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In Iowa, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is called “operating while intoxicated,” or OWI. This is an incredibly serious criminal offense that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. Regardless of the exact charge you face, the penalties can be life-changing. You could be facing license suspension, jail time, fines, and points on your license among other consequences.

To mitigate or avoid these penalties, you will need to retain a knowledgeable and experienced OWI lawyer. Our Des Moines DUI defense attorneys have extensive experience representing Iowans who have been accused of drinking and driving or driving under the influence of controlled substances.

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What Is an OWI?

Drunk driving is a serious offense throughout the United States, but it is not always called the same thing. While many states use the term "Driving Under the Influence" or DUI to refer to the criminal act of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol, Iowa law defines this same act as "Operating While Intoxicated," or OWI. As of 2023, four states use the term OWI, while all states have laws prohibiting driving under the influence.

The penalties for an OWI conviction in Iowa vary depending on the circumstances of the case and whether the offender has any prior OWI convictions. For a first-time offense, penalties can include fines, license suspension, and potential jail time. Subsequent offenses carry steeper penalties, including mandatory minimum jail time, longer license suspensions, and the possibility of vehicle forfeiture.

BAC Limits in OWI Charges

Driving a vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 0.08% or higher can result in OWI charges in Iowa and most other states around the country. You can also be charged with OWI for driving with any amount of a controlled substance in your system as determined by chemical testing. Iowa has a zero-tolerance policy for drunk drivers under the age of 21. Any driver under 21 who is found with a BAC of 0.02% or more can be charged with OWI.

Iowa’s Implied Consent Law

In Iowa, all drivers on the state’s roadways automatically consent to an OWI test. This means that if you are pulled over with reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you are deemed to have given consent to a blood, breath, urine, or other chemical test. Refusing to take a chemical test will result in a one-year license revocation, or a two-year license revocation for repeat offenders.

Avoid the Harsh Penalties of an OWI/DUI Conviction

If you have been charged with OWI, a conviction can have a profound impact on your present-day life and your future.

At Hope Law Firm, we want to help you avoid:

  • Jail time
  • Fines
  • License revocation or suspension
  • Probation
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device installation

Depending on whether this is your first offense or a subsequent offense, the penalties could be extremely harsh. Our Des Moines DUI lawyers are here to help build a strong defense on your behalf.

Contact us online or give us a call at (515) 298-5056 to speak with a Des Moines DUI attorney.

Des Moines DUI Defense FAQ:

What defenses are available in a DUI case?

Common defenses in a DUI case include challenging the accuracy of breathalyzer or blood test results, questioning the validity of the traffic stop or arrest, disputing the officer's observations or conduct, and presenting evidence of alternative explanations for alleged signs of impairment.

Will I lose my driver's license if I am convicted of DUI?

If you are convicted of DUI in Iowa, your driver's license will be subject to suspension. The duration of the suspension will depend on several factors, such as the nature of the offense, prior convictions, and other circumstances. It is important to consult with a DUI attorney to understand the specific implications for your case.

Can I refuse a breathalyzer or blood test?

In Iowa, you have the right to refuse a breathalyzer or blood test. However, there are consequences for refusing a chemical test, such as an administrative license suspension. Iowa has implied consent laws, which means that by driving in the state, you are deemed to have given consent to chemical testing for alcohol or drugs if requested by law enforcement. Refusing a chemical test may result in penalties separate from any DUI charges.

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