Legislature Changes Work Permit Suspension Periods

In March, the Iowa General Assembly passed a new piece of legislation that changes the existing law regarding a person's ability to obtain a temporary restricted license following an arrest or conviction for operating while intoxicated (OWI). The most significant change involves a persons ability to get a temporary restricted license or work permit following and arrest and/or conviction for a second offense. Under the old law, a defendant who was arrested or convicted of OWI, 2nd offense, was required to surrender their license for a period of ONE FULL YEAR before they could apply for a temporary restricted license regardless of whether they took the breath, blood, or urine test and failed or refused the test.
As we all know, OWIs carry a heavy mandatory financial penalty, especially for a conviction of a second offense. Forbidding a person convicted of OWI not to drive for such a long time makes it difficult to get to work, which is even more important when you consider that a convicted drunk driver has hefty fines to pay off. In addition, maintaining employment is often a standard condition of probation. That means that failing to have a job because you have no means to get to work can also get you thrown in jail.
Thankfully, the new legislation passed by the Iowa Legislature (House File 2452) changes this situation. Under the new law, a person convicted of OWI, second offense, can become eligible for a work permit 45 days after their initial revocation has begun, as opposed to a full year under the old law. This 45 day "hard suspension" however only applies to those persons who provided a breath, urine, or blood test. A person who refused a breath or urine test is eligible for a work permit after a 90 day hard suspension. The bill goes into effect on July 1, 2010. The best news for those that are currently serving their one year revocation period for an OWI 2nd offense is that this law applies retroactively to you as well. So if you have already served 45 days of your revocation (90 days if you refused the test), you can apply to get a work permit immediately.
The Iowa Department of Transportation will require that following items be completed and on file before you can get this work permit:
1. Proof of SR22 Insurance
2. Proof of installation of an ignition interlock device
3. Payment of the $200 civil penalty
4. A signed application by the employer or school.

A person is able to get a temporary restricted license under the new law for the following purposes:
1. Full or part-time employment
2. continuing health care or the continuing health care of another
3. continuing eduation while enrolled full or part-time
4. substance abuse treatment
5. court-ordered community service