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Is license loss automatic after an Iowa OWI offense?

On Behalf of | May 30, 2024 | Drunk Driving |

Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (OWI) is against the law in Iowa. Those who cannot drive safely because they have had too much to drink and those who are over the legal limit for their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) are at risk of arrest and prosecution.

The Iowa criminal courts can potentially hand down an assortment of different penalties for an OWI conviction. Drivers often worry about jail time or financial penalties. They may also feel quite anxious about the prospect of losing their driver’s license. After all, being unable to drive can affect someone’s career, their social life and their ability to care for their dependent family members. It can also be very expensive to pay for transportation because of a driver’s license issue.

It is common for those convicted of OWI offenses to lose their driver’s licenses. But, is giving up independent transportation inevitable after an OWI conviction?

There is an alternative available for some drivers

In certain scenarios, those accused of an OWI offense can potentially retain limited driving privileges if they take the right steps. However, a license revocation from the courts is standard after an OWI infraction. Someone’s eligibility to continue driving depends on their age and driving record.

A first OWI in the last 12 years can lead to up to 180 days of license revocation. However, drivers can request a temporary restricted license. To qualify, they need to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle, and they can only drive vehicles with IIDs installed until they regain their standard license.

Younger drivers may not be able to avoid the license revocation ordered in a first-time OWI case. Anyone with a prior OWI conviction or license revocation in the last 12 years faces more serious penalties. The courts can revoke their license for up to a year, although some drivers can qualify for restricted licenses with IID installation.

Those who want to avoid an IID requirement or the embarrassment of a criminal record may benefit from looking at their options to defend against an OWI charge. Reviewing the state’s case with a skilled defense team can help someone evaluate their different potential options for fighting Iowa OWI charges.

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