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How temporary licensing works after an Iowa OWI conviction

Operating while intoxicated (OWI) is a common criminal offense in Iowa and one that people tend to repeat. Those accused of impaired driving could eventually get arrested for the same thing again in the future. About a quarter of the drivers charged with OWI offenses in Iowa are repeated offenders.

Criminal penalties and temporary license suspensions are some of the penalties that Iowa uses to keep people from driving after drinking. A first OWI offense can mean losing your license for 180 days, while a second offense can keep you off the roads for a year. Those penalties double if a driver refuses to take a chemical breath test.

Those who need to drive care for their families or keep their job and obtain restricted license those. How does a restricted license after an OWI offense in Iowa work?

All drivers with an OWI conviction must install an ignition interlock device

Drivers who apply for temporary restricted licenses and those getting their driving privileges back after completing a suspension will typically need to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicles. It will be the driver’s responsibility to pay the fees associated with IID installation and maintenance.

While holding a temporary restricted license, a driver will have to perform a chemical breath test every time they start their vehicle and occasionally while driving. An IID will stop someone from driving their car if there is alcohol on their breath and will also create a record of failed driving attempts that could impact someone trying to get their fold driving privileges back.

Unlike other states, which may limit where or when people travel on restricted licenses, Iowa’s temporary restricted license only limits someone to driving vehicles that have IIDs installed in them.

A temporary restricted license gets you back on the road

Going to court to request a temporary restricted license can help minimize how severe the consequences of an OWI are for you. Rather than going months without being able to drive at all, you will be able to drive provided that you passed the chemical test and pay all the associated fees.

Understanding how restricted licensing works could help you better respond to a pending OWI charge as an Iowa driver.