Since 2020, I have seen a significant uptick in OWI cases where the person is also charged with possessing a dangerous weapon while under the influence. Possessing a dangerous weapon while under the influence is governed under Iowa Code Section 724.4C. Iowa Code Section 724.4C states in pertinent part:
Except as provided in subsection 2, a person commits a serious misdemeanor if the person is intoxicated as provided under the conditions set out in section 321J.2, subsection 1, paragraph “a”, “b”, or “c”, and the person does any of the following:
a. Carries a dangerousweapon on or about the person.
b. Carries a dangerousweapon within the person's immediate access or reach while in a vehicle.
2. This section shall not apply to any of the following:
a. A person who carries or possesses a dangerousweapon while in the person's own dwelling, place of business, or on land owned or lawfully possessed by the person.
b. The transitory possession or use of a dangerousweapon during an act of justified self-defense or justified defense of another, provided that the possession lasts no longer than is immediately necessary to resolve the emergency.
A serious misdemeanor carries up to one (1) year in the county jail and up to a $2,560.00 fine in Iowa. In OWI matters, law enforcement have recently been asking defendants if they have any weapons in their vehicles after the officer has suspected the defendant of operating their motor vehicle under the influence. Now note the Code Section states that the person must be intoxicated as defined under Iowa Code Section 321J.2. This includes that the person who is under the influence of drugs. Also note that this code section does not apply to people who are possessing firearms in their house or business while under the influence. Further, this section does not apply to persons who are acting in self-defense or defense of others. Lastly, to be convicted of this section one must carry the dangerous weapon on their person or within immediate reach while in a vehicle.