OWI FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
OWI in an Iowa Criminal Prosecution: What is OWI in Iowa? Is it the same as DUI?
An OWI is operating while intoxicated or operating while under the influence pursuant to Iowa Code Sec. 321J.2. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or, NHTSA, instructs its standardized field sobriety (SFST) trainees that DUI, DWI, OWI, and other acronyms for drunk driving are similar but not necessarily identical in every state. The OWI test manuals indicate that officers must consult their local law for details on how each state criminalizes operation under the influence. For example, DUI can stand for Driving Under the Influence. The Iowa OWI statute, however, requires neither driving nor a car nor a highway. It can be operation of an ATV or snowmobile on a frozen river, for example. There is also no drive way exception to Iowa's drunk driving and circumstantial evidence of a warm hood with an engine turned off can be used to prosecute a defendant for OWI. Some people have been arrested inside their own home for OWI when the car is in the garage. An OWI defendant should contact an Iowa licensed attorney and, preferably, one who practices exclusively in the area of criminal defense. Contact us for more information and let us help you chart your best possible course back to life before legal crisis.
OWI in Cedar Rapids and my Driver's License: Can I get my license back after an OWI arrest in Iowa?
An OWI (DUI) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, can be stressful for the arrestee and his or her family. Myriad questions can make your head swim. Among them is what happens to your license? An OWI defendant is typically notified on the date of the incident by the arresting officer that the defendant's privilege to operate a motor vehicle is revoked. But it is important to note that this is the administrative revocation that results from either the failure of, or the refusal to consent to, the Datamaster DMT or other bodily specimen. In the case of blood or urine requests, tests can take days or weeks to complete and a test subject might not be immediately informed that they have failed the test. Once the result is known, however, the officer will notify the test subject that their privilege to operate a motor vehicle has been revoked. There are ways to challenge this revocation administratively and, if your attorney and you agree it is appropriate, stay or stop the revocation while the administrative appeal is pending so that you can drive as if unrestrictive while the administrative appeal is pending. But remember-- the revocation of the privilege to operate a motor vehicle in Iowa because of a test refusal or failure is not part of the criminal case. Contact us for more information.
Out of State Drivers in a Cedar Rapids or Iowa City OWI (DUI) Prosecution: I'm from out of state. They didn't take my license. Is it still good?
Our firm is licensed to practice law only in Iowa. Law enforcement officers in Iowa are trained to seize Iowa DOT issued driver's licenses. On the date of your arrest or test failure/refusal, the officer read to you an Iowa DOT notice that indicated that your privilege to operate a motor vehicle in Iowa has been revoked. The Iowa DOT will take steps to notify the issuing state, if a motorist's license was issued by a state other than Iowa. Iowa hopes the issuing state will acknowledge and reciprocate any revocation Iowa requests, and this information will promptly be added to a national driving record database with which Iowa DOT participates. Contact us for more information.
Field Sobriety Tests in a Cedar Rapids or Iowa City OWI (DUI) Prosecution: I passed my field sobriety tests but I still got arrested? Why?
This is a common question. Most assuredly, however, if Officer Friendly arrested you for OWI in Iowa, they will assert that your standardized field sobriety tests, or, SFST, performance contributed to his or her reasonable grounds to believe that you were intoxicated. These tests are not pass-fail. They are more nuanced than that and your criminal defense and OWI (DUI) attorney can review the videos to determine if more expert consultation is necessary in your case to challenge the officer's conclusions about your performance. Most defendants get the idea that they passed because the officers do not signal their scores and sometimes use encouraging language like, "good, okay my next test is..." Your attorney should review this test performance as well as the language the SFST administrator used during the instruction-demonstration phase and the test itself. Contact us for more information.