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OWI Under 21 Defense Attorney in Iowa

It is against the law for a young person under the age of 21 to consume alcohol. When a young person is also accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, the penalties and punishments are particularly harsh. For a person under the age of 21 in Iowa, the law has a “no tolerance” policy for driving after consuming alcohol or controlled substances. If an OWI test detects a slight amount of alcohol or the presence of illegal drugs, you could be facing the possibility of jail time and steep fines with other penalties.

At McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. we represent students charged with OWI at area colleges and universities including Drake University and Des Moines University. In many of these cases, the student faces criminal charges, an administrative suspension of their driver’s license, and a disciplinary hearing at the university or college.

To speak to an experienced Iowa OWI lawyer about the facts of your case, call our office today at (515) 279-9700. We understand that the stakes are high and your future is at stake. You can trust a criminal defense attorney from McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. to fight for your rights. Collectively, we have nearly a half-century of legal experience, representing those facing criminal charges.

We will put that experience to work for you. We represent young people facing OWI charges throughout the Des Moines area, including Ankeny, Johnston, and anywhere else in Polk County, Dallas County, or surrounding areas in the state of Iowa.

Administrative License Revocations for Zero Tolerance OWI

If you are under the age of 21 and charged with an OWI then you may be subjected to an administrative license revocation. If your driver’s license is revoked for a .02 (often called the zero-tolerance OWI) then you are not eligible for a temporary restricted license at any time during the revocation. You can contest this administrative suspension by taking action immediately after the arrest.

The revocation applies to the driver’s license of a person under 21 who submits to a chemical test that indicates an alcohol level of .02 or more, but less than .08. If your attorney is not successful in invalidating the revocation, then the revocation is for 60 days on a first violation and 90 days on subsequent violations.

If the under-21-year-old driver is suspected of OWI with an alcohol level of .02 or more and refuses chemical testing, the license revocation will be one year on the first violation and two years on a second or subsequent violation. The administrative suspensions are completely separate from any criminal charges being filed.

OWI Charges for People Under 21 in Iowa

A blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08, which is the standard for people 21 and older, is already a low bar for drunk driving. However, the standard for people younger than 21 is even lower. If you have a BAC of .02 or more and you are younger than 21, you are considered legally intoxicated. For many people, less than half a bottle of beer could result in that BAC.

Additionally, you are considered legally intoxicated if a test detects any presence of illegal drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, or LSD. If prosecutors can prove you had a BAC above .02 or any narcotics in your system and you were in actual, physical control of a vehicle, you may be convicted of an OWI.

Punishment for Under 21 OWI in Iowa

If convicted, you will face all the punishments for OWI that a person over 21 would. For a first offense, there is a minimum of 48 hours in jail and a civil penalty of $1,250 or a fine of $1,250 plus a 15% surcharge.

For a second offense, you will face at least seven days in jail, plus enhanced fines and other license restrictions. A third or subsequent offense is a Class D felony, with a minimum of 30 days in jail and a maximum of five years.

Additionally, your driver’s license will be revoked for 60 days for a first offense and 90 days for any subsequent offenses. Unlike people 21 and older, you will not be eligible for a temporary restricted license, meaning you will not be able to drive to work or school if you took the BAC test. If you refuse, your license will be revoked for a year.

You may be eligible for deferred judgment if this is your first offense. Your Des Moines drunk driving lawyer can review your options and advise you on the best possible path forward, and advocate for whatever you choose.

Iowa Attorney for the Under 21 OWI in Polk County 

If you are younger than 21, you face both stricter standards and more stringent penalties if accused of drunk driving. A Des Moines OWI lawyer from McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. will fight for you and your rights. We can challenge evidence during pre-trial motion hearings or at trial.

Call us today at (515) 279-9700 for a free consultation for any OWI case in the Greater Des Moines area including Polk County, Dallas County, Madison County, Warren County, and Guthrie County.