Suspension of Fine – OWI 1st

The Iowa Court of Appeals has confirmed that the "minimum fine" on an Operating While Intoxicated, first offense, may be suspended in certain circumstances.

The attorneys at GRL Law first presented this scenario at the Iowa Judges Conference back in 2007, but it was met with scepticism. Arguments for suspension of civil penalties and fines were likewise subject to a luke-warm reception by sentencing judges although some were indeed granted.

Now with the Iowa Court of Appeals decision in State v. Kramer, it is official. What was commonly considered a mandatory minimum fine on OWI first offense, may indeed be suspended in certain circumstances. The defendant must meet the following 5 prerequisites: (1) BAC does not exceed .15; (2) no prior convictions for OWI; (3) no prior deferred judgment for OWI; (4) did not refuse chemical testing; and (5) no bodily injury to a person other than the defendant. In a nutshell, if the person qualifies for a deferred judgment on an OWI 1st offense, they also qualify to have the "mandatory minimum fine" suspended if a conviction is nonetheless imposed. This decision also opens up the doors for judges to suspend civil penalties when granting deferred judgments because pursuant to State v. Nail, when a fine can be suspended, so too may the applicable civil penalty.