Second Offense DUI in Iowa

In Iowa, driving under the influence (DUI) is rferred to as "operating while intoxicated" (OWI). A second offense OWI (within 12 years of a previous conviction or license revocation) is an aggravated misdemeanor with enhanced penalties. In addition to criminal penalties, violators may also face administrative penalties in the form of license revocation. Adults 21 or typically trigger an OWI with a .08% blood alcohol content (BAC) but a driver under 21 years of age violates the OWI law if his or her BAC iw .02 or more.

Administrative Penalties

Under Section 321J.2(3)(c) of Iowa's code, upon a second OWI violation a violator's license may be revoked for a period of one year. However, if the revocation is pursuant to the driver's refusal to submit to chemical testing, the revocation period is two years. If there were no prior revocations under this section, the period of revocation is 180 days. In this case, an offender may request a temporary restricted license in exchange for the installation of an ignition interlock. However, if the driver refuses to submit to chemical testing, he or she is not eligible for a temporary restricted license for a minimum period of 90 days. If the driver had a BAC of .08 or more but less than .10 at the time of the offense, and an accident occurred, he or she is ineligible for a temporary restricted license for at least 30 days and have an ignition interlock installed on all of the driver's vehicles. Absent any accident, there is no period of ineligibility and no requirement for interlock installation.

Criminal Penalties

A second OWI offense in Iowa incurs a minimum imprisonment period in the county jail or community-based correctional facility of seven days but not more than two years. Also, the violator must pay a minimum fine of $1,850 up to a maximum of $6,250. Surcharges and other fees may also be assessed. Additionally, the violator may be sentenced to a substance abuse evaluation and treatment, a course for drinking drivers, or a reality based education program for substance abuse prevention.

Lookback Period

Iowa's lookback period is 12 years -- that is, previous OQI convictions within 12 years count as "priors."

Felony vs. Misdemeanor in Iowa

A second offense is classified as an aggravated misdemeanor, a step up from a regular misdemeanor for a first offense. An aggravated misdemeanor accrues the criminal penalties mentioned above.  

Consult an Attorney

If you face second-offense DUI charges in Iowa, you risk up to two years in jail if convicted. Also, you may have to pay fines up to just over $6,000. Talk with an experienced DUI attorney to discuss possible defenses and plea options in case of prosecution.

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