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  • Writer's pictureDavid A. Cmelik Law PLC

Cedar Rapids DUI Lawyer: fewer ignition interlocks needed for cars

The Iowa Legislature last year passed an amendment to the 2018 temporary restrictive license law that will allow DUI arrestees to install fewer ignition interlock devices in their vehicles than previously required. The amendment further improves the law by correcting an impossible situation for drunk driving arrestees and their families who own more than one vehicle.

In 2018, the Iowa Legislature amended the drunk driving restrictive permitting law creating sweeping changes to what had become known as “work permits.” Prior to 2018, DUI arrestees who lost their driver’s license as the result of a breath, urine, or blood test failure or refusal were required by the Iowa DOT to preapprove a schedule and route for work to obtain a “work permit.” They could only drive to and from work. All other travel was considered illegal and resulted in serious misdemeanor prosecution for “driving while revoked” pursuant to Iowa Code § 321J.21. Such prosecution required a minimum $1,000 fine and doubled the current revocation of any OWI arrestee. It could result in jail time up to one year.

In 2018, that “work permit” route and time requirement went away for drunk driving arrestees as long as the driver could produce proof of ignition interlock installation and high risk, or, SR22, insurance for every car registered to him/her and any other person. Complicated exemptions and prohibitions related to test level and refusal went away as well. The changes allowed a defendant whose license was revoked for a breath, blood, or urine test failure or refusal to immediately obtain a temporary restrictive license to drive anywhere in the State of Iowa, at any time, and for any purpose. The downside? The ‘restrictive’ in temporary restrictive license required installation of an ignition interlock device in every car registered to the defendant as well as jointly held vehicles.

For jointly registered vehicles operated by children and spouses, this requirement meant that someone who was not arrested for drunk driving had to have an ignition interlock device installed in their car, as well. Those who attempted to retitle or re-register cars to exclude the arrestee found they sometimes had to rewrite loans, for example, approved for both title holders. Paying off loans to allow for retitling became cost prohibitive—or impossible.

Last year, however, the Iowa Legislature corrected the law to require that an ignition interlock device be installed only on the car that the arrestee and restrictive permit holder would be using on a regular basis. High risk, or, SR22, insurance is still required for all vehicles, however.

Both the Iowa DOT revocation and the temporary restrictive license requirements are administrative, rather than criminal, consequences to a drunk driving investigation. The revocation is typically effective immediately following a ten day grace, unless stayed, or, temporarily stopped pending outcome of an administrative appeal. It results well before disposition of the criminal matter.

If you’re seeking your best options in a Cedar Rapids drunk driving prosecution, contact us. We’d love to be on your list of qualified criminal defense lawyers. We’d love to defend you in this indictable criminal matter.


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