In Iowa, an OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) is a serious misdemeanor with varying legal repercussions.
In most OWI cases, police will investigate the OWI and put the accused driver through sobriety tests. This applies to drivers who are pulled over for any reason, be it a traffic stop, swerving, driving erratically or causing an accident. Drivers who fail the sobriety test will be arrested and taken to the nearest appropriate jail so long as they are uninjured. From there, charges may be filed for any damages or injuries the driver caused. Once charges are processed, the driver must await a court summons to discuss the accident and their options, as well as any applicable punishments.
Individuals in Iowa are entitled to a court-appointed attorney if they do not have an attorney of their own by filling out a Financial Affidavit and Application for Appointment of Counsel. Judges will generally ask defendants if they have or want representation and this application should be provided to the defendant.
Once the court proceedings end, a sentence will be issued. Violations of the sentence presented by the court can result in more legal action against the defendant, so it is important that drivers understand and follow all necessities under their sentencing.
First OWI Offense
Under your first OWI conviction, you may face:
- Between 48 hours and one year of jailtime
- A fine of $1,250
- License suspension
- IID (Ignition Interlock Device) installation if driver wants a temporary restricted license
Legal repercussions can differ depending on the circumstances and severity of the accident. A judge may waive up to $625 of the $1,250 fine if the accident did not involve any personal injury or property damage and the driver has a temporary restricted license.
The length of time in which your license may be suspended or an IID be installed in your vehicle may also vary. An IID requires a driver to take a breathalyzer in order to prove they are sober before the ignition on the vehicle will start.
However, decisions such as these are up to the discretion of the court and may differ depending on your judge.
How Long Does An OWI Stay On Your Record?
Offenses such as OWIs remain on your record for varying lengths of time depending on where it occurs. In Iowa, an OWI in which your license is revoked can remain on your record for 12 years. This means that you will face higher car insurance rates or difficulty finding car insurance for up to 12 years after an OWI.
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