In 2009, there were 118 alcohol-related car accident fatalities in Iowa. In Iowa, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence (OWI) of alcoholic beverages or drugs or some combination of both. It is also illegal to drive while having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Any amount of a controlled substance in the driver’s blood, like cocaine, will earn an OWI. Finally, any driver under the age of 21 who is tested and found to have a BAC of .02 or higher will have their license revoked 60 days for their first violation and 90 days for their second.
Iowa also has an implied consent law. This means that every driver, by having a driver’s license, agrees to undergo breath or blood tests to determine BAC and the presence of drugs if the police officer believes the driver is operating their vehicle under the influence. If the test is not agreed to, they will be arrested and processed as OWI.
First offense OWI charge in Iowa
If you are arrested on your first offense OWI charge in Iowa, you can face severe consequences if you do not handle the situation appropriately. First-time offenders need to have a clear understanding of their situation. You will face two separate lawsuits if you are convicted for driving while intoxicated.
The first is an OWI (operating while intoxicated) offense, which the Iowa court system will prosecute. The second point to consider is the administrative fines that would be imposed on your driving privileges. You face two types of license sanctions: an administrative suspension by the Iowa Motor Vehicle Division and a potential court-ordered suspension.
In Iowa, driver’s first OWI will earn them a minimum of 48 hours in jail. The maximum jail sentence is 1 year. They will also be fined from $625 to $1,250 and have their license suspended for a period of 180 days. If the driver’s BAC was below .10, it is possible to have their license restricted. This will mean that an ignition interlock device has to be installed in their car. The court can also require a substance abuse evaluation, subsequent treatment, community service, and a drinking driver’s course.
DUI / DWI facts and statistics in Iowa
- In 2017, 13 out of the 88 driving fatalities due to DUI / DWI were driven by drivers under the age of 21
- In the same year, 83 out of the 10,082 offenders caught for DUI / DWI were under the age of 18
- In 2018, 14 out of the 85 driving fatalities due to DUI / DWI were driven by drivers under the age of 21
source: responsibility.org, fbi.gov
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