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Out of State OWI 

It’s illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcoholic beverages, or any other intoxicating substance around the nation. However, various state jurisdictions have different criminal and administrative penalties for driving under the influence. This means that if you’re arrested for OWI while visiting or traveling through the state of Iowa, you will still be expected to face statutory penalties under the Iowa Code. Additionally, your state license will be automatically suspended as Iowa is a part of the Driver License Compact.

Facing an OWI charge by itself is already stressful, but when the charges are in another state the process can be much more grueling. You may be required to book multiple return flights and miss countless days at work so you can appear at mandatory court appearances. Failing to report to the state of Iowa for your charges can result in serious consequences. It will be harder for your attorney to negotiate with the prosecutor if you miss a scheduled court date. Plus, the charge will still appear on a background check even in another state. So current or potential employers can pull up your out of state OWI charge even if you’re not living in Iowa.

If you or someone you know has been arrested with an OWI in Iowa and was visiting the state, we highly encourage you to seek experienced legal representation with McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C..

Des Moines Attorney for Out of State OWI Charges in Iowa

Facing OWI charges in Iowa but you’re from another state? If so, then it’s within your best interest to secure experienced legal representation with McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. The out of state OWI attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. assist their clients who are not Iowa residents achieve the most favorable outcomes to their OWI cases without making unnecessary and costly trips. Let the attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. help you navigate the Iowa judicial process so you can return to your life in your home state. 

Call the attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. today at (515) 279-9700 to set up a case evaluation today. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. is based in West Des Moines, but we practice throughout the greater Polk County and Dallas County area including Ankeny, Altoona, Polk City, Pleasant Hill, Johnston, Bondurant, Adel, Dallas Center, Perry, Waukee, Minburn, Redfield, De Soto and Van Meter. 

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Laws for OWI in Iowa Without a State License

Out of state residents navigate both the roadways and highways of Iowa daily. Often these individuals are visiting the state for business, pleasure, or various other reasons and tend to go out to enjoy the “night life.” So, what happens if one of those out of state individuals is arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence?

Individuals visiting Iowa from out of state will still face the statutory penalties for OWI under the Iowa Code. That means out of state residents will have to attend scheduled court dates in Iowa instead of their home state. Only the state in which the OWI offense was committed has jurisdiction to impose criminal penalties. If the defendant is convicted, they will face the penalties under the Iowa Code instead of the penalties applicable to their home state.

Additionally, the state of Iowa is a party to an interstate agreement known as the Driver License Compact. This agreement allows states to exchange traffic information which includes possible license revocations/suspensions and traffic violations. The way the Compact works is that Iowa authorities will report any traffic violation or conviction to the out of state resident’s home state. From there, the defendant’s home state will apply its own administrative penalties. These usually include the revocation or suspension of that person’s license. 

Fortunately, out of state drivers in Iowa share the same rights as any Iowan resident. Defendants from out of state also reserve the right to challenge the reasonable basis for the stop, the accuracy of the field sobriety or breathalyzer test, and do whatever possible to fight their OWI charges in court.


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Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in Iowa

Out of state defendants will face the same exact penalties as an Iowa resident if they’re convicted for operating a vehicle while under the influence. These penalties for OWI under the Iowa Code are incredibly serious and could have a major impact on one’s life. If convicted, the defendant may face expensive fines, a mandatory jail term, substance abuse evaluations, drinking driver courses, and may be required to pay possible restitution.

Listed below are the penalties for OWI in the state of Iowa.

  • First Offense – Serious Misdemeanor
    • Up to 12 months in jail with a mandatory minimum of 48 hours.
    • A fine of no less than $625 but does not exceed $1,250.
    • License suspension for a minimum of up to 180 days and a maximum of up to 12 months.
    • Complete a substance abuse evaluation and recommended treatment.
    • Finish a drunk driving course and possible substance abuse prevention program.

