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How long can someone lose their license for an OWI offense in Iowa?

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2023 | Drunk Driving |

In Iowa, there are three main penalties imposed for an operating while under the influence (OWI) offense. An Iowa OWI offense is essentially the same thing as a driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge in many other states

An OWI carries certain possible penalties, and the exact sentence someone must serve relies on the discretion of the judge hearing their case.  Both convictions during trials and guilty pleas will lead to significant criminal consequences. Judges can sentence someone to jail time and financial penalties. Judges also have the authority to suspend or revoke someone’s driver’s license.

How long could driver’s license penalties last if someone pleads guilty to an OWI offense in Iowa?

Recent driving records play a major role

When a judge decides what penalties to impose, they will look at state law and the details of the situation. A basic OWI offense in which no one suffers injuries and there are no other aggravating factors could be the first major blemish on someone’s record. Other times, multiple prior offenses could influence how a judge penalizes a defendant.

A first OWI conviction in Iowa will mean at least a 180-day revocation of someone’s license. It could last for up to a year. A second conviction within 12 years of the first will lead to a longer revocation period. A second conviction usually means going at least a year without a license, although people can install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles to secure a temporary restricted license instead. A third offense can lead to up to six years without a license.

Drivers who want to continue driving during that period must pay to install ignition interlock devices (IIDs) in their vehicles to regain restricted driving privileges. An IID will need to be present in any vehicle someone operates during the revocation period. The driver will need to pay to install the device and routinely pay for its maintenance and calibration as well.

The only way to completely eliminate such penalties involves going to trial and defeating the pending criminal charges. Learning about the possible penalties can help people see the value in assertively defending against Iowa OWI charges.

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