Iowa has one of the strictest impaired driving laws in the nation. While some states set the bar for a felony charge at a fourth offense for DUI, Iowa lowers that standard to three impaired driving arrests. Iowa does follow the standardized guideline of .08 BAC when filing charges. However, some drivers suspected of being under the influence of substances other than alcohol can be blood tested by request or by a warrant if necessary. There is no standard for chemical intoxication aside from alcohol, so any amount of a controlled substance in the body can result in a DUI as well as a potential drug possession charge in some cases.
Misdemeanor DUI charges
A first or second charge for DUI in Iowa is usually filed as a misdemeanor when intoxication levels are between .08 and .149. Those who have a BAC above this level can be charged with aggravated DUI, but this is still considered a misdemeanor unless there are extenuating case factors. For those under 21 years of age, the standard for a conviction is .05.
Felony DUI charges
Circumstances where a felony charge can be filed for DUI fall into two categories. One is a third offense charge even at the misdemeanor standard of .08 BAC with no extenuating circumstances. Even a first DUI can be charged as a felony when someone has been injured in an accident you were driving intoxicated. Additionally, very serious accident injuries require that the driver serve a mandatory five-year sentence, which is potentially the harshest penalty for a first DUI in the nation absent a fatality from the accident.
Driving under the influence is a very serious matter in Iowa regardless of the circumstances. All motorists should be aware of this strict policy enforcement.