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Criminal Defense Attorney in Des Moines, Iowa – Nicholas Lombardi

Iowa OWI Second Offense, Now What?

If you’re pulled over for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) and this is your second offense, it’s important to know your rights. One of those rights is the right to remain silent, and that’s exactly what you should do. Once you’re being investigated for an OWI in Iowa, you’re being investigated for committing a crime, there’s no amount of talking that’s going to change the officer’s mind. In fact, what you say can and will be used against you.

Admitting that you just left the bar, that you only had a couple of drinks, or even that it’s been hours since your last drink could all lead to a reasonable suspicion that you’re driving under the influence. And, surprising to many, that’s all it takes to legally investigate you and request a sample of a chemical test, reasonable suspicion that you’re operating an automobile while under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol.

If they’re investigating you for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance admitting that you’ve used a controlled substance at any time in the recent future could result in reasonable suspicion that you’re driving under the influence. In fact, in Iowa, any detectable amount of a controlled substance in your blood, urine, or chemical test can lead to a conviction for driving under the influence. That’s right you could’ve used marijuana legally in Colorado last week and there’s a possibility that you could still be arrested, charged, and convicted of driving under the influence in Iowa if a test is requested and comes back positive for THC. It’s time to shut up and lawyer up. 

This leads me to your second right, the right to consult an attorney. Prior to answering any questions, performing any test, or providing a Datamaster chemical test sample, you have the right to consult with an attorney and that’s exactly what you should do.  Should you be denied this right the refusal or results from any test performed can be suppressed which could result in the dismissal of the charges against you.


2 + 8 =

Following the Arraignment, and prior to the Pretrial Conference, a Motion to Produce is filed with the court. After the Motion is filed a judge will enter an Order that orders the state to provide the defendant or their attorney with all the evidence it has against the defendant.  It’s at this point the attorney will review the stop and subsequent request for a breath, urine or blood sample to determine if there were any constitutional violations or errors in the request. It will also be determined if there are questions for the officer and if depositions will need to be held. If there are constitutional violations or errors then a suppression motion will then be filed. If not you will typically proceed to the pretrial conference where plea discussions, the need for depositions or your intent to proceed to trial will be discussed. Following this hearing further pretrial conferences or a status conference will be set. These conferences are similar to the first pretrial conference with each subsequent hearing bringing you closer to trial.


What you need to know about the State of Iowa legal process


In Iowa, there are two components to driving under the influence charge.

  • The first component is the criminal side. In Iowa driving under the influence is defined as Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) under Iowa Code Section 321J.2Operating while intoxicated second offense is an Aggravated Misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison, a minimum of 7 days in the county jail, and a minimum fine of $1,875.00, maximum fine of $6,250.00 with a 35% surcharge and court costs. There are often other costs associated with driving under the influence such as a $300.00 probation fee, $650.00 Operating While Intoxicated II weekend program, alcohol evaluation, and treatment costs.
  • The second component of an OWI is the administrative side. In simple terms, it’s what is going to happen with your driver’s license. You have 10 days from the date of your arrest to file an appeal of your driver’s license suspension. Further, some law enforcement agencies may not retain the videos, recordings, or evidence of activities occur inside the jail unless it is promptly requested. If that evidence is lost, it will be difficult to dispute the officer’s statements in their report, and, let’s be honest, they never put anything favorable to the accused in their reports.

If an appeal is timely filed your suspension will be stayed and an administrative hearing will be set. Prior to the hearing, you will have the ability to receive the evidence against you and at the hearing, you will have the ability to raise issues and question the arresting officer. Any constitutional violations may result in the dismissal of the suspension in which case you will not lose your driver’s license.

 If a breath sample was provided, and there were no issues with the administration of the data master test, your license will be suspended for one year. If the breath sample was refused, and there were no issues with the procedure of the request, your license will be suspended for two years. In any event, assuming there are no other license issues, you are eligible for a Temporary Restricted License commonly referred to as a TRL. In order to be issued a temporary restricted license, you must obtain SR22 automobile insurance, install an Ignition Interlock Device (commonly known as a breathalyzer), and pay a $200.00 civil reinstatement fee.

*If there was a personal injury or death, other conditions and length of suspension will be different than above.


Common Question in regards to your second OWI offense


What are the punishments and consequences of your second OWI in Iowa?

Financial breakdown of the fines and fees you are obligated to take care of for an OWI second offense in Iowa:

  • Fine – $1,875.00
  • Surcharge (35%) – $666.25
  • Costs – $100.00

Total $2,641.25

You will again have to obtain SR-22 Insurance, Install an Ignition Interlock device and pay for a civil reinstatement Fee.

  • SR-22 Insurance – Commonly 89% higher rate than your regular car insurance rate.
  • Ignition Interlock Device – Around $60 – $100 Per Month

Jail Time:

You are looking at a minimum of 7 days but no longer than 2 years.

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