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OWI Under 21 Defense Attorney in Des Moines

It is against the law for a young person under the age of 21 to consume alcohol. When the young person is also accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, the penalties and punishements are particularly harsh. For young person under the age of 21 in Iowa, the law has a "no tolerance" policy for driving after consuming alcohol or controlled substances. If a DUI test detects a slight amount of alcohol or the presence of illegal drugs, you could be facing the possibility of jail time and steep fines with other penalties.

At McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. we represent students charged with OWI at area colleges and universities including Drake University and Des Moines University. In many of these cases, the student faces criminal charges, an administrative suspension of their driver's license and a disciplinary hearing at the university or college.

To speak to an experienced Des Moines OWI lawyer about the facts of your case, call our office today at (515) 279-9700. We understand that the stakes are high and your future is at stake. You can trust a criminal defense attorney from McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. to fight for your rights. Collectively, we have nearly a half-century of legal experience, representing those facing criminal charges. We will put that experience to work for you. 

We will put that experience to work for you. We represent young people facing DUI charges throughout the Des Moines area, including Ankeny, Johnston and anywhere else in Polk County, Dallas County or the state of Iowa.


Administrative License Revocations for Zero Tolerance OWI

If you are under the age of 21 and charged with OWI then you may be subjected to an administrative license revocation. If your driver's license is revoked for a .02 (often called the zero tolerance DWI) then you are not eligible for a temporary restricted license at any time during the revocation. You can contest this administrative suspension by taking action immediately after the arrest.

The revocation applies to the driver's license of a person under 21 who submits to a chemical test which indicates an alcohol level of .02 or more, but less than .08. If your attorney is not successful in invalidating the revocation, then the revocation is for 60 days on a first violation and 90 days on subsequent violations. 

If the under 21 year old driver is suspected of OWI with an alcohol level of .02 or more and refuses chemical testing, the license revocation will be one year on a first violation and two years on a second or subsequent violation. The administrative suspensions are completely separate from any criminal charges being filed.


OWI Charges for People Under 21 in Iowa

A blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08, which is the standard for people 21 and older, is already a low bar for drunk driving. However, the standard for people younger than 21 is even lower. If you have a BAC of .02 or more and you are younger than 21, you are considered legally intoxicated. For many people, less than half a bottle of beer could result in that BAC.

Additionally, you are considered legally intoxicated if a test detects any presence of illegal drugs, including marijuana, cocaine or LSD. If prosecutors can prove you had a BAC above .02 or any narcotics in your system and you were in actual, physical control of a vehicle, you may be convicted of an OWI.


Punishment for Under 21 OWI in Polk County

If convicted, you will face all the punishments for OWI that a person over 21 would. For a first offense, you will spend at least 48 hours in jail. There is a fine of $625, or $1,250 if personal injury or property damage was involved. You will be required to take a course on drunk driving and be subject to s substance abuse evaluation.

For a second offense, you will face at least seven days in jail, plus enhanced fines and other license restrictions. A third or subsequent offense is a Class D felony, with a minimum 30 days in jail and a maximum of five years. Additionally, your driver's license will be revoked for 60 days for a first offense and 90 days for any subsequent offenses. Unlike people 21 and older, you will not be eligible for a temporary restricted license, meaning you will not be able to drive to work or school, if you took the BAC test. If you refuse, your license will be revoked for a year.

You may be eligible for deferred judgment if this is your first offense. Your Des Moines drunk driving lawyer can review your options and advise you on the best possible path forward, and advocate for whatever you choose.


Iowa Attorney for the Under 21 OWI in Polk County 

If you are younger than 21, you face both stricter standards and more stringent penalties if accused of drunk driving. A Des Moines DUI lawyer from McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. will fight for you and your rights. We can challenge evidence during pre-trial motion hearings or at trial.

Call us today at (515) 279-9700 for a free consultation for any OWI case in the Greater Des Moines area including Polk County, Dallas County, Madison County, Warren County, and Guthrie County.

Tell Us About Your Case

How would you like to be contacted?

This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

* All fields are required.

Our Office

1200 Valley West Drive
Suite 400
West Des Moines, IA 50266
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