August 2, 2017

Stopped by Police, Suspected Drunk Driving?

By Ray Scheetz

It can happen to anyone:  You have had one too many drinks and you get behind the wheel and head home.  Before you know it, blue and white lights are flashing in your rearview mirror and you know what is about to happen.  This can be an extremely nerve-wracking experience, and you may begin to fear that your life has changed forever. While this is often not the case, drivers in Iowa are typically unfamiliar with the repercussions of an OWI (operating while intoxicated) / DUI (driving under influence) charge.  It is important to understand that you are not alone if you have been arrested for DUI; an experienced Iowa criminal defense attorney can be an invaluable asset as your case progresses.  Your attorney will stand up for you during your time of need and ensure that you are being treated fairly and in accordance with the law.

Drunk Driving in Iowa

In Iowa, 3.1% of the adult population has admitted to operating a vehicle after having too much to drink.  This shocking statistic is one of the reasons that Iowa is in the top ten states nationwide for DUI / OWI arrests.  A drunk driving offense in Iowa is referred to as OWI, or operating a vehicle while intoxicated.  If you are arrested for OWI, you will be facing both a criminal and civil case.  The criminal case will be related to your OWI arrest, while your civil case will involve the potential suspension of your driver’s license.

Prior to any ruling on your OWI case, you will spend a significant amount of time in the court system and will also have to pay numerous court fees.  If you are ultimately found guilty of OWI, you will face a fine of $1,250.00, a 30% surcharge, and a minimum jail sentence of two days.  Although, the judge will take into account the specifics of your DUI arrest and may levy a harsher punishment should he or she see fit.  You may face a more severe sentence if you injured someone or damaged property.  If this is your second or third OWI offense, you will automatically be subject to increased jail time and fines compared to first-time offenders.

OWI Penalties in Iowa

In Iowa, if you are convicted of OWI for your first offense, you will face a minimum license suspension of 180 days.  If it is your second offense, you will face a minimum license suspension of one year.  You will also have to attend alcohol education classes and the judge may order you to enter an alcohol treatment program.  If your blood alcohol level was above 0.1% at the time of your arrest, you may also have to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.  If you refuse to submit to a blood alcohol test, your license will automatically be suspended for one year.

Do You Need Help?

If you have been charged with DUI or OWI, it is important to understand that you are not alone.  An experienced Iowa DUI defense attorney can be an important asset as you fight the charge.  At the Law Office of Raphael M. Scheetz, our dedicated Iowa criminal defense team is ready to advocate on your behalf as you fight for your freedom.  Do not take these charges lightly; call us today at 800-450-3140 to find out how we can help.