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Cedar Rapids DUI Lawyer explains temporary restrictive licenses in Iowa

by David A. Cmelik Law PLC


If you’re reading this, you likely have been arrested for Operating While Intoxicated, or, OWI, in Cedar Rapids or other Iowa community. This is Iowa’s DUI law.


As part of its OWI investigation, law enforcement likely requested a bodily specimen—often breath—via the evidentiary Datamaster DMT. In Iowa, the DMT is the admissible “breathalyzer” to use a generic term. Other portable breath screening tools—almost a dozen—can be used on the roadside, but they can’t be used as evidence in jury trials.


When a law enforcement officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a motorist has violated Iowa’s drunk driving law, they may legally request an evidentiary breath sample using the DMT—as well blood and urine.


Before a police officer asks a motorist to provide a breath sample, they read to them an implied consent advisory that advises the test subject that his or her privilege to operate a motor vehicle will be revoked for 180 days for a test failure or one year for a refusal. It’s twice as long for subsequent test failures or refusals.


If you consent to this test and you fail, the Iowa DOT will immediately revoke your privilege to operate a motor vehicle with a 10 day grace. You may appeal the revocation within that 10 days and seek a stay. You can also appeal without a stay—or, you can allow the revocation to go into effect and merely seek a temporary restrictive license.


After June 30, 2018, the law changed in Iowa to allow drivers to seek a temporary restrictive license immediately that allows them to drive anywhere in the State of Iowa, for any purpose, at any time, as long as they obtained SR22 insurance and install an ignition interlock device in every vehicle registered to them, to them and any other person, and also in any car that they will drive.


Many elect to obtain this temporary restrictive license—but it is difficult to do it within the 10 day grace that comes with revocation so that there is no unlicensed gap between the 10 day grace and the issuance of the TRL.


The two main problems I see are that, lately, there are no appointments at the Iowa DOT within the 10 days and in rare situations a motorist must legally dispossess themselves of a car or truck so as not to require an ignition interlock in multiple cars.


The biggest issue is a car or cars registered to spouses. If a spouse does not wish to drive a car installed with an ignition interlock device, they must either retitled the car or rewrite the loan to require the lender to register the car in the unrevoked motorist’s name.


This is harder than it sounds. Most lenders will not do this and some find they must install ignition interlock devices in every car they own or merely possess while making payments.


If you have been arrested for Operating While Intoxicated in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and you are looking for a good lawyer to explore your best options, we specialize in DUI and criminal law. However, a blog is not legal advice. Don’t send us unsolicited information that might not be confidential. Contact us for a free initial consult.

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Life after DUI. Yes, you can still drive. With conditions. 

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