• David A. Cmelik Law PLC

Iowa DUI Lawyer explains arrests while traveling to Iowa

Iowa criminal defense attorney and DUI lawyer David A. Cmelik Law PLC explains the Iowa law as it applies to out of state drivers.

out of state travelers flying home
Out of state travelers sometimes run afoul of Iowa's drunk driving law. David A. Cmelik Law PLC can explain the complexities of Iowa's two-tier system: the Iowa criminal prosecution for Operating While Intoxicated, Iowa's drunk driving law, and the Iowa DOT revocation of the privilege to operate a motor vehicle.

An out of state traveler arrested in Iowa Operating While Intoxicated offense, Iowa's drunk driving law-- sometimes called Driving Under the Influence, or, DUI, in other States-- can be overwhelmed by the length of time, initial arrest and incarceration, as well as the many papers thrust in their hands by jail staff upon their departure.


The first thing that should be made clear is that an Iowa law enforcement academy trained officer may not seize an out of state licensee's driver's license. Such an officer has no authority nor jurisdiction to take a valid driver's license issued by any agency other than the Iowa DOT.


The Iowa DOT will, however, immediately notify the issuing state that an out of state licensee has either refused or failed an Iowa Datamaster DMT breath test, sometimes euphemistically called a "Breathalyzer." But that is as far as Iowa can go with that out of state licensee's driver's license. Iowa DOT purports to have a reciprocity agreement with all 49 other states-- agreeing to revoke an Iowa driver licensee's privilege to operate a motor vehicle if he or she is stopped for DUI in their states and requesting that the issuing state for a non-Iowa driver licensee do the same.


Sometimes seeking an appeal of the Iowa DOT sanction and requesting a stay may delay this Iowa notification while the Iowa DOT appeal is pending, if that is the driver's wish.


Meanwhile, an Iowa criminal prosecution will ensue against the out of state licensee. They will be a defendant in an Iowa prosecution where the driver's license is not the issue. They will be required to answer to the criminal charge. Note that Iowa treats the driver's license and the criminal prosecution as separate administratively. These two matters proceed at different rates. More about that here.


If you are searching for Iowa DUI lawyers out of state, contact us for an initial consultation should you have a pending prosecution with the Iowa court system. We want to be on your list of dedicated Iowa lawyers limited exclusively to the practice of DUI defense and Iowa criminal law.