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What is the penalty for a first offense DUI in Iowa?

Across the United States, laws governing DUI charges are becoming stricter and more standardized. In most states, a first offense DUI conviction will come with potential jail time, fines, mandatory alcohol awareness classes and license suspension. In Iowa, many of these standards apply.

Defining a DUI
Every state in the United States observes .08 as the legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit for motor vehicle operation. However, just because your BAC is below .08 does not mean that you will get out of a DUI. If officers find evidence to suggest you are too intoxicated to drive, you can be arrested and charged with a DUI even if your BAC is under the legal limit.

Iowa also recognizes the implied consent law, which means that if you are stopped under suspicion of DUI, your consent to a chemical test is mandatory. If you refuse the test, your guilt is assumed, and penalties are often more severe.

First offense DUI in Iowa

The state of Iowa recognizes a first-offense DUI as a Serious Misdemeanor, and a conviction will include fines between $1,000 and $1,500 dollars, plus court costs. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be sentenced to anywhere between two days and one year.

Your license will be revoked by the Iowa Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The length of your license revocation period and your ability to apply for a temporary restricted license will be determined by the nature of your specific case. Aggravating factors, such as a dangerously high BAC level or evasive actions taken prior to your arrest, may make it more difficult to get a temporary license.

If you refuse a BAC chemical test, for example, you will lose your license automatically for one year. If the circumstances of your arrest are relatively benign, and your BAC is not especially elevated, your license may be suspended for the minimum of 180 days, and you may have luck applying for a temporary restricted license.

Administrative steps
When you are arrested for a first offense DUI, you have 10 days from the date of your arrest to schedule a hearing with the DMV in order to maintain your driving privileges. Enlisting the experience of a DUI attorney can be helpful. These professionals can help you schedule the appropriate hearings, and may also be able to advise you on how best to maintain your auto insurance through filing an SR-22 form with your insurance company.