During the past legislative session, the Iowa Legislature passed a bill which contains some important changes concerning driving privileges and work permits for those accused of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI or DUI) in Iowa.
The most dramatic change affects Defendant’s facing a second offense OWI. Currently under Iowa’s OWI law, a person accused of second offense OWI who took a breath test would face a year-long revocation of his or her driving privileges and during that time would not be eligible for a work permit. If the person refused the breath test, the revocation would be two years and could not get a work permit in the first year. While the revocation periods will remain the same, a Defendant who took a test will now be able to get a work permit after 45 days and for one who is alleged to have refused the test a work permit can be obtained after 90 days.
The bill is set to take effect on July 1, 2010, and appears to affect even those people whose license renovations for OWI began prior to the start date. This is particularly important to Defendant’s currently serving revocation for a second offense OWI since it may make them eligible for a work permit immediately after the law takes effect. The change in the law will affect people who were arrested prior to July 1, 2010.
This bill also fixes an enigmatic bit of law which required any Defendant convicted of a second offense OWI whose license had not been revoked administratively to face a revocation period of two years. This meant that a Defendant with a low breath test or one whose test had been suppressed would face a longer revocation upon conviction that the equivalent administrative revocation might have been if the test result had been higher. This bill brings the revocations triggered by the OWI conviction into line with the administrative revocations.
This blog is not intended as legal advice. If you are facing a driving sanction for OWI and would like to know how this coming change in Iowa law will affect you, please contact Attorney J. Dean Keegan or Thomas D. S. Farnsworth at our Iowa City or Cedar Rapids office for a free consultation.