Second Offense OWI (DUI): What now?

by David Cmelik


With a seven day minimum jail sentence and a maximum prison term of up to two years and  fines ranging from $1,875 to $6,250, the stakes are high for a second offense OWI (DUI) in Iowa. There is no deferred judgment option and, at least in the sixth judicial district, there is no seven day community college program. What’s next? Well, a qualified attorney will have to review the discovery in your case to determine whether the interaction with law enforcement was justified. This will include an analysis of whether this interaction was casual, without a “seizure” of the defendant’s person, or whether a seizure was based on reasonable suspicion or, even greater, probable cause. Because warrantless seizures are, by law, presumptively unreasonable, an attorney must review the circumstances of a warrantless traffic stop. Next, an attorney will review the circumstances surrounding the officer’s suspicion that the driver was intoxicated. An officer must have reasonable grounds to invoke implied consent. Your attorney will next have to review whether a trained officer administered and properly documented field sobriety tests. If the case involved a breath test, an attorney will carefully examine the language of the implied consent advisory, maintenance of the Datamaster breath test machine, its certification, and the operator’s training and certification in operation. The timing of the test is also important. If the result is close to the legal limit, your lawyer should examine whether the test result is within the margin of error for the machine. Because the stakes are high, it will be important for an OWI (DUI) defendant in Iowa to consider all of his or her options. Hiring an attorney to thoroughly examine the facts, circumstances, and law of a second or subsequent OWI (DUI) offense will be key to determining next steps. A blog is not legal advice. An attorney-client relationship is not established by reading a blog or by sending unsolicited information to an attorney over the Internet.

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