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What are the penalties for OWI in Iowa?

In Iowa, drunk driving is considered "operating while intoxicated," or OWI. It is defined as operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, a drug, or a combination of substances. A blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 is considered "per se" OWI, as is having "any amount" of a controlled substance in one's system.

Drivers in Iowa should also be aware of the state's implied consent law. That law assumes that, by using Iowa's roads, you have consented to a breath, urine or blood alcohol test whenever a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe you are intoxicated. Refusing to take the test results in your license being revoked for a year or two years if you have refused or been convicted of an OWI within the lats 12 years.

In Iowa as in many states, the penalties for drunk driving depend in part on whether this is your first offense. All OWI offenders must obtain a substance abuse evaluation and complete treatment (if it is recommended), as well as complete a drinking drivers course. Here is how the penalties break down:

A first offense is a seriuos misdemeanor punishable by between 48 hours and one year in jail and a fine of $1,250. Up to $625 of the fine may be waived in cases where no injuries or property damage occurred when the person obtains a resricted license with an ignition interlock device. Your driver's license may also be revoked for between 180 days and a year.

A second offense is an aggravated misdemeanor. If convicted, you could serve a minimum of seven days or up to two years in jail and be fined between $1,875 and $6,250. Your driver's license could be revoked for a year or two years if one refused law enforcement's request for chemical testing. You will be required to install and maintain an ignition interlock device on your vehicle at your own expense, typically for at least 365 day.

A third or subsequent offense is a Class D felony which is punishable by up to five years in prison. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days. In addition, the court may fine you between $3,125 and $9,375. Your driver's license could be revoked for six years. All offenders are required to install and maintain ignition interlock devices on their vehicles at their own expense.

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