Iowa DUI Laws

It doesn’t pay to drive drunk in Iowa. Iowa DUI laws come with pricier fines than in other states. If you’re convicted of drunk driving, a first offense can cost you up to $1,250 and one year in jail. A third offense is considered a Class D felony by Iowa state DUI laws, and drivers can face up to five years in jail. If you need help find affordable car insurance after a DUI, enter your ZIP code below to get free high-risk car insurance quotes.

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jun 4, 2021

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Breaking Iowa DUI laws and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs changes your reaction time and often results in an accident. Compare DUI laws and compare car insurance! The state of Iowa takes a no-nonsense stance on DUI and OWI offenses so that other drivers are confident that the roads are safe.

Iowa DUI laws are set up so that drivers who operate a motor vehicle after drinking alcohol or taking other drugs, including some prescription drugs, will not repeat the offense. If you find yourself in a DUI predicament with car insurance, take the time to compare car insurance quotes with our ZIP code search!

The Facts on Iowa DUI Laws

The state laws regarding driving under the influence or operating while under the influence are unique to the state of Iowa, though most of the laws are similar to other states. Iowa takes a straightforward approach to DUI laws and is clear about what is legal and what is not. If you get caught breaking an Iowa DUI law, then you can see your Iowa car insurance rise drastically!

  • Iowa has an implied consent law related to drunk driving. Police officers who believe that any driver is drunk can request a blood test, urine sample or breathalyzer test.
  • Any individual who is driving with a blood alcohol concentration or BAC of 0.08 percent or higher is legally drunk in the state of Iowa. This means that he or she is illegally operating a motor vehicle
  • Anyone who drinks while underage, or younger than 21 years old, and has a BAC at 0.02 percent or higher is illegally drinking and driving.
  • An exaggerated BAC level in the state of Iowa is 0.15 percent or higher. The consequences for an elevated BAC are stricter than those who drive at 0.08 percent.
  • A commercial vehicle operator must not have a BAC above 0.04 percent in the state of Iowa.

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Iowa DUI Consequences

The consequences of breaking Iowa DUI laws are harsh. Iowa does not provide leniency when it comes to driving under the influence of any substance. You should also expect consequences within your insurance. This could keep your from finding cheap car insurance!

  • First time offenders have a minimum of 48 hours in jail and might spend up to one year in jail.
  • After the first DUI offense, drivers are required to pay a fine that ranges from $625 to $1,250.
  • All first time DUI offenders will have a license suspension for six months. During this time, the car might be equipped with an ignition interlocking device. Anyone whose BAC was 0.10 percent or higher is required to have an ignition interlocking device in the state of Iowa.
  • A second DUI offense in Iowa requires a minimum of seven days in jail and up to two years depending on the situation.
  • All second DUI offenders will pay a fine between $1,875 and $6,250.
  • A second offense might result in the loss of a license for up to two years. On average, a license is suspended between one and two years in Iowa.
  • The third DUI or OWI offense is considered a Class D felony in the state of Iowa. All drivers who commit a third offense might spend up to five years in jail.
  • A third offense is fined between $3,125 and $9,375 in the state of Iowa.
  • All third time offenders will lose their driving privileges. The amount of time might range from three to six years, depending on the situation.
  • All drivers in the state of Iowa who drive under the influence, whether it is a first, second or third offense, must take a drinking drivers course and are required to undergo a substance abuse evaluation. The state might require a treatment program for some individuals if an evaluation suggests that treatment is necessary. The classes, evaluation and treatment are paid by the offender.
  • Anyone who drives during the time period their license is revoked will receive another $1,000 fine.

Aggravated DUI in Iowa

An aggravated DUI carries harsher punishments than non-aggravated offenses. Depending on the situation, a judge determines the appropriate penalties for driving a vehicle with an aggravated offense.

  • A BAC level of 0.15 is considered an aggravated offense due to the high level of alcohol in the blood. The penalties for this particular aggravated offense differ based on the situation.
  • Any time a minor, or someone below the age of 18, is in the vehicle during a DUI offense, the driver is charged with an aggravated offense. In this case, even a BAC of 0.08 percent is considered aggravated due to the involvement of a child.

Time Period Between Offenses

The Iowa DUI laws take DUI and OWI offenses seriously. As a result, the time period between offenses is high when compared to other states. In Iowa, if a DUI occurs within 12 years of the previous offense, the next offense is considered a second offense.

This 12 year time period not only applies to those who have an offense in Iowa within the last 12 years, but also to those who have an offense from another state. Anyone who moves to Iowa should note this time period since it might determine whether an offense is a first offense or second offense. Find affordable car insurance after a DUI by using our ZIP code search!

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DUI Injuries

Driving while intoxicated carries the risk of causing accidents. If an injury or death occurs as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, harsher punishments occur. The exact penalties of injuries or death that result from the DUI differ and are determined by a judge during a trial.

Iowa Insurance Penalties

Car insurance rates are always affected by the conviction of a DUI in the state of Iowa. Any individual who is convicted will end up with higher insurance rates. Some car insurance companies might discontinue coverage as a result of the offense. Those who look for a new insurance policy will find that the companies are less likely to provide coverage after a DUI charge.

Iowa DUI laws include high fees, classes, jail time and suspended or revoked licenses. The purpose of harsh punishments is to discourage drinking and driving. Don’t wait and let a DUI affect your car insurance! Take a look at our Car Insurance Guide and find ways to save on cheap car insurance!

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