Cedar Rapids Criminal Lawyer and OWI Defense Attorney: What is 'motor vehicle' for purpose of Iowa OWI prosecution?


A motor vehicle is a many splendored thing in a Cedar Rapids or Iowa City OWI (DUI) prosecution. As the court in State v. Peters, 525 N.W.2d 854, 857 (Iowa 1994)(citing Iowa Code § 321.1(2)(a); State v. Russell, 508 N.W.2d 697, 698 (Iowa 1993) (per curiam)), found:

"A motor vehicle is a

‘vehicle which is self-propelled, but not including vehicles known as trackless trolleys which are propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires and are not operated upon rails.’

A ‘vehicle,’ with certain exceptions not applicable here, is

‘every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway.’

Iowa Code 321.1(1).”

Peters, 525 N.W.2d at 857 (citing Iowa Code 321J.1(1).

Snowmobiles, lawn tractors, ATVs, and any other motorized vehicle you can think of count for purposes of drunk driving prosecution-- on or off road, since neither a public highway nor roadway is required for OWI prosecution in Iowa.

In Peters, the Court held that a snowmobile operated on a frozen river falls within the definition of operation for purposes of Iowa’s drunk driving statute.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for OWI (DUI) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Waterloo, or other Iowa community, contact DAC-LAW PLC at 319-389-4276 for an initial consultation. 


Facing the backs of three snowmobilers riding in a snowy field

DAC-LAW PLC - Cedar Rapids OWI-DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyer

305 2nd Avenue Suite 200

Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401


Have motor will travel Motor vehicle in Iowa means more than a car on a public highway. The Courts have held snowmobiles and other motorized vehicles to be well within the definition of a motor vehicle for purpose of drunk driving prosecution. If you or a loved one has been arrested in Linn, Johnson, Black Hawk, or other Iowa county, for operating while intoxicated or other alcohol or drug related offense, contact DAC-LAW PLC or 319-389-4276 for an initial consultation today.