Changes to Iowa’s Operating While Intoxicated License Suspensions

Effective July 1, 2018, Iowa’s Operating While Intoxicated, license suspensions will undergo a substantial and significant overhaul.  New progressive legislation will implement long overdue reform that effectively balances the public interest in preventing operating while intoxicated offenses while simultaneously allowing those convicted of the offense to continue working and caring for their family.  The primary changes are as follows:

  1. All hard suspensions are eliminated.  Hard suspensions prevent an individual from driving at all, even with a restricted license.  Whether a person submits to chemical testing or refuses chemical testing; whether the offense is a first, second or third offense; whether the offense involved an accident; all hard suspensions are being eliminated.  There is one exception.  Vehicular Homicide suspensions.  Hard suspensions will still remain in effect for suspensions resulting from Vehicular Homicide offenses.

**NOTE** If a person is currently under a hard suspension that runs into and after July 1st, they will need to reapply for a restricted license after July 1st and go through the process to obtain their temporary restricted license once the new law goes into effect.

  1. Time & place restrictions eliminated.  Individuals on restricted licenses will no longer be limited to where and when they may operate a motor vehicle.  The questions of: Can I pick up my kids?  Can I go to the grocery store? Can I get gas? Can I take my kids to extracurricular activities? are all eliminated.  So long as a temporary restricted license is obtained, there will be no restrictions on when and where the individual may drive.

**NOTE** If a person is currently on a restricted license that has a time and place restriction, they will need to reapply for the new version of the restricted license after July 1st in order to have those restrictions removed.

  1. All offenses will require ignition interlocks.  The exception of first offenses not involving accidents who provide a breath sample below .08 not being required to install an ignition interlock device is being removed for all offenses occurring after July 1st, 2018.  Anyone under a suspension for operating while intoxicated will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed.
  2. Advanced technology.  All ignition interlock devices installed for offenses after July 1st will need to comply with the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s new rules for ignition interlock device advanced technology.  They will be requiring the technology that takes the users picture for each test administered.  This will support efforts to move toward compliance based monitoring in the years to come. 

The process to obtain a temporary restricted license following an operating while intoxicated suspension will be the same.  The individual will need to submit an application, proof of ignition interlock device installation, proof of SR22 insurance and pay the $200 civil penalty.