Permit to Carry and Operating While Intoxicated

Since the legislature's enactment of the "shall issue" statute pertaining to concealed weapon permits (i.e. permits to carry), questions are starting to arise as to what applicability an arrest or conviction for operating while intoxicated will have on a person's permit to carry a concealed weapon. The answer to that question slightly depends on whether the person is carrying a concealed weapon at the time of the arrest for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) or if they simply had a permit to carry and no gun was present on their person or in the car.  First and most importantly,  pursuant to Iowa Code Section 724.4C a permit to carry a concealed weapon becomes "invalid" if the person to whom the permit is issued is legally intoxicated.  The definition of "legally intoxicated" means (1)  being "under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, or (2) while having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more, or (3) while having any amount of a controlled substance in the person's blood or urine.  See Iowa Code Section 321J.2(1). Thus, if someone is carrying a concealed weapon and they are legally intoxicated, the permit to carry becomes invalid and the person is guilty of the crime of carry a concealed weapon in violation of Iowa Code Section 724.4 in addition to any suspension of the person's permit to carry. 

Second, if you have a permit to carry a concealed weapon and get arrested for OWI it is very likely that you will receive a notice suspending your permit to carry.  Pursuant to Iowa Code Setion 724.13, if a person who has been issued a permit "has been arresed for a disqualifying offense or is the subject of proceedings that could lead to the person's ineligibility of such permit may immediately suspend such permit."  "Disqualifying offenses" are numerous and contained in Iowa Code Section 724.8 and Iowa Administrative Code Section 661-91.3. However pursuant to Iowa Administrative Code Section 661-91.3 any person who has been convicted of an offense punishable by a term of imprisonment for more that one year (i.e OWI 2nd or 3rd offense), would be prohibited from carrying a concealed weapon.  Additionally, any person who is "addicted to the use of alcohol" (Iowa Code Section 724.8) or is an unlawful user or addicted to any controlled substance (Iowa Admin. Code 66-91.3) is prohibited from carry a concealed weapon. The term "addicted to the use of alcohol" is defined in Iowa Administrative Code Section 661-91.1 and this definition creates a presumption that anyone who has two or more arrests with at least one conviction for an alcohol related offense or anyone who has three or more arrests with one conviction within the last five years for an alcohol related offense, is addicted to alcohol.  Additionally, anyone who has received treatment for or has a diagnosis of drug or alcohol dependence, abuse, or addition, is presumed to be an unlawful user or drugs and/or addicted to alcohol.  Finally, any test of the person's blood, breath, or urine that indicates the person has engaged in unlawful acts involving alcohol is presumed to be addicted to alcohol.

Given the recency of this legislation, it is not entirely clear at this point how the Sheriff's departments will deal individuals holding a permit to carry that get arrested for OWI.  Nevertheless, it is safe to assume that should a permit holder get arrested for OWI (whether it is a first, second, or third offense), their permit to carry privileges will likely be suspended.  In the event a person is notified that their permit to carry privileges will be suspended due to an OWI arrest, it is imperative that the individual contact a qualified attorney for two reasons.  First, the permit holder is entitled to an appeal to contest the reason(s) for the suspension.  Second, pursuant to Iowa Administrative Code Section 661-91.6(3), if the person is found not guilty following the arrest, the permit to carry must immediately be reinstated.

This blog is not intend to be an exhaustive summary of Iowa's concealed weapons law and in only intended to inform individuals of the potential consequences they face with respect to the their permit to carry in the event they are arrested and/or convicted of OWI.  To see the statutes and administrative rules relating to permits to carry in Iowa CLICK HERE.