New Iowa OWI Law Regarding Suspension of License


On July 1, 2018 the ability to drive wherever you want after being charged with an Iowa OWI/DUI will be much easier. Prior to July 1, 2018 there were hard suspensions on a person's driver's license and limitations on where a person could drive. For example, assuming the person did not receive a hard suspension, a person was only able to drive certain places at certain times such as work, school, or medical appointments. Now with the new law, a person will be able to drive wherever they want, whenever they want on the condition they fill out form 403400 (application), obtain SR22, and have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle(s). In other words, there will not be a hard suspension for a person who receives an OWI. The only exception to this is someone charged with vehicular homicide. Legislature's intent with this new law was to make it easier for members of the community to get to work without causing too much of a financial burden on them. A rationale around this is that if someone is unable to earn money, they cannot pay their fines to the State.

Prior to the enactment of this new law, a person who was charged with an OWI but blew under .10 was not required to install an ignition interlock device; also, a person charged with an OWI who had a positive drug test did not have to install an ignition interlock device. They simply obtained SR22 and paid a small civil penalty and they were able to get a work or school permit. Now everyone must install an ignition interlock device. There is only one exception to this requirement which is under Iowa Code 321J.12 where 12 years have elapsed since the underlying revocation. Simply put, the ignition interlock device installation will apply to essentially everyone who is charged with an OWI in Iowa. But the good news is, the person can drive wherever and whenever they want to places such as the grocery store, daycare, and court dates. Prior to the enactment, the person had to get a ride to these places.

It should be noted that a person who is charged/convicted of an OWI-First Offense, if they wanted to, may wait out their 6 month/1 year suspension and obtain their full driving privileges after the suspension period has passed. If it is a person's second or subsequent OWI, they are required to install the ignition interlock device before obtaining their full driving privileges back.

It should be noted that a person who is convicted of an OWI will be required to install the ignition interlock device on all of the vehicles they own.

This is a step forward in the Iowa OWI law as there should not be as many driving while revoked convictions in Iowa. It should also make it easier for the person to pay off their fines as we all know OWI fines, costs, and fees can about drain a person's bank account. Further, it will reduce the amount of people who lose their jobs due to OWI convictions.

If you have any questions regarding the new Iowa OWI license revocation law, do not hesitate to contact the Feld Law Firm. An OWI defense attorney would be happy to speak with you about your situation and point you in the right direction.