cedar rapids / iowa city criminal defense

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As the DWI Detection Manual from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tells us, DWI and DUI are interchangeable. The same can be said to be true for OWI as well, although Iowa has a specific statutory definition for drunk driving as explained below. 

What's the difference among DUI, DWI, and OWI?

by david A. Cmelik LAW PLC

In Iowa, Operating While Under the Influence is commonly reduced to the acronym OWI. OWI in Iowa can be committed operating a motor vehicle:

While under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or other drug or a combination of such substances.
While having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more.
While any amount of a controlled substance is present in the person, as measured in the person's blood or urine.

A couple things are notable here. First, notice how option number one doesn’t require a Datamaster DMT or blood test nor the presumptive level of intoxication that option number two requires. Also, notice how any amount of a controlled substance triggers option number three.

The Iowa Supreme Court has held that any level of marijuana metabolite, for example, THC, in the bloodstream or urine at the time of operation is considered “under the influence.” Note that a test subject need not be “high” at the time of testing in order to be considered “under the influence.” The Legislature has made it clear that with regard to controlled substances, any amount means any amount. Because marijuana metabolites are fat soluble, it can take as many as 30 days to fully expel all traces from the human body. If someone suspected of being under the influence is tested 25 days later and trace amounts of marijuana metabolites trigger a positive test result, this is enough to meet the standard.

 Also, note that other states might use the acronyms DUI or DWI. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, which has taken on the mantle of training law academies and other law enforcement on the finer points of drunk driving detection, call their teaching and prosecution manuals DWI Detection and these manuals are used throughout the United States.

So, in the final analysis, while DUI or DWI is more common, the State of Iowa calls its drunk driving statute Operating While Under the Influence, or, OWI. Lawyers like DAC-LAW PLC market our services as DUI or OWI lawyers interchangeably.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for OWI (DUI) in the State of Iowa, contact David A. Cmelik Law PLC at 319-389-1889 or https://www.daclawfirm.com for a free initial consultation.