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Drunk Driving/DUI/OWI

There is a number of ways to describe it..."drunk driving" or "OWI" or "DUI". In Iowa, it is a crime to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a drug.

In Iowa, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle (1) while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or other drug or a combination of such substances, (2) while having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more, or (3) while any amount of controlled substance (drug) is present in your body.

Under the drug alternative, ANY amount of drug (such as marijuana, cocaine, or methamphetamine) found in your body is a crime if you are operating a motor vehicle. This is a particularly harsh law because some controlled substances, especially marijuana, can stay in your system for weeks at a time.

With alcohol, the state must prove either that your alcohol concentration was .08 or more or that you were under the influence of alcohol. Typically, if your alcohol level is above .08, the State will charge you with operating while intoxicated. Theoretically (though not often charged), the state could charge you with operating while intoxicated if your alcohol level was under .08 but you were showing signs of intoxication such as slurred speech, unsteady on your feet, and disorientation. People are most typically arrested for operating while intoxicated because they either (1) refuse to give a breath sample and show signs of intoxication or (2) they give a breath or blood sample that is over .08 or a urine sample that test positive for drugs.

Penalties for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI):

First Offense OWI: For a first offense OWI, a person faces a minimum of 2 days in jail and up to a year in jail. As to financial consequences, a person faces a fine of $1250 plus a 35% criminal surcharge; a $10 DARE surcharge and court costs. The Court can waive half of the fine and criminal surcharge if the person presents a temporary restricted license to the court and no personal or property injury has results. A person’s license will be revoked for a minimum of 180 days. Said period can be longer if you refuse to give a sample of your breath or urine or blood (1 year if no prior revocations). Said period can be up to 6 years if you have prior operating while intoxicated convictions even if you are convicted of first offense OWI. A person will also have to do a substance abuse evaluation and follow through with recommended treatment.

Second Offense OWI: For a second offense OWI, a person faces up to 2 years in prison and a minimum of 7 days in jail. As for financial consequences, a person faces a minimum fine of $1875 and a maximum fine of $6250, plus a criminal surcharge of 35%, a DARE surcharge of $10 and court costs. A person's driver's license will be revoked for 1 year if the person gives a bodily sample, 2 years if the person refuses to give a sample. A person can face up to a 6-year revocation if the OWI is truly a 3rd offense OWI even if the person is pleading guilty to a second offense OWI. A person will also have to complete a substance abuse evaluation and treatment.

Third Offense OWI: For a third offense OWI, a person faces up to 5 years in prison and must serve a mandatory minimum term of thirty days. For financial consequences, a person faces a minimum fine of $3125 and a maximum fine of $9375, as well as a 35% criminal surcharge, a $10 DARE surcharge, and court costs. For a third offense OWI a person's drivers license will be revoked for 6 years. A person will also have to complete a substance abuse evaluation and follow through with recommended treatment.

As you can see, the penalties go up substantially if a person has previous OWI convictions on their record. Further, if a person causes serious injury or death to another person due to operating while intoxicated, even more serious penalties can result.

Having an attorney fight for you can benefit you substantially. The attorneys at Johnson and Bonzer, PLC will review your case for mistakes made by the arresting officer and fight for your rights. One of the best strategies in an OWI defense is to file pretrial motions to take away (or suppress) evidence because the arresting officer didn't follow the right protocol. Some mistakes we look for include, failing to "mirandize" you, not allowing you to call your attorney or family when you make a request, stopping your vehicle without a reason to do so, or searching your vehicle without proper justification. Our attorneys will also work on your behalf to explain to you your options whether taking your case to trial or negotiating a plea bargain to a reduced offense or for a minimum sentence.

If your cases happened near Marshalltown, Fort Dodge, Ames, Boone, Humboldt, Webster City, Eldora, Newton, or any town near these areas, we have an office located nearby. With locations in Marshalltown and Fort Dodge we have a nearby OWI attorney that can meet with you and discuss your case in a free initial consultation with no obligation. Contact a qualified Iowa drunk driving defense lawyer at 515-955-2193 or toll free 855-955-2193.