Cedar Rapids OWI Lawyer: What is OWI?

Updated: May 31

The NHTSA OWI prosecution manual instructs prosecutors to use language that villifies OWI defendants.

The crime of Operating While Under the Influence, or, OWI, sometimes called DUI in other States, can be committed in three ways in the State of Iowa. First, a Defendant can be convicted of operating while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both by operating a motor vehicle while have a BraC of .08 grams of ethanol per 210 L breath, or, in the alternative, by having a BAC of .08 grams of ethanol per 100 mL of blood.

It’s important to recognize that the preliminary breath test, or, PBT, is one of a battery of field tests designed to determine if reasonable grounds exist to invoke implied consent and that the PBT result, either as to mere presence of alcohol or the actual amount, is not admissible before the jury.

In the alternative, the Datamaster DMT is a larger, stationary device, certified and maintained by the Department of Public Safety and DCI criminalists in law enforcement departments and jails. A breath sample drawn and tested on this machine greater than the upper .08 BrAC limit is per se in violation of Iowa Code § 321J.2. Juries may be instructed that the test result from this machine, if administered in a manner established by the State of Iowa, is the presumptive level of alcohol at the time a motorist was driving if also within two hours of a Defendant’s seizure by law enforcement at the scene.

Second, any measure of a controlled substance may serve to establish “under the influence” and is not measured by either the PBT nor the Datamaster DMT, which test only for alcohol, although law enforcement officers attempt to argue that the PBT rules out alcohol for impairment that they say already exists. A blood test can establish content of controlled substances other than alcohol.

Third, the prosecutor can just "gin" up a case by saying the Defendant was under the influence by a combination of outward appearance and law enforcement observations-- which makes an OWI (DUI) arrest particularly subjective and thus dangerous.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for OWI (DUI) in Iowa, contact us.

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