If you’ve been convicted of one other OWI (Iowa’s DUI) offense in the last twelve years and are being charged with OWI now, this is your “OWI, second offense.” (By way of comparison, if you’ve had another OWI before, but the conviction happened more than twelve years ago, you’re getting charged with first offense OWI again.
People charged with second OWI offenses often have a number of other charges come up simultaneously, such as driving with a suspended license, that should be handled contemporaneously.
While the punishment for your first OWI may have been inconvenient, the state isn’t messing around anymore by the time you get to your second OWI charge. You’re going to get a substance abuse evaluation, just like last time, but the evaluator and the court are likely to be a little more critical of you asserting that you don’t have a problem.
The state can commit you to a treatment facility if they decide it’s best. Your car can also be seized and forfeited to the state. (You did read that correctly — they can fine you and take your car this time. Permanently. If your car is seized and forfeited, you aren’t getting it back next week, next month, next year, or at all.)
Second OWI Lawyer in Des Moines
If you’re being charged with OWI and you have a prior conviction for OWI, DUI, or DWI, call criminal defense lawyers John Sears and Katie Sears at (515) 491 6128 to schedule an initial consultation so that we can go over your charges in detail and determine what your options are.
What Counts as a Second Offense?
Convictions that happened outside of Iowa count as prior convictions — even if the other state called the offense a DUI or DWI instead of an OWI.
Iowa OWI BAC
If you’re over 21, a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher means you’re over the legal limit (“and under arrest,” as the public service announcements will remind you.)
Underage Iowa BAC
If you’re under 21, a blood alcohol concentration of .02 or higher means you’re over the legal limit. A second OWI under age 21 is likely to get you some scrutiny by the court, by the way — I doubt you’ll get off probation early.
Second OWI for Drugs
There’s no threshold amount for drugs that constitutes “OWI.” Any detectable amount of a controlled substance in your system that you aren’t taking according to a doctor’s prescription is going to get you charged with OWI.
This means that if you drop a urine sample and their test comes up with marijuana metabolites, you are, according to the Iowa Code, operating under the influence. Yes, even though you can test positive up to a month (or more) after you last smoked. Yes, even though everyone in the room knows that if you last smoked a few weeks ago, you weren’t by any means “high” when you were driving. The law here isn’t necessarily fair or practical, but you may as well understand that arguing that just because you had THC in your system didn’t mean you were under the influence isn’t going to get you a lot of traction.
Penalties for OWI Second in Iowa
If you’re convicted, you’re getting a week in jail minimum, and this time, you can’t get out of it by having a sleepover class at the community college. Jail time on a second drunk driving charge is 7 days to two years.
They’re going to fine you $1,875 – $6,250 (plus significant surcharges.) They can give you community service hours instead of the fines, but do bear in mind that they charge (a comparatively much smaller amount) for community service hours placements too.
If you’re convicted of a second DUI, they’re going to revoke your license for two years. For the first year of that, you won’t be able to get a TRL (temporary restricted license.) While you have no license, you will very probably be tempted to drive. It’s expensive and time-consuming to rely on other people for transportation, especially if you have kids and need to get them to school and you to work. Don’t do it. Driving while your license is suspended for OWI is a serious misdemeanor in itself.
After that year, to get your license back, you’re going to have to show proof of insurance. You’ll need SR22 insurance. It is expensive (at least, it’s expensive compared to what your rates would be if you had no history of OWI convictions and no need for SR22 coverage.) I hope that you’re reading this now, before you’ve lost your license, and while you still have insurance — do not drop insurance coverage. I know it probably sounds useless to carry insurance even while you don’t have a license or a car, but if you have a lapse in coverage, your SR22 rates are going to be so much higher than your non-SR22 rates are right now. What you want to do while you don’t have a car or a license is carry a NNO policy (named non-owner policy.) Ask your insurance agent what amount of coverage is right for you.
Before your license is reinstated, they’ll also want you to install an ignition interlock device (“Intoxalock”) and pay any fines and civil penalties that have been assessed.
You’ll have to do a substance abuse evaluation fairly early on in this process — long before conviction happens. Before you get your license back, you’ll have to complete whatever treatment your evaluator recommends.
The court can direct you to do inpatient treatment for drug or alcohol abuse if you’re convicted of a second DUI offense.
We can help you figure out what to do about your OWI second offense in Des Moines, Polk County, Ankeny, Ames, Johnston, West Des Moines, Waukee, Saylorville, Bondurant, Altoona, Clive, Grimes, Pleasant Hill, Story County, Boone County, Marshall County, Dallas County, Jasper County, Madison County, Warren County, Marion County, Wapello County, Davis County, Ottumwa, Bloomfield, Iowa City, Council Bluffs, and the rest of Iowa.
This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. Reading this site doesn’t create an attorney-client relationship. If you want to talk to us about representing you when you’re charged with an Iowa DUI, please contact us at (515) 491 6128 and we’ll set up a time to talk.