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How long will you lose your license over an Iowa OWI?

When an Iowa police officer pulls you over for operating while under the influence (OWI), you may have to perform field sobriety tests and a chemical breath test. If either of those tests gives an officer more reason to suspect impairment, they might arrest you.

Many people plead guilty to impaired driving or OWI offenses not because they believe they broke the law but because they think pleading guilty is a simpler solution than trying to fight the charges in court. If you plead guilty, there is no guarantee that you will avoid the worst penalties for the charges, which might include jail time and fines.

You will also likely lose your driving privileges after a conviction for an OWI offense.

How long does the license revocation last?

When the state revokes your license for an OWI, your prior driving record has a major impact on the penalties you face. An OWI conviction in Iowa will lead to a temporary loss of your driving privileges.

A first OWI will mean the revocation of your license for 180 days. A second offense or an OWI for someone with a prior license revocation within the last 12 years doubles that time, meaning you will go a full year without a license. Underage drivers will face revocation until the period ends or they turn 18, whichever takes longer to occur. A third OWI carries even more serious penalties, including a six-year license revocation.

Some drivers subject to license revocation for OWI charges may qualify for restricted driving privileges if they install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicles.

Losing your license is more than an inconvenience

The revocation of your driver’s license can significantly complicate your daily life. You may have a hard time getting to work or getting your children to school. You may even struggle with transportation for medical appointments or household past, like grocery shopping.

Struggling to secure reliable transportation to school or work could affect your grades or career. Some employers will fire workers who are frequently late, even if the situation is outside of their control. If driving is part of your job, the license suspension could affect your employment. You could lose your commercial license or ability to drive a vehicle from the company.

Mounting a defense to pending OWI charges is the best way to protect your driving privileges and future after an arrest.