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Felony OWI

The majority of OWI cases will result in misdemeanor charges in Iowa. However, if certain circumstances are proven to be true by the court, the judge may enhance the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony. Defendants charged with a felony OWI are either repeat OWI offenders or their OWI resulted in another person’s serious injury or death. The penalties for a felony OWI are incredibly serious and can include time in prison and expensive fines. Additionally, many offenders face issues handling being labeled a “felon” after they’re released or finish their sentencing. Often people labeled as felons have issues obtaining employment, housing, applying for federal loans, or maintaining personal relationships.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a felony OWI in Iowa, you must act now. Time is critical when building a defense and the penalties for a felony OWI are serious, so it’s essential you secure legal representation as soon as possible. Stay ahead of the prosecution by hiring an experienced and skilled Iowa criminal defense attorney today with McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.

Felony OWI Attorney in West Des Moines, Iowa

If you’re convicted of a felony OWI, then you could be sentenced to years in prison, lose your license, and be required to pay incredibly expensive fines. With such steep consequences, it’s imperative you get in contact with a knowledgeable OWI defense attorney as soon as possible. Find that attorney today by calling the reputable OWI lawyers at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. Our seasoned criminal defense lawyers have decades of collective experience they can utilize for your case.

To set up your first consultation, call the attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. at (515) 279-9700. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. practices throughout the greater Polk County and Dallas County area including Ankeny, Polk City, Johnston, Dallas Center, Perry, Waukee, Bondurant, Adel Minburn, Redfield, De Soto and Altoona, Adel, Woodward and Runnells. 

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Third or Subsequent OWI in Iowa

A third or subsequent OWI offense in Iowa will result in a class D felony. The maximum penalty for a class D felony is up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of no more than $9,374. Sentencing for a third or subsequent OWI also includes a mandatory minimum punishment of up to 30 days in jail with a mandatory minimum fine of up to $3,125. The defendant will also have their driver’s license suspended for six years and will only be eligible for a temporary license after two years have passed.

Iowa has a twelve year “look back period,” which is used to determine whether the defendant has any prior OWI convictions. The “look back period” begins from the date of sentencing on the defendant’s prior conviction to the date of the alleged charge. 


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OWI with Serious Injury

The statutory penalties for OWI are drastically enhanced if the court finds that serious injury was involved. The defendant will face a class D felony instead of a serious misdemeanor because the OWI caused another person to sustain a serious injury. The penalties for a class D felony include:

  • Up to 5 years imprisonment
  • A fine that’s no less than $750, but no more than $7,500

If the defendant is convicted, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) will also automatically revoke their license for six years. Not only that, but the judge may also order the defendant to pay restitution costs towards the victim and their families. These payments can be incredibly taxing and cause the defendant to go into debt. 

What’s defined as a “serious injury” can be found under the Iowa Code Section 702.18. It can be described as any of the following: 

  • Disabling mental illness
  • An injury inflicted on a child that required general anesthesia or surgery
  • A bodily injury that fits one or more of the following categories:
    • Creates serious permanent disfigurement
    • Creates a substantial risk of death
    • Causes protracted impairment or loss of a bodily member or organ

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Vehicular Manslaughter Penalties in Iowa

If someone loses their life because of an OWI accident, then the defendant may face life-altering penalties. Impaired vehicular manslaughter in Iowa is a class B felony, even if the defendant had no intent to harm anyone. The crime is punishable by up to 25 years in prison and the defendant will be unable to obtain bail before sentencing or while the case is pending on appeal. Additionally, the court may court order the defendant to pay restitution of up to $150,000 towards the victim’s family. 

As a result of conviction, the defendant will also have their license revoked for up to 6 years. The defendant can apply for a temporary license but must wait two years to apply for one. Because of how severe the penalties are for the crime; it’s highly encouraged you seek legal counsel as soon as possible if you’ve been charged with vehicular manslaughter.


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Additional Resources 

OWI Laws in Iowa – Visit the official website for the Iowa Code to learn more about their statutes related to traffic crimes such as operating a vehicle under the influence. Access the site to learn the elements of the crime, the legal BAC limits for OWI, deferred judgements in relation to OWI, and other important information. 

MADD | Iowa Chapter – Visit the official website for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to learn more about their plans to reduce and prevent OWI and OWI accidents in Iowa. Access the site to find more information on sobriety checkpoints, new legislation related to OWI in Iowa, and federal legislation related to driving under the influence. 


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Defense Attorney for Felony OWI in West Des Moines, Iowa

If you or someone you know has been charged with OWI, get in contact with McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. The OWI criminal defense attorneys will work tirelessly to develop a strong defense so you can enter the courtroom with confidence. Our years of experience will give your defense the advantage it needs to fight the severe penalties associated with a felony OWI.

Call us now at (515) 279-9700 to set up your first consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We accept clients throughout the greater Polk County and Dallas County area including Ankeny, Altoona, Johnston, Polk City, Pleasant Hill, Adel, Waukee, Perry and De Soto. 


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