How Quickly Can I Drive Again After an OWI in Iowa?

How quickly you can drive again after an OWI in Iowa depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • your number of previous offenses or revocations
  • your age at the time of the offense
  • consent or refusal to take the breathalyzer test

First Offense

After your first OWI offense, with some exceptions, typically you will lose your license for 180 days, or 6 months. However, if you refuse to take the breathalyzer test at the police station, you will lose your license for a full year.

With some exceptions, you likely will be eligible for deferred judgement after your first offense if you did not refuse the breathalyzer test and your BAC was under .15%. This means that you will not serve jail time, you will be placed on probation, and formal judgment and conviction will not be entered if you successfully complete your probation. However, a deferred judgment does not mean that you get to keep your license. Typically there still is a license revocation. Also, even though the case is expunged from the public record, the State still can use the prior revocation and deferred judgment against you for future charging or sentencing enhancements, and revocation enhancements.

Second Offense

For a second OWI (within 12 years), you will be revoked for 1 year if you agree to take the breathalyzer test. If you refuse the test, you lose your license for 2 years.

Third Offense

Your third OWI conviction within 12 years will result in your license being revoked for 6 years. Your decision to take or refuse the breathalyzer test does not change the length of time you are revoked after your third offense conviction. However, the refusal or consent can have some impact on the revocation if you are acquitted. Even if acquitted, you likely will lose your license for 2 years for a test refusal.

Driving Again After an OWI

There are specific requirements you must meet to get your license back. To drive again after an OWI in Iowa, typically you must:

  • Maintain SR-22 insurance for two years
  • Pay a $200 civil penalty
  • Pay for and attend a 12-hour drinking driver education program (though this is not required if you attend the 48-hour OWI weekend course as part of the criminal case)
  • Be on probation with the Department of Transportation for 1 year even after getting your license again. A moving violation can cause a suspension for a like period.

Even while you are revoked, you may still be able to drive with a temporary restricted license! As of July 1, 2018, you may be able to drive again immediately. Contact your attorney to discuss what the requirements are, or check out my article on the TRL Update.

Work with a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been arrested for an OWI, contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss your case. To learn more about drunk driving in Iowa, visit my OWI page.

If you have further questions, please contact me via my Contact Me form.