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Third OWI

If you are charged with a third OWI under Iowa Code section 321J.2, then it could be classified as a class D felony. Any subsequent OWI is also subject to the same classificiation as a third OWI. Therfore, a fourth or fifth OWI conviction carries the same penalties. In order to enhance the classification to the more serious felony version for a third OWI, the prior conviction or related charge must have occurred within the last 12 years from the date of the new offense. Any OWI conviction or deferred judgment during that time period counts. Even convictions that occurred outside of the State of Iowa count toward that total.

The penalties can vary depending on the results of the chemical test of the breath, blood or urine, or whether the driver refused to submit to the test. Other consequences of a third or subsequent OWI arrest in Polk County or the greater Des Moines area in Iowa, includes the fact that an officer can immediately impound the driver’s vehicle. A second conviction for OWI can result in at the seizure and forfeiture of the vehicle.

Des Moines Third OWI Defense Attorney

If you were charged with OWI and you have two prior convictions for OWI, DUI, or DWI, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. With offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, our OUI lawyers fight to protect our clients against these serious charges. Call us a (515) 279-9700 to discuss your case.


Overview on Third OWI in Iowa


Punishments for a Third OWI in Iowa

The laws in Iowa for a third OWI provide:

  • Incarceration Time: The law provides for a minimum jail sentence of 30 days in county jail that must be served on consecutive days. The 30 day sentence is a minimum mandatory penalties meaning that the judge can not suspended this requirement. The maximum period of incarceration for this class D felony is five years in prison. 
  • Fines: The minimum fines are $3,125 fine plus a 35% surcharge and the maximum fines are $9,375. The court is able to order community service hours to be performed instead of the fine amount.
  • Driver’s License Revocation: the revocation for a second OWI is two years.  
  • Court Ordered Driver’s License Suspension; For a third OWI, the court must impose a driver’s license suspension of six years. The person is eligible for temporary license after 2 years but must first install the ignition interlock device (IID). 
  • Substance Abuse Treatment: After a conviction, the driver is required to complete a substance abuse evaluation and recommended follow up treatment.
  • Treatment: In addition to the minimum mandatory penalties, for a third OWI conviction the court can require the person to undergo treatment for alcoholism or drug addiction under section 907.6.

What Counts as a Third OWI Conviction in Iowa?

The degree or severity of a particular OWI offense is higher if it is counted as a third OWI conviction. The number of prior convictions is determined by looking to see if the person has two prior convictions for OWI or other qualifing offenses within the previous 12 years. Iowa Code § 321.12(4). The “look-back” provision for determining if this offense is a third OWI is by looking at the period from the date of the oldest conviction to the date of the most current arrest. State v. Raim, 381 N.W.2d 635, 637-638 (Iowa 1986). Convictions or the equivalent of deferred judgments for violations in other states under statutes substantially corresponding to the statute prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated in this state are counted as previous offenses. Iowa Code § 321J.2(4)(c).


Being Represented by a Qualified Polk County Attorney for a Third OWI

If you are charged with a third OWI in Iowa, when you have at least two prior OWI, DUI, DWI (or related charges) then call an experienced OWI defense attorney at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. Whether your case involves a chemical test of your breath, blood or urine, or a refusal to submit to the test, we can help you fight the case.

We represent clients throughout Des Moines, West Des Moines and the surrounding areas throughout Polk County, Dallas County, Warren County, Madison County and Guthrie County, Iowa.