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OWI Involving Property Damage

Operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) is a frequently charged crime in the state of Iowa. However, although it’s an extremely common charge it doesn’t mean the penalties are nothing to laugh at. OWI penalties (also referred to as DUI or DWI in other areas) can seriously alter a person’s life such as a license suspension, OWI programs, fines, and incarceration. If your OWI involved a type of property damage, the consequences could even include a required stay in jail, huge fines, and even restitution to the victim.

You must be prepared to face your charges if you’ve been arrested for OWI in the state of Iowa. If you or someone you know is struggling with OWI charges, you must seek an experienced criminal defense attorney for your case. Having a defense lawyer on your side can drastically increase the chances of reduced or dismissed charges.

Attorney for OWI with Property Damage in West Des Moines, Iowa

Iowa lawmakers have implemented harsh punishments for OWI offenders to deter drunk driving. The penalties are increased even further if property damage is involved in the crime. That is why we highly recommend you hire an OWI attorney if you’ve been charged with drunk driving in the West Des Moines area. An attorney can effectively represent you so you can fight against these charges and harsh penalties.

If you’ve been charged with OWI, then we suggest you get in contact with McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. Our criminal defense attorneys have decades of collective practice experience regarding OWI. We will utilize all our tools, resources, and defense skills to defend you. Call us now at (515) 279-9700 to set up your first consultation for free. Our offices are open in West Des Moines, but we practice throughout the Polk County and Dallas County area such as Ankeny, Johnson, and Des Moines.

Overview of OWI Property Damage in Texas

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OWI Laws in the State of Iowa

It’s illegal in all fifty states to drive on public roads impaired by alcohol or a controlled substance. Iowa is no exception to this rule as the Penal Code Section 321J.2 states you’re guilty of driving under the influence if you did any of the following:

  • Operated a motor vehicle while:
    • Under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, drug or combination of the two;
    • With a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher; or
    • With any amount of a controlled substance present in your system as proven by a blood or urine analysis by a state or private lab

It’s important to remember you don’t have to retain a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 to be charged with OWI. Officers can arrest you for OWI if they have enough probable cause that you were driving inebriated. For example, you may pass a breathalyzer test, but an officer could still arrest you if you exhibit signs of disorientation, dizziness, and slur your words.

Since law enforcement isn’t bound to the .08 legal limit rule it’s important you don’t submit to chemical testing without thought. It might be the best decision to refuse the chemical test altogether because it will just provide the prosecution with hard scientific evidence of your inebriation in court. In some cases, it’s best to refuse and spend some time in jail so that you have a much higher chance of success at your OWI trial.

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What Happens When Property Damage is Involved with OWI?

The Iowa Code has established strict penalties for people convicted of OWI. When property damage is involved, the penalties associated with OWI get even more complicated. If your crime involved damaged property, then you won’t have a chance to waive $625 out of $1,250 fine that accompanies an OWI conviction. You might also be court ordered to install an ignition interlock device to your car if the judge adds it to your sentence.

It also means you won’t have a chance to obtain deferred judgement for the charges. When your judgement is deferred it means a judge isn’t entering a judgement of guilt and instead you will be required to complete the probationary conditions imposed by the court. Successful completion of all these terms will result in your charges being dismissed with absolutely no conviction on your record. However, if your OWI involved property damage you won’t be able to avoid conviction and must complete standard probation.

In addition to consequences above, the judge may court order you to pay restitution costs on top of your sentence. These expenses are determined by the facts of the case and the amount paid can be credited towards any civil proceeding that may also arise from the charges. The restitution payments can be debilitating your wallet and decimate your credit as a result.

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Penalties for Driving While Drunk in Iowa

The statutory penalties for driving under the influence are incredibly serious in Iowa. A first-time OWI is considered a serious misdemeanor in Iowa. The consequences for a serious misdemeanor include a required 48 hours in jail and a fine of up to $1,250. If you’re unable to pay the fine, the court may order you to complete community service instead.

Additionally, your driver’s license will be revoked for at least 180 days but can be up to one year depending on the circumstances. A second OWI conviction is an aggravated misdemeanor, which is punishable with a fine of up to $6,250 and at least seven days in jail. Your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for one year and you’re required to install an ignition interlock device to your car as a result.

If this is your third OWI conviction, expect a class D felony. The consequences include a minimum of 30 days in jail and a maximum of up to five years in prison. You will also be required to pay a fine of up to $9,357 and have your license revoked for six years.

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Additional Resources

OWI Laws in Iowa – Visit the official website for the Iowa Code to read the statutory language surrounding OWI offenses. Access the site to learn more about OWI legislation, the penalties, admissible defenses, and how restitution is handled in the state of Iowa.

Body Worn Cameras – Although not having scientific evidence is important to a OWI case, some officers may have video evidence because of a body worn camera they had equipped during the charge. Learn more about body worn cameras, how the records are released and more.

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OWI with Property Damage Lawyer in Polk County, IA

If you or someone you know has been charged with operating a vehicle while impaired (OWI), then it’s not just important but necessary that you gain legal counsel. We recommend you hire an attorney who has a special focus on OWI cases such as McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C..

The defense lawyers at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. understand how stressful an OWI charge can be. That is why we want to implement all our resources, defense strategies, and past practice in your case. Set up your first appointment free by calling (515) 279-9700. We accept clients throughout the greater Polk County area including Ankeny, Altoona, Johnston, and Polk City.