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Iowa DUI (OWI) Laws

A person who operates a motor vehicle while intoxicated commits the offense of an OWI. A person is considered intoxicated when he or she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a combination of both.  If a person’s BAC* is .08 or more they are legally intoxicated. Any amount of a controlled substance present in the person, as measured in the person’s blood or urine, is a violation of this law.  A person who violates the legal limit for alcohol or is under the influence of drugs while operating a motor vehicle commits a serious misdemeanor for the first offense, an aggravated misdemeanor for a second offense, and a class “D” felony for a third offense and each subsequent offense.

*BAC- “Blood Alcohol Concentration,” the number of grams of alcohol per any of the following:

a. one hundred milliliters of blood

b. two hundred ten liters of breath

c. sixty-seven milliliters of urine

Minors : Under Iowa OWI law, persons under the age of 21 are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle while have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .02 or higher.

Homicide by Vehicle: Under Iowa OWI law, if a person unintentionally causes the death of another by operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, they will be charged with a class B felony.

Serious injury by Vehicle: If a person unintentionally causes a serious injury by operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated in Iowa, they will be charged with a class D felony. “Serious injury” means a bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ or major bodily member, or which causes the loss of any bodily member.


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