Cedar Rapids OWI Lawyer: Best options: hotel school now?

Updated: May 31


Hotel key

This is the third in a series of blogs regarding an Iowa OWI (DUI) defendant’s best options during a criminal prosecution for drunk driving. Today, we’ll focus on the classes like the 12-hour drinker driver class required for driver's license reinstatement, ordered in nearly every drunk driving case, as well as the 48 hour weekend program, or, "hotel school" as it is sometimes called.

It’s information overload after a Cedar Rapids, Iowa OWI (DUI) arrest. First, it is among the only criminal investigations in which the defendant is also a test subject. In other words, law enforcement is *testing* the suspect with standardized field sobriety tests, preliminary breath tests, and, ultimately, a certified Datamaster DMT test, blood, or urine test.

Once arrested, the defendant must typically wait in the Linn County Jail for five hours and until a non-evidentiary breath test shows .05 g/210 mL ETOH BrAC.

After that, it’s time to pay a civil penalty to the City of Cedar Rapids and a towing fee to the tow company to retrieve your car. It’s time to hire a lawyer and then it’s time for a substance abuse evaluation. And don’t forget the 10 day notice of revocation an officer handed to the defendant when law enforcement believed the suspect was too drunk to drive, let alone understand the legalese in the form.

After the dust begins to clear, the head begins to swim. Should I appeal the driver’s license revocation, should I sign up for the community college 12-hour drinker driver class to satisfy the DOT requirement to reinstate my driver’s license, or sign up for the longer 48 hour weekend program through a community college?

Some first time OWI defendants sign up for the 48 hour weekend program before they have successfully secured a plea agreement and judicial order granting any such request to substitute the “hotel school” for the mandatory minimum 48 hour jail sentence in a first time drunk driving case in Iowa.


That’s a choice of course. An OWI defendant who ticks all the boxes—substance abuse evaluation, successful treatment as recommended by the original evaluation, and a certificate of completion for the hotel school—certainly makes a better impression at sentencing than someone who has not obtained a substance abuse evaluation.

However, registering for the 48 hour weekend program doesn’t ensure that the judge will order the substitution. Nor will the opposite be true—the 12 hour program cannot be substituted for the 48 hour drinker driver school when ordered by the judge. An experienced attorney licensed in Iowa and limited exclusively to criminal law, of which drunk driving is one subset, will be able to help an OWI defendant find their best options.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for an Iowa OWI (DUI), contact us for an initial consultation today. However, remember that a blog is not legal advice and that sending unsolicited information to an attorney over the Internet does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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