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  • Writer's pictureDavid A. Cmelik Law PLC

What is Iowa DUI implied consent?

Implied consent is an agreement to waive the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Iowa Constitution Article I Section 8 in the legitimate expectation of privacy a driver has in their breath, blood, or urine, upon a law enforcement officers request based on reasonable grounds to believe that driver is operating a motor vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant.

In exchange for this waiver, the motorist is allowed to drive on public streets and roadways in Iowa. Iowa driver licensees impliedly agree to do this upon the completion of their driver training and testing and award of their driver’s license, considered a privilege to operate a motor vehicle. It's in the Iowa DOT Driver's License Manual and is required testing material for your shiny new license. Bet you don't remember that part.

Out of state licensees similarly “impliedly consent” to this DUI law when they operate a motor vehicle in the State of Iowa using an out of state license recognized by the full faith and credit provision of the United States Constitution—even though they may not realize it. In this context, ignorance of Iowa’s DUI law is no excuse.

A motorist can rely on their criminal Constitutional rights to withdraw this consent but the revocation of their “privilege” to operate a motor vehicle in the State of Iowa could be as much as doubled for the refusal to consent to such a DUI enforcement request by an Iowa law enforcement officer. On a first test failure, the Iowa DOT will revoke a motorist's noncommercial privilege to operate a motor vehicle for 180 days-- but for refusal will revoke for one year, for example.

The Iowa DOT will notify any out of state driver's license issuer of said revocation of the privilege to operate a motor vehicle since an Iowa law enforcement officer cannot revoke a license issued in another state.

Because a driver’s license is a “privilege” in Iowa and the administrative revocation is typically immediate, Iowa DUI defendants are typically baffled that the police have revoked their driver’s licenses before they are found guilty. For Iowa licensees, law enforcement will confiscate the actual card immediately if they have access to it. This usually happens only if law enforcement officers obtain a breath, blood, or urine test result or refusal pursuant to Iowa Code § 321J.6, Iowa’s drunk driving statute. If law enforcement obtains the result by way of a search warrant signed by the judge or other means that avoid a parallell administrative proceeding, there is not an immediate Iowa DOT revocation. It is also not immediate if they administer implied consent procedures but request a blood or urine sample that cannot be immediately tested. Such a revocation will usually occur months later and can also be accompanied with a jarring, delayed arrest that does not occur on the night of the investigation under such circumstances.

This two-tiered process is typically confusing to Iowa drunk driving arrestees. Contact us for a free initial consultation if you have initially seen a judge on video court, by telephone, or in person for your drunk driving prosecution.


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