It is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle in Iowa in any of the following conditions:
While under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, other drugs or combination of such substances.
While having a blood/breath/urine alcohol concentration of .08 or more.
While having any amount of a controlled substance in one’s body.
Iowa’s implied consent law means that any person who operates a motor vehicle in the state agrees to have a blood, breath and/or urine test performed to determine alcohol level or presence of drugs whenever a peace officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person is operating in violation of the law.
First Offense A serious misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,250, or both. The minimum jail time is 48 hours, which may be served in an OWI program with law enforcement security. The judge may waive up to $625 of the fine if the crime did not result in a personal injury or property damage. As an alternative to a portion or all of the fine, the court may order the person to perform unpaid community service. These offenders must also be ordered to complete a substance abuse evaluation and treatment course for drinking drivers, and in some cases, a reality education substance abuse prevention program.
Second Offense An aggravated misdemeanor, punishable by up to two years in prison. A minimum of seven days in jail must be served. A fine of $1,875 to $6,250 must be paid. These offenders must also be ordered to complete a substance abuse evaluation and treatment course for drinking drivers, and in some cases, a reality education substance abuse prevention program. Third or Subsequent Offense A Class “D” felony, punishable by imprisonment up to five years and a fine of $3,125 to $9,375. A minimum of 30 days in jail must be served. These offenders must also be ordered to complete a substance abuse evaluation and treatment course for drinking drivers, and in some cases, a reality education substance abuse prevention program.
NOTE: OWI convictions and deferred judgments that occurred anywhere in the United States within the preceding 12 years will count in determining whether the offense charged is a second or third offense. Also, deferred judgments, deferred sentences or probation without service of the mandatory minimum period of incarceration may be granted in an OWI case only if the defendant: • Has never been previously convicted or received a deferred judgment for OWI anywhere in the United States. • At the time of arrest, agreed to take a chemical test and had a test result of no higher than .15. • Did not cause injury to another person by driving while intoxicated.
All persons convicted must undergo a substance abuse evaluation (at the offender’s expense) prior to sentencing, and the court must order the defendant to follow the recommendations of the evaluation. Victims may receive restitution for all damages caused by a defendant. Public agencies may receive up to $500 for costs incurred as a result of a defendant’s crime.
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