:
(Within 12 years)
- Potential jail term of 7 days up to 2 years (minimum of 7 days must be served)
- One to two year license revocation
- Fines ranging from $1,850 up to $6,250
- Surcharges and additional fees
- Completion of a substance abuse and evaluation treatment program or a reality based education program for substance abuse prevention
Third OWI offense:
(Class D felony)
(Within 12 years)
- Possible imprisonment up to 5 years (minimum of 30 days of jail must be served)
- Fines of $3,125 to $9,375
- Required completion of a substance abuse evaluation and treatment course for drinking drivers or a reality education substance abuse prevention program
- Six year license revocation with temporary restricted license may be available after one year
Administrative Penalties in Iowa
Drivers in Iowa have given their implied consent to submit to a chemical test if they have been arrested for OWI. Failure to consent to the required testing may result in administrative penalties, which are administered by the Iowa Department of Transportation, and are imposed regardless of whether the driver is ultimately convicted for OWI.
Drivers who refuse or fail the chemical test will face the following administrative penalties:
- First refusal- 1 year license suspension
- First test failure- 180 day license suspension
- Second refusal- 2 year license suspension
- Second test failure - 1 year license suspension
Some drivers may be allowed to request a temporary license as soon as 30 days after the test failure. Drivers who refuse the testing will have to wait up to 90 days (for the first refusal). Restricted license reinstatement, however, may be contingent upon installing an ignition interlock.
Drivers who are given the Request and Notice under Iowa Code Chapter 321J/Section 321.208 (an OWI Implied Consent form) by the police officer may have the legal right to challenge the administrative license suspension.
Administrative hearing requests must be made within 10 days from the date of the OWI arrest by contacting the Iowa Department of Transportation. Requests may be completed online or by completing the Request to Appeal Loss of Driving/Registration Privileges (Form 432034) and sending it to the Office of Driver Services Iowa Department of Transportation.
Deferred Judgment in Iowa
Certain first-time OWI offenders who did not refuse a chemical test, whose blood alcohol concentration was less than 0.15%, and who were not involved in an injury accident may be allowed to plead guilty to the OWI charge. Assuming the terms of the sentence are met, the OWI will not be entered the driver’s criminal record.