OWI Defense

Des Moines OWI Defense Lawyer 

For a lot of people who get arrested for operating while intoxicated, it’s their first time being in jail. Even for those who may have multiple offenses, it might be the only criminal allegation they’ve had to face. It’s easy to feel scared and to feel like there are no other options but to just plead guilty. But that’s a mistake. There are far more legal options available than many people realize and a good Des Moines OWI lawyer—one who understands the system and the rules that the police must follow—may be able to help a defendant leverage those options. 


Nicholas Lombardi Law Firm offers experienced and aggressive legal defense services. From our Des Moines office, we serve all of Central Iowa. Free consultations and payment plans are available. Just call us at (515) 206-8366 or reach out online today.


Defenses Against an OWI Charge

A driver that is pulled over by a police officer should always exercise their right to remain silent. This can be particularly true for a second offense, with the potential consequences of conviction so much higher, but it’s good advice for a first offense as well. A police officer needs to have probable cause to even take a BAC (blood alcohol content) level test, and there’s no reason to say anything that would give them such cause. 

But if the test is administered and the BAC level is 0.08% or higher, that meets the legal definition of operating while intoxicated. Even so, a defendant should not despair in these situations. The BAC testing process is not nearly as perfect as authorities might like people to believe. Our Des Moines OWI attorney has at least two avenues of defense that can still be pursued. 