Iowa no longer revokes drivers’ licenses for most drug possession convictions.
However, what few realize is if you have had your driver’s license revoked for a drug-related conviction, and it is still revoked as a result, you probably can have it reinstated, because the law is retroactive.
Iowa House File 2502, signed into law by the governor, struck Iowa Code section 901.5(10), which required a 180-day driver’s license revocation for most drug convictions (even ones that were non-driving related). The retro-activity language states that someone whose license is suspended or revoked pursuant to 901.5(10) prior to the effective date of the act shall be reinstated, if otherwise eligible.
Iowa House File 2502
Sec. 102. Section 901.5, subsection 10, Code 2018, is amended by striking the subsection.
Sec. 103. REINSTATEMENT OF DRIVER’S LICENSE. A defendant’s driver’s license suspended or revoked pursuant to section 901.5, subsection 10, prior to the effective date of this division of this Act, shall be reinstated, if the defendant is otherwise eligible for a driver’s license.
Repeals Iowa Code section 901.5(10), which revokes a defendant’s driver’s license for 180 days if the defendant is convicted of a controlled substance offense under Iowa Code sections 124.401, 124.401A, 124.402, or 124.403. Specifies that this change takes effect on the date the Governor submits to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation a written certification that the Governor is opposed to the enforcement in Iowa of a law described in 23 U.S.C. §159(a)(3)(A), and a written certification that the General Assembly has adopted a joint resolution expressing its opposition to the same, in accordance with federal law.
CODE: Repeals Iowa Code section 901.5(10), which revokes a defendant’s driver’s license for 180 days if the defendant is convicted of a controlled substance offense under Iowa Code sections 124.401, 124.401A, 124.402, or 124.403. This Section makes conforming changes and provides that a defendant’s driver’s license that was suspended or revoked pursuant to Iowa Code section 901.5(10) prior to the effective date of the section shall be reinstated if the defendant is otherwise eligible for a driver’s license.
FISCAL IMPACT: This Section is estimated to reduce revenue to the Statutory Allocations Fund from driver’s license reinstatement fees. It is estimated there will be fewer individuals paying a $20 driver’s license reinstatement fee if the drug revocation provision is eliminated. However, those individuals whose licenses are revoked for a drug offense often have an additional offense that would result in a license revocation. Also, a person who has a revoked or suspended license for multiple offenses or who is serving back-to-back revocations would not have to pay the $20 fee. As a result, the reduction in revenue to the Statutory Allocation Fund is estimated to be approximately $24,000. This Section is also estimated to have a positive impact on the DOT operating budget. The removal of the requirement to revoke driver’s licenses for a drug conviction will reduce workload for DOT staff. It is estimated there will be some salary savings due to the decrease in processing sanction notices and Temporary Restricted License applications that would offset the lost revenue. It is estimated there will be approximately 2,389 hours of increased FTE position capacity statewide, equalling approximately 1.00 full-time equivalent (FTE) position. The corresponding salary savings is approximately $55,263.
Iowa Code section 901.5(10), before it was struck down, said the following:
10. a. In addition to any sentence imposed pursuant to chapter 902 or 903, the court shall order the department of transportation to revoke the defendant’s driver’s license or motor vehicle operating privilege for a period of one hundred eighty days, or to delay the issuance of a driver’s license for one hundred eighty days after the person is first eligible if the defendant has not been issued a driver’s license, and shall send a copy of the order in addition to the notice of conviction required under section 124.412, 126.26, or 453B.16, to the department of transportation, if the defendant is being sentenced for any of the following offenses: (1) A controlled substance offense under section 124.401, 124.401A, 124.402, or 124.403. (2) A drug or drug-related offense under section 126.3. (3) A controlled substance tax offense under chapter 453B.