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Second OWI

If you are charged with committing a second OWI offense, then a conviction results in a charge for an aggravated misdemeanor. In order to enhance the classification to the more serious version for a second OWI, the prior conviction or related charge must have occurred within the last 12 years from the date of the new offense. Any OWI conviction or deferred judgment during that time period counts. Even convictions that occurred outside of the State of Iowa count.

The penalties for a second OWI also vary slightly depending on whether the case involves a chemical test of the breath, blood or urine, or a refusal to submit to the test. Other consequences of a second or subsequent OWI arrest in Des Moines, Iowa, includes the fact that an officer can immediately impound the driver’s vehicle. A second conviction for OWI can result in at the seizure and forfeiture of the vehicle.

Second OWI Attorney in Des Moines

If you were charged with OWI and you have a prior conviction for OWI, DUI, or DWI, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. With offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, our OUI lawyers fight to protect our clients against these serious charges. Call us a (515) 279-9700 to discuss your case.


Second OWI Information Center


Penalties for a Second OWI in Iowa 

The laws in Iowa provide for the following penalties and punishments for a second OWI:

  • Incarceration Time: The law provides for a minimum jail sentence of 7 days in county jail that must be served on consecutive days. The 7 day sentence is a minimum mandatory penalties meaning that the judge can not suspended this requirement. The maximum jail sentence is up to 24 months in the county jail. Under limited circumstances the court may order the person to serve the minimum sentence in 48 hour segments if the jail sentences creates an undo hardship or if there is not sufficient space in the jail.
  • Fines: The minimum fines are $1,875 and the maximum fines are $6,250. The court is able to order community service hours to be performed instead of the fine amount.
  • Suspension: For a second OWI, the court must impose a driver’s license revocation for 2-years. During that time, the driver is not eligible for a temporary restricted license during the first year. Prior to reinstatement, the driver must obtain SR22 showing proof of financial responsibility, the ignition interlock must be installed, and the driver must by a $200 civil penalty.
  • Substance Abuse Treatment: After a conviction, the driver is required to complete a substance abuse evaluation and recommended follow up treatment.
  • Driver’s license revocation:
    • Chemical Test: If the individual took the chemical test and had a BAC over .08 then the revocation is for one year with a one year hard suspension.
      • Work Permit: The hard suspension refers to the time during which no work permit is allowed. Additionally, if the person is convicted of a second OWI, then the individual must install the ignition interlock device (IID) before the driver’s license is reinstated.
    • Refusal: If the individual refused the test then the revocation is for two years with a one year hard suspension.
      • Work Permit: The hard suspension refers to the time during which no work permit is allowed. Additionally, the ignition interlock device must be installed before the individual is eligible for the work permit.
  • Treatment; In addition to the minimum mandatory penalties, for a second OWI conviction the court can require the person to undergo inpatient treatment for alcoholism or drug addiction. The time that the person spends in the inpatient treatment shall be credited against the defendant’s sentence.  

What Counts as a Second OWI Conviction in Iowa

The degree or severity of a particular OWI offense is determined by the number of OWI convictions that occurred within the previous 12 years. Iowa Code § 321.12(4). The “look-back” provision for determining if this offense is a second OWI is by looking at the period from the date of the oldest conviction to the date of the most current arrest. State v. Raim, 381 N.W.2d 635, 637-638 (Iowa 1986). Convictions or the equivalent of deferred judgments for violations in other states under statutes substantially corresponding to the statute prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated in this state are counted as previous offenses. Iowa Code § 321J.2(4)(c).


Finding the Best Polk County Attorney for a Second OWI

If you are charged with a second offense for OWI then call an experienced drunk driving lawyer at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. Whehter your case involves a chemical test of your breath, blood or urine, or a refusal to submit to the test, we can help you fight the case.

We represent clients throughout Des Moines, West Des Moines and the surrounding areas throughout Polk County, Dallas County, Warren County, Madison County and Guthrie County, Iowa.