When a driver in Iowa is detained on suspicion of OWI, the investigating officer has the opportunity to request a specimen of blood, breath or urine to begin the DOT implied consent testing procedure.
“Implied consent” means that by driving in the State of Iowa, the driver’s consent is already implied to have been given to one of these tests. The driver has the option to refuse only the blood test, a refusal of the breath or urine test cannot be done without administrative sanction. And, of course, if a blood test is requested and refused, an officer will undoubtedly request the breath or urine test.
A breath test is by far the most common request made by law enforcement officers for suspicion of OWI. A urine test will be requested when there is suspicion of “influence” or “intoxication” due to a substance other than alcohol.
Once the results of the test are processed (usually in a matter of seconds), the officer will begin an administrative license revocation.
If a breath result is a failure, a 180-day license revocation will begin, after a 10-day grace period. If a refusal to the test is given, a 1-year revocation will begin, again, after the 10-day grace period.
If a breath result does not exceed 0.08 [on suspicion of alcohol], then no administrative action can take place. But the officer can still charge a driver with OWI if he feels the driver is intoxicated despite the results of the test.
When the result exceeds 0.08 but does not exceed 0.10, then the license will still be revoked for 180 days, but the driver is eligible for a work permit immediately. If the result exceeds 0.10 but does not exceed 0.15, a work permit can be obtained immediately, but an ignition interlock device will have to be installed. Finally, if the result exceeds 0.15, a 30-day hard suspension must take place before the work permit can be obtained.
There are many nuances and details about the implied consent law and the administrative license suspension. Please search my other articles for more information.
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