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Iowa Restricted License after OWI Arrest

It is illegal in the state of Iowa to operate a motorized vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher. Drivers may also be arrested for drunk driving in Iowa if a police officer has probable cause to believe they were not able to safely operate their motorized vehicle. Most drivers do not realize if they are arrested for OWI in Iowa there are administrative as well as Iowa DUI criminal penalties. Administrative penalties can be assessed against the driver by the Iowa Department of Transportation. To fight the administration license suspension drivers should request an administrative hearing within 10 days from the date of the drunk driving arrest.

Can I get a restricted license after a drunk driving arrest in Iowa?

  Drivers who have not been convicted of drunk driving within the previous 12 years are considered first time offenders. If you are convicted of a first time OWI in Iowa and your license has not already been suspended by the Iowa Department of Transportation, the court can revoke your license for 180 days. Drivers who receive a deferred judgment will have their license revoked for 30 to 90 days.

Requirements for a Restricted License in Iowa:

  Drivers arrested with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.08% to .10% can apply for a temporary restricted license immediately without having to install an ignition interlock device. Drivers who caused bodily injury will have to wait for 30 days to get a restricted license, and they will have to install an ignition interlock device on their car. Drivers who refused a blood alcohol content test will have their license revoked for at least one year and will have to serve 90 days suspension before they can request a restricted license. To request a temporary restricted license you need to complete Application for Temporary Restricted License after it has been reviewed and approved you must take it to a DOT driver's license station where you may be required to:
  • Pass all required examinations (vision, written and/or driving test)
  • Pay any civil penalties
  • File proof of financial responsibility
  • Pay a $20 reinstatement fee
  • If your Iowa driving privileges have been revoked for operating while intoxicated (OWI), you will have to complete all requirements of Iowa's OWI law, including possible installation of an ignition interlock device.

Where can I drive on my Iowa restricted license?

  According to the Iowa Department of Motor Vehicles you can do any of the following with a temporary restricted permit.
  • Employment (work permit)
  • Health care - for you or a dependent
  • Child care
  • Continuing education
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Court-ordered community service
  • Probation or parole officer appointments

Reinstating an Iowa Driver’s License after suspension

  If your driver’s license has been revoked for any OWI offense under Iowa Code § 321J (whether as a result of a court order or administrative action), the license or privilege may not be reinstated until the person:
  • Pays a $200 civil penalty.
  • Presents proof of completion of a course for drinking drivers.
  • Presents proof of completion of a substance abuse evaluation and treatment or rehabilitation services.
  • Complies with financial responsibility law, if applicable
(Information provided by the Iowa Department of Motor Vehicles)
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