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The surprising and hidden costs related to an OWI conviction

You face a long road to recovery after an OWI conviction. And you know it is going to be a costly one, too. People found guilty of OWI have been hit with fines, jail sentences, forced to pay restitution for the damage they caused and had their driver’s license revoked.

But these costs represent the penalties that people understand that they may receive. As anyone convicted of OWI in Iowa discovers, there are many other hidden and surprising costs.

Reputation, high insurance rates

The following list represents some of the hidden and unsuspected penalties many people face when convicted of OWI:

  • A blow to your reputation: Your standing in the community will take a hit. And those sideways glances you now get from family and friends are not easily forgotten. Also, understand that your employer or potential employers may turn you away.
  • Potential loss of income: Jail time usually means missing work, and when that occurs, your paycheck comes up short every two weeks. This may be avoided if the county offers a work-release program.
  • Skyrocketing auto insurance rates: Expect to pay a whole lot more for auto insurance. Annual costs may more than double to an amount you have not seen since you were a teen. Insurance companies know you are a risk, and some may not want you as a client.
  • Installing an ignition interlock device: In many situations, people convicted of OWI must have these devices installed in their vehicles if they hope to continue driving to work. Before attempting to drive, a person exhales into the device. If it detects alcohol in your system, the device automatically prevents the vehicle from starting. You are responsible to pay for installation and the daily or monthly fees.
  • Forfeiture of your vehicle: In Iowa, authorities impound your vehicle after a second or subsequent OWI conviction. If a person drives the vehicle in violation of the impoundment order, the state seizes the vehicle.
  • Alcohol treatment and evaluation: Sometimes, the court orders people to enroll in substance abuse programs, online classes and therapy sessions.

The costs associated with an OWI conviction mount. While journeying through the legal process, you will discover the hidden and unexpected costs.