 

  • Second Offense – Aggravated Misdemeanor
    • Up to 24 months in jail with a mandatory minimum of 7 consecutive days.
    • A fine of no less than $1,875, but not to exceed $6,250.
    • License suspension for up to two years. The driver is not eligible for a temporary restricted license until the first year is over.
    • Complete a substance abuse evaluation and recommended treatment.
    • Possible required inpatient treatment for alcoholism or drug addiction.
    • Finish a drunk driving course and possible substance abuse prevention program.
    • Possible automobile impoundment/immobilization for as long as the defendant’s license is suspended or 180 days, whichever is longer.

 

  • Third Offense – Class D Felony
    • Up to five years in prison with a minimum jail sentence of 30 days.
    • Pay a fine of no less than $3,125, but no more than $9,375.
    • License suspension for up to six years and the defendant is only eligible for a temporary license after 2 years has passed and they’ve installed an ignition interlock device (IID) to their car.
    • Finish a drunk driving course and possible substance abuse prevention program.
    • Required inpatient treatment for alcoholism or drug addiction.
    • Possible automobile impoundment/immobilization for as long as the defendant’s license is suspended or 180 days, whichever is longer. 

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Options for Out of State Defendants Charged with OWI

The law doesn’t care too much if you’re from another state. If you’ve been charged with OWI in Iowa, you will be required to attend court dates and only the state of Iowa can impose penalties because the offense was committed in their jurisdiction. This can be difficult as dealing with an out of state charge while you’re navigating your own life in your home state is challenging to say the least.

If you don’t create a plan on how to tackle your out of state OWI with an attorney beforehand, you could find yourself paying for multiple flights to and from the state of Iowa. If convicted, you may also be required to complete certain conditions of your sentencing in Iowa. Some of these conditions include completing the required driver’s course or getting treatment at an inpatient program. Often out of state defendants are stuck with huge travel bills and an extraordinary amount of stress.

Thankfully, you have options. You can choose to hire experienced legal representation who can provide insight on your criminal charges as well as come up with some possible legal options you can pursue to limit your trips to and from Iowa. Your attorney may even get your case dismissed before trial so you will only have to travel to Iowa once or twice. 

Skilled attorneys can utilize several legal options to help minimize your trips to Iowa, save money, and ensure you don’t miss too much work. Some possible options your attorney could pursue, but are not limited to: 

  • Plea in Absentia – It’s possible the prosecutor may be willing to reduce your charges for a lighter sentence because they fear they won’t obtain a conviction. Your attorney may be able to negotiate with the judge to allow you to submit a plea in absentia. That way you aren’t required to be in court during the plea hearing.
  • Probation Transfer – The goal of your attorney is to reduce or dismiss your charges altogether without a probation sentence. When this is unavoidable, however, your attorney can set up your probation term with your home state through the Interstate Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS).
  • Dismissed Charges – Your attorney’s highest priority is to do whatever they can to convince the judge to dismiss your charges. If they’re successful, then you won’t have to worry about traveling to and from Iowa to resolve your case.

 


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Additional Resources

The Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision – Visit the official website for the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS) to learn more about how they seek to promote public safety by systematically monitoring and controlling the interstate movement of eligible adult offenders. Access the site to learn about the rules for ICAOS, what regions/states it’s applicable to, and find answers to your frequently asked questions. 

Information for Offenders | OWI Law – Visit the official website for the Iowa Department of Education to read their pamphlet on OWI laws in Iowa. Access the site to learn the penalties for OWI, how to reinstate your driver’s license after OWI, what’s required in the drinking and driving course, and what documentation you will need to get your driving privileges back.


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Out of State OWI Defense Lawyer in Des Moines, Iowa

If you or someone you know has been arrested in Iowa for OWI but is a resident of another state, get in contact with the skilled attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. Our knowledgeable attorneys have decades of experience representing both Iowa residents and out of state residents for OWI. We will do whatever possible to minimize your travel-related stress as well as develop the best possible defense for your case. 

Set up your first consultation with the attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.  Our practice can be found in West Des Moines, but we practice throughout the greater Polk County and Dallas County area.

 


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