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Implied Consent Law in Iowa

Any person who operates a motor vehicle in this state, under circumstances which give reasonable grounds to believe that the person has been operating a motor vehicle under the influence, is deemed to have given his/her consent to withdrawal and testing of samples of their blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining the presence of alcohol and/or drugs.

A peace officer must have reasonable grounds to believe that the person was OWI, must make a written request, and either (1) the person was placed under lawful arrest for OWI; (2) the person was involved in a motor vehicle accident or collision resulting in personal injury or death; (3) the person refused to take a preliminary breath test; (4) a preliminary breath test was taken and the results indicate a BAC above .08 (or between .02 – .08 if under the age of 21, or above .04 if commercial driver); OR (5) a preliminary breath test was administered and it indicated a BAC result under the legal limit, and the peace officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person was under the influence of a controlled substance, a drug other than alcohol, or a combination of alcohol and another drug.


Although consent is implied in Iowa, you may refuse to submit to any breath, urine, or blood tests. However, the officer must advise you that your driver’s license will be revoked for one year or for two if you have had your license revoked under Iowa’s OWI laws previously. The officer must also let you know that if you do submit to the testing and the results indicate alcohol or a controlled substance in your body that are at or exceed the legal maximum level, then your license will still be revoked but for a shorter amount of time: either 180 days or a year if you have had your license previously revoked.

The consequences for refusal if you are a commercial driver are more severe. Not only will you have your license revoked, but you will also be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for one year if it is the first time or three years if you were transporting a hazardous substance. If you lose your commercial driver’s license, it usually means you are also going to lose that job. You can still lose your commercial driver’s license even if you were not driving a commercial vehicle at the time you were stopped.

If you are unconscious or incapable of neither refusal nor consent, you will not automatically have your license revoked. The tests can still be done on you under the written or oral certification of a licensed physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner.

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