Driver's License revocation

Updated: May 31

Can the Iowa DOT take your license away before your OWI (DUI) prosecution even begins? Answer: Yes.

Many Cedar Rapids, Iowa, OWI (DUI) defendants are surprised that a Datamaster DMT test administrator has already revoked their privilege to operate a motor vehicle on the day or night of an OWI arrest—without a guilty plea or verdict. The notice informs the test subject that he or she is revoked ten days from the notice on the date of the Datamaster DMT test refusal or failure. Failure to timely appeal and, if needed, seek a stay, or, stop, of the revocation while the appeal is pending in most cases waives the right to challenge the revocation forever. The law enforcement officer will notify the Iowa DOT and DOT driver services officers will set in motion the paperwork necessary to revoke the test subject’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle in Iowa.

But, wait, what about the presumption of innocence? It’s important to remember that Iowa views the privilege to operate a motor vehicle as just that: a privilege. Revoking that privilege is considered an administrative, not a criminal, penalty. The triggering event for the revocation is not a guilty verdict or plea. It is the test failure or refusal itself and it happens on the evening or morning of the arrest plus ten days.

With regard to an Iowa drunk driving charge, the name of the criminal lawsuit is State v. John Doe, with the defendant’s name being John Doe. With an administrative DOT revocation appeal, the name of the case is John Doe v. Iowa DOT. The burden to prove a defect in reasonable grounds and/or implied consent, violation of the right to speak to an attorney, or defective Datamaster DMT administration is on the test subject, not the DOT. In a criminal prosecution, the burden is on the State of Iowa to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The timeline, proof required, and burden of proof is different for each process.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for OWI (DUI) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Waterloo, Vinton, Anamosa, Linn, Johnson, Black Hawk, Benton, Jones, or other Iowa community or county, contact us for a free initial consult.

However, remember that a blog is not legal advice and that no attorney client relationship is established by sending unsolicited information to an attorney over the Internet.

© 2020 by David A. Cmelik Law PLC