Iowa OWI 2 Hour Rule

Iowa OWI 2 Hour Rule

Operating While Intoxicated is a serious offense.  If an officer accuses you of an OWI in Iowa, you need to talk to an Iowa OWI defense attorney.  Your Iowa drunk driving lawyer will be able to explain to you the two hour rule for testing in Iowa DUI/OWI cases.

What is the 2 Hour Rule?

The results of chemical testing are presumed to show how much alcohol was in your body when you were driving. This is true as long as you provide a sample of blood, breath, or urine within two hours of being in control of the car. Iowa Code Section 321J.2(12)(a).  The same is true when you're charged with drug OWI.  This is a rebuttable presumption. A police officer must offer you a blood, breath, or urine test within two hours after offering a preliminary screening test or within two hours of arrest, whichever happens first. Iowa Code Section 321J.6(2). If the officer does not offer this test within two hours, "a test is not required, and there shall be no revocation under section 321J.9." The two hour rule does NOT mean that you have an unqualified right to wait two hours before deciding whether to submit to testing.

What If I Don't Want to Do a Blood Test?

The peace officer gets to choose what kind of chemical test to offer you. The officer could offer you a breath test, a blood test, or a urine test. If you don't provide a breath or urine sample, your license will be revoked because of the refusal. If you don't provide a blood sample, the officer will offer you either a breath test or a urine test instead. After you provide a breath test, if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that you have a drug other than alcohol in your system, the officer will ask for either a blood or a urine test.  If you refuse to provide blood or urine under these circumstances, section 321J.9 applies.

What If I Don't Trust a Drug Test from the Cops?

If you submit a blood, breath, or urine sample as requested by the officer, you have a right to an independent test.  You will be responsible for setting up and paying for an independent test.  You have to ask for independent testing.

What Is the Preliminary Screening Test?

After an officer stops you, he or she may offer you a preliminary breath test or "PBT."  The PBT is not admissible in court.  The officer will use the test to decide whether there is probable cause to arrest you.  Whether you accept or refuse, the PBT starts the clock on the 2 hour rule.

What is Section 321J.9?

Iowa Code Section 321J.9 explains how long the DOT will revoke your driver's license.  The length of the revocation varies.  The relevant factors are if you refused a test, if you failed a test, and how many previous license revocations you've had under Chapter 321J.  

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