Being arrested on a first offense OWI charge in Iowa can have some serious consequences if not dealt with properly. It is very important for first time offenders to understand what they are up against. When you are arrested for an OWI offense you will be facing two separate cases.
The first is the OWI violation, or operating while intoxicated, this case will be handled through the Iowa court system. The second is the administrative penalties you will be facing against your driving privileges. You face license sanctions in two manners, the first is an administrative suspension by the Iowa Motor Vehicle Division, and you face a possible suspension by the court.
The fines for a first offense Serious Misdemeanor are $1,500. The mandatory minimum fine amount is $1,000 plus a 30% government surcharge.
The mandatory minimum jail sentence is 2 days up to a maximum of 1-year in jail for a Serious Misdemeanor offense.
Drivers License Suspension
A first offense OWI will result in a 180 day license suspension. As long as your BAC level was less than .15% and no accident occurred, you will be eligible for a temporary license immediately. If you registered a BAC of at least .10% or an accident occurred, you will be required to have an ignition interlock installed in your vehicle prior to being granted a temporary license.
If your BAC was .15% or greater you will have to wait 30 days before a temporary license is granted. You will also be require to file proof of financial responsibility with the MVD prior to being granted a temporary license or full reinstatement following your suspension period in the form of an Iowa SR22 filing. You can obtain an SR22 insurance filing and policy by entering your zip code below and completing the short form on the following page:
An ignition interlock device will be required if your BAC level was .10% or greater or an accident occurred due to your driving while intoxicated.
Chemical Test Refusal
If you refused to submit to a chemical test your driving privileges will be revoked for 1-year. You will be eligible for a temporary restricted license after the first 90 days of the revocation period have passed. You will also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.
In Iowa when you get arrested on a first offense OWI charge the arresting officer will take possession of your driver's license and issue you a "Notice of Suspension".
Important: In order to request an administrative hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge you will need to make the request within 10 days of your arrest to be granted a hearing. You will also need to request a hearing through the Iowa MVD by filling out the form that the arresting officer gave you.
If the officer did not give you a form, you will need to fax or hand deliver on a piece of paper your full name, address, phone number, date of birth, and driver's license number to make the request. This request can be made at any MVD location. This two part hearing process is very complex and it is important to speak with a skilled Iowa OWI lawyer as soon as possible to handle the hearing process and to represent you in court.
The Iowa Motor Vehicle Division will require all first time offenders to file what is called an SR-22 form with them before they will grant you a temporary license or before they fully reinstate your driving privileges following your suspension. The SR-22 form is a form that your Iowa insurance provider will file with the MVD. The form shows the Division that you have taken out an insurance policy that meets the state's minimum insurance requirements following an OWI arrest.
The SR-22 filing acts as an agreement between your insurance provider and the MVD. This agreement states that your insurer is obligated to inform the MVD if you fail to pay your premiums on time. If this occurs the MVD will cancel your driver's license and you will need to go through the license reinstatement process all over again.
There is no doubt that your SR22 insurance premiums are going to be a lot higher than you were paying for a standard auto insurance policy, but they don't have to be too unbearable. The best thing you can do right now is to get multiple quotes on your SR22 needs from multiple providers so that you can make an educated decision as far as who really has the cheapest policy. Get a quote now and find out.
Iowa OWI Laws - A complete overview of Iowa OWI laws including fines, jail time and penalties for each offense.
Iowa SR22 Insurance - Learn everything you need to know about Iowa SR22 filing requirements with the DMV and find out how you can save hundreds of dollars each year on your Iowa SR22 insurance.
Iowa OWI Lawyers - Contact one of our Iowa OWI lawyers today.
Iowa OWI Classes - We offer a complete listing of Iowa approved substance abuse program locations.