What Is a Felony OWI/DUI in Iowa?

Aggravating factors that can make a drunk driving charge a felony.

Iowa's OWI (operating while intoxicated) laws prohibit operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more or while under the influence of (impaired by) drugs or alcohol, or with any amount of a controlled substance in your system. Most OWI convictions are misdemeanor criminal offenses. But certain aggravating factors can make an OWI a felony.

Here are some of the circumstances that can result in felony OWI charges in Iowa.

Third OWI Conviction Is a Felony

For most first and second OWIs in Iowa, the offender will be looking at misdemeanor charges. But when an offender has two or more prior OWI convictions, the current offense generally can be charged as a class D felony. A conviction generally carries 30 days to five years in jail, $3,125 to $9,375 in fines, and a six-year license revocation.

OWI-Related Injuries and Deaths

An OWI offender who causes serious injury to another person can be charged with a class D felony. Convicted motorists face up to five years in jail, $1,025 to $10,245 in fines, and a six-year license revocation.

The offense is a class C felony if the victim was a minor and carries up to ten years in prison and $1,375 to $13,660 in fines. And, even if the minor suffered injuries that weren't serious, the offense is still a class D felony.

Causing the death of another person while operating under the influence is considered "vehicular homicide" and a class B felony. A conviction carries up to 25 years in prison (up to 50 years in prison if the victim was a minor).

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