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What happens to my driving privileges after a drunk driving charge?

Driving under the influence of alcohol isn’t safe for anyone involved. It also can impact your privilege to drive.

Both first-time and repeat drunk driving offenders in the state of Iowa can face driver’s license revocation. They might also receive orders to install an ignition interlock device or even have their vehicle taken to an impoundment lot.

Driver’s license revocation

If it’s your first time receiving an operating while intoxicated or OWI charge, you can have your license revoked for 180 days to one year. Second-time offenders may also have their license revoked for a year. From there, third and subsequent offenses warrant a license revocation period of six years.

Ignition interlock installation

When OWI offenders have their license revoked, they still might be able to receive a temporary restricted license. Although a temporary license is better than not having a license, you’ll have to install an ignition interlock device or IID and use it ahead of each drive. An IID is essentially a breathalyzer system attached to the electrical system of your car. So, if your blood alcohol concentration is above a specific level, then your vehicle won’t start.

Vehicle impoundment

You also risk having your vehicle taken to an impoundment lot when you drive under the influence of alcohol. A police officer has the right to impound your vehicle if you are driving without a valid license or if it isn’t your first time violating OWI laws. The Iowa Department of Transportation website states that under these two conditions, the state may hold your vehicle in an impoundment lot for 180 days or throughout the entire driver’s license revocation period.

When the only reliable transportation you have is driving yourself, license revocation or vehicle impoundment can make your day-to-day life a hassle. You’ll have to begin to rely on others or public transportation — a harsh reminder of the type of sober ride you should have planned out before becoming part of an OWI traffic stop. Instead of accepting the severe penalties of an OWI charge, you’ll can consider consulting a criminal defense attorney to help restore your driving rights.