Of all the potential consequences that people face after getting charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI), the loss of their license may be the most frustrating. After all, if you can’t drive, you will struggle to get to and from your job or to fulfill the basic obligations you have for family members, such as taking your children to doctors’ appointments or to soccer practice.

Given that the aim of OWI prosecution is to increase public safety, it makes sense that there are license consequences for drivers convicted of impaired driving offenses in Iowa. Unfortunately, those consequences can turn what would have been a mistake and learning opportunity into a true hardship.

Losing your license could impact your job or even custody of your children. Thankfully, Iowa offers temporary restricted licenses for those dealing with the aftermath of an OWI charge.

How does a temporary restricted license work?

As the name implies, a temporary restricted license (TRL) allows people who otherwise could not drive the legal ability to drive in certain circumstances. A TRL typically limits what vehicles they can legally operate. Iowa no longer limits driving times or locations for those with a TRL.

Typically, only vehicles with an ignition interlock device (IID) installed are legally drivable for someone with a TRL. While the thought of performing a breath test every time you start your vehicle may stress you out or embarrass you, being able to drive is certainly a much better option than depending on public transportation, ride-hailing apps, or friends and family members to get where you need to go.

You have to comply with the IID rules to retain your TRL

With an IID in your vehicle, you can’t start the car until you perform a breath test that shows you aren’t under the influence. Some people may try to get around that rule by borrowing someone else’s car or trading vehicles with a friend, family member or spouse. However, if you get pulled over and an officer discovers your vehicle doesn’t have an IID, that violates the terms of your TRL, which could mean that you lose it.

Limitations on driving may frustrate you, but it’s important to understand that the limited ability to drive is better than the total loss of your license.