top of page

What is the 48 hour weekend program in a first time Cedar Rapids drunk driving prosecution?

by David A. Cmelik Law PLC

Sometimes a prosecutor will offer or, in the alternative, merely 'not resist' a request to impose the minimum 48 hour jail sentence and fine in a first time OWI conviction, with the 48 hour weekend program administered by a local community college in lieu of the minimum jail sentence. The relevant section of the code allows the Court to substitute for the jail sentence, "any time the person spent in a court-ordered operating-while-intoxicated program that provides law enforcement security." Community colleges including Kirkwood Community College, Des Moines Area Community College, and Hawkeye Community College, all offer such programs. It is sometimes referred to as the 'hotel school' because it is often conducted a hotel where the program can book a block of rooms and conduct the 12-hour drinker driver course required by the Iowa DOT during the waking hours of enrolled students.


The weekend program is a little like college. You have to bunk with a (same gender) stranger in the "dorm" (a hotel, in this case) and maybe more than one stranger as the class is in high demand. The cost of tuition is also like college: going up. At last check, my understanding was that the local 48 hour weekend program was over $425. It may be worth it to students who wish to avoid 48 hours of jail. The jail fee in Linn County, however, is $60 per day. And there's studying of course. So factor in the cost of the 12-hour drinker driver class (included in the 48 hour weekend program but not the jail sentence) and becomes a toss-up as to which option is more expensive. However, not so for those who believe it is far more beneficial to wear their own clothes in a hotel than don a jail uniform. However, note that any credit for time served on the date of the arrest is lost with the weekend program. All participants check in at the same time on a Friday and check out at the same time on a Sunday.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for OWI in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Waterloo, or other Iowa community, contact David A. Cmelik Law PLC, for an initial consultation today. However, remember that a blog is not legal advice and that no attorney-client relationship is established by sending unsolicited information to an attorney over the Internet.


Back to School for some, the OWI weekend program is the best way to resolve the penalty from a first time drunk driving conviction and avoid jail if the prosecutor either recommends or does not resist the minimum jail sentence with the 48 hour community college weekend program in lieu of said minimum sentence. A deferred judgment typically requires a year of probation, although it can be discharged early with exemplary and immediate compliance, but the weekend program doesn't require it (note: the judge can impose a probation requirement but, again, it's not required that he or she do so as it is with a deferred judgment).


If you or a loved one has been arrested for OWI in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Waterloo, or other Iowa community, contact David A. Cmelik Law PLC at 319-389-188

bottom of page