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What happens to people who drive drunk in Iowa?

The drunk driving laws in Iowa are clear. It's illegal to drive a motor vehicle if you're under the influence of an alcohol beverage or drugs. It's also illegal to drive if you're under the influence of a combination of those substances. If you have a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 or higher, you should not be driving. Additionally, being stopped for driving drunk with any amount of a controlled substance, drugs like cocaine or marijuana, for instance, could lead to penalties and fines.

In Iowa, there is an implied consent law that drivers have to abide by. That means that if you're operating a vehicle, you have already agreed to have blood, breath or urine testing done to determine if you're under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This can be requested any time a peace officer has reasonable grounds to think you're under the influence. This is beneficial in cases of injury, since the drivers can't refuse to give their samples. That makes it easier to prove that they were intoxicated when an accident occurred.

For those under 21, there is a .02 limit also called a zero-tolerance law. If your BAC comes back between .02 but less than .08, you will lose your license for 60 days for the first violation. If it happens again, you'll lose your license for 90 days each time. If you refuse the tests for your BAC, then you will lose your license for a year the first time. The second time you refuse, you'll lose your license for two years.

If you decide you want to drive while your license is revoked, the law states that you'll face a misdemeanor charge and a fine of $1,000. Your vehicle could be impounded, and it could be forfeited to the state.

Source: Iowadot.gov, "Iowa OWI (Operating while intoxicated)" Sep. 03, 2014

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