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Deferred Judgment and OWI

Drunk driving is a very common offense, and many people are caught after making an honest mistake of getting behind the wheel after one or two too many drinks. Iowa law recognizes this, and allows, in some cases, for deferred judgment. Deferred judgment means you will not spend any more time in jail and will not have a conviction if you meet certain conditions during a probation period. A deferred judgment is at the discretion of the judge.

Deferred Judgment for Des Moines OWI

Your Des Moines drunk driving lawyer can advocate for you, and why you deserve deferred judgment if facing OWI charges. At McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C., we will bring more than four decades of representing those accused of criminal charges to your DUI case. We can advise you on whether seeking deferred judgment is the best option, and go forward with whatever decision you make — to fight the charges or negotiate a deferred judgment. You are in the driver’s seat. Call us today at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. to set up a free consultation for your drunk driving charges.

We represent those facing OWI charges in Polk County and Dallas County, including in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Ankeny, Johnston, Urbandale, and Altoona. We may also represent clients throughout the state of Iowa.

Qualifications for Deferred Judgment in Iowa DUI Cases

If convicted of Operating While Intoxicated, you face several potential punishments, including many that are mandatory. For a first offense, if there is no injury or property damage, you will least serve at least 48 hours in jail and will pay a fine of at least $625.

However, if you meet certain conditions for a first OWI offense, you may seek deferred judgment. Deferred judgment means that a conviction is not entered, although you plead guilty. You must meet certain conditions during a probation period. If you meet those conditions, the charges are dropped, and you do not have to serve the mandatory minimum sentences.

You are eligible for deferred judgment if it is your first OWI offense and:

  • You did not refuse a DUI test;
  • The DUI test you took did not show a BAC higher than .15; and
  • There was not an accident associated with your arrest that caused bodily injury to another person.

If you have a prior deferred judgment, including one in another state, then it counts as a conviction and you are not eligible for another.

Conditions of a Des Moines OWI Deferral

The period of a deferred judgment is usually one year. Over that period, you will be required to meet certain conditions. One of those conditions will likely be taking a class, usually over a weekend, approved by the Iowa Department of Transportation. You must pay the costs of the class, which may be substantial.

You will also likely have to pay the normal fine, court costs, and evaluation fees, and your license will be revoked, though you may apply for a temporary restricted license. You may face other conditions, as well, and be required to check in with a probation officer. If you violate any terms of the probation, then you have already plead guilty and will therefore be convicted.

Deferred judgment may be the best option, but if your Des Moines drunk driving lawyer can advise you on your chances of fighting the charges so that you may avoid these penalties altogether.

McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. | Polk County Attorney for DUI Deferral

Deferred judgment may be an option for you if you face charges for drunk driving in Polk County or Dallas County. Your Des Moines drunk driving lawyer can advise you on what your options are. At McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C., we aim to keep our clients aware of all their options and fight for whatever they choose. Call us today at (515) 279-9700 to set up a free consultation.