Iowa laws dictate that it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or more. An implied consent law binds all suspect vehicle operators to a chemical test of blood, breath, or urine to determine one’s BAC or to detect the presence of drugs. If a driver has a BAC of .08 percent or more, or the driver tests positive for the presence of a controlled substance, the driver is guilty of operating while intoxicated (OWI). A driver’s license may be suspended administratively as determined by the results of a chemical test or by court order as determined by the criminal penalties imposed by a judge. In addition, administrative suspensions may result from violations of .02 percent zero tolerance. Administrative suspensions are separate from and not dependent upon criminal charges.
Zero Tolerance Iowa DUI Penalties
Drivers under the age of 21 are bound by a zero-tolerance administrative rule. The rule establishes that underage individuals who test for a BAC of between .02 and .08 percent will have their licenses suspended for 60 days on an initial violation and 90 days for subsequent violations. If a driver is suspected of violating .02 percent zero tolerance and refuses a chemical test, the suspension is one year for the initial violation and two years for subsequent violations. A restricted license cannot be granted during the suspension period of a violation of zero tolerance.
Iowa DUI Penalties for Offenses
The penalties imposed for a first offense are a 180-day license suspension. Drivers over the age of 18, with no previous OWI convictions in the previous 12 years, may apply for a restricted license. Drivers under the age of 18 are not eligible for a restricted license.
The penalties imposed for a second offense of OWI within a 12-year period include a one-year license suspension. Suspensions for drivers under the age of 18 continue until expiration or the driver reaches age 18, whichever is later.
For both a first and second offense, if the offense involved an accident or the driver’s BAC was in excess of .15 percent, the driver must wait 30 days to become eligible for a restricted license. If the offense involved an accident or the driver’s BAC was greater than .10 percent, the driver is required to have an ignition interlock device installed in order to get a restricted license. If the driver refused to consent to the test, the court will require the driver to wait 90 days to apply for a restricted license.
The penalty for a third offense is license suspension for six years. However, a driver may make an application for a restricted license after one year if an ignition interlock device is installed on all vehicles.
If any offense results in personal injury, license suspension is one year in addition to any other suspension imposed. If any offense results in death, license suspension is six years, and the driver is not eligible for a restricted license for two years.
Driving With a Suspended License
Those who drive with a suspended license are committing a serious misdemeanor and can be subjected to a $1,000 fine if caught. If a driver’s license is suspended for OWI, the vehicle may be impounded. If it is a second or subsequent violation, the vehicle may be seized and forfeited to the state of Iowa. If the driver is not the owner of the vehicle, the owner is guilty of a simple misdemeanor.