Iowa DUI Laws

Iowa's DUI laws are strict, requiring first offenders to face fines of up to $1,250, 2 days to 1 year in jail, and a minimum license suspension of 80 days.

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: May 9, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Iowa has implied consent laws, which mean that in order to use public roadways, you consent to alcohol testing
  • Iowa has strict penalties for DUIs
  • If you have been convicted of a DUI in Iowa, you will have to complete an SR22 form and then get appropriate car insurance

Iowa has implied consent laws. This means that in exchange for the right to use Iowa’s public roads and highways, drivers have agreed to allow testing of their blood, urine, or breath to determine if they have been using alcohol or drugs while driving.

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It is against the law in the state of Iowa to operate a motor vehicle under the following conditions:

  • The driver is under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, other drug, or a combination of both
  • The driver has a 0.08% or higher blood alcohol level
  • The driver has any amount of a controlled substance in his or her body

Iowa and Implied Consent

The purpose of the Iowa car insurance implied consent law is to enable law enforcement officers to immediately remove drivers from the roads who are a threat to the safety of themselves and others.

This law says the state of Iowa can ask that testing is done without having to obtain a legal warrant.

After being pulled over, if a driver refuses to submit to testing, the state can revoke his or her driver’s license for a certain length of time whether or not the person has been convicted in the courts.

However, before a law officer can invoke the implied consent law, there are certain criteria that must be met:

  1. The officer must be a qualified peace officer under Iowa law.
  2. The officer must have reason to believe the suspect driver is driving under the influence of alcohol,
    drugs, or both.
  3. If necessary the officer can request that a driver undergo sobriety testing.

Then one of the following must occur:

  • The officer arrests the driver for violating the DUI law.
  • The driver expresses an unwillingness to take a preliminary breath test.
  • The breath test is given to the driver and showed the alcohol level was at or above the legal limit.
  • The breath test is given and showed the alcohol level below the legal limit, but the officer has reason to believe that the person was under the influence of a controlled substance, a drug that was not alcohol, or a combination of alcohol and drugs.

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Iowa DUI License Revocation

For how long do you lose your license for a DUI in Iowa? If invoking the implied consent law, before asking the driver to undergo chemical testing, the officer must explain to the driver that if he either refuses the test or “flunks” the test, his driver’s license will be revoked.

This revocation will be for one year if the driver has had no prior revocations and for two years if this is not the first time his license has been taken away in the last 12 years.

Also, the driver will not be allowed to have a temporary license or work permit for at least 90 days after the first revocation, or at least one year if he has had his license revoked in the past.

If the driver allows the chemical test to be administered and the results show that he or she had used alcohol at or above the legal limit or a controlled substance or other drug, the Iowa Department of Transportation has to revoke their drivers license for at least 180 days.

With Iowa auto insurance, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can turn out to be a very costly mistake. There will be consequences for the poor judgment they used while driving in this condition.

If their indiscretion caused no harm or injury to anyone or anything, they might get off with less punishment. The judge might decide to forgive some of the fines they would ordinarily have to pay if they had caused damage or personal injury.

When the fines are levied against them, if they are unable to pay them, the judge will assign some form of community service that they will be required to perform for a certain length of time.

Besides monetary fines, they might also be ordered to serve as much as one year in jail.

Fines and Penalties for Iowa DUI

The state of Iowa DUI laws have different degrees of punishment depending on the number of times a driver has been charged with DUI:

First Offense

  • Two days to one year in jail
  • Community service for as many as 200 hours or up to $1250 in fines with additional surcharge of 35%
  • 80 days to one-year loss of drivers license
  • Assessment and treatment relating to the use of alcohol or substance abuse

Second Offense

  • Imprisonment from 7 days to 2 years
  • Fines as high as $5000 with additional 35% surcharge
  • Loss of drivers license from 1 to 2 years
  • Analysis and treatment for alcohol use or substance abuse

Third Offense

  • Class D felony offense.
  • Jail sentence for 30 days or as long as 5 years in prison
  • Fines for as much as $7500 with a 35 percent surcharge
  • Alcohol or substance abuse evaluation and treatment

Iowa DUI Insurance Regulations

BAC stands for the Blood Alcohol Concentration level. If the BAC test was taken no more than 2 hours from the time the person was driving, the result is used as his or her actual BAC level for while they were driving.

Different BAC levels will determine the degree to which the driver is penalized:

  • 0.08 to 0.10 percent – 180 day suspended license.
  • 0.10 to 0.15 percent – 180-day suspension and an ignition interlock device to be installed in your vehicle in order to get a work permit.
  • Greater than or equal to 0.151 percent – 180-day license suspension, 30 days wait before eligible to apply for a work permit and installation of an ignition interlock device required for a work permit.

Results of chemical testing are permitted as court evidence if properly administered by a qualified person using approved equipment. Blood testing must be done by a doctor, registered nurse, or another qualified person.

Rigid sanitary conditions and the use of proper equipment are also a must. Test refusal means a one- to two-year loss of license with a work permit being allowed after one year. Refusal is also admissible in court as evidence.

A defendant can have independent testing done after the police testing is completed. The independent testing will be at his or her expense and must be done by a qualified person.

The results of any testing must be made accessible to the defendant and his or her attorney when requested.

When convicted of DUI in Iowa, a person will have to take twelve hours of alcohol education class at a cost of $60.

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Iowa DUI Insurance Options

In addition to fines and educational program fees, drivers will find that being convicted of DUI in the state of Iowa will have a considerable impact on their rates.

It may also affect their ability to make a living and support their families if they have to drive to work or if their job requires them to do a lot of driving.

If convicted in Iowa of DUI, a person might be dropped by their current car insurance companies, or they might be reclassified by their company and labeled as a high-risk driver.

If the person is unable to show a worth of at least $55,000 to satisfy Iowa’s financial responsibility law, the insurance company will have to submit an SR-22 form to the Office of Driver Services in order to obtain insurance coverage for them.

Regardless as to whether they are able to continue with their current company or forced to find another, they can be sure their car insurance premiums will see a significant increase.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Iowa and need new car insurance rates, enter your ZIP in our tool below to receive INSTANT quotes free of charge!

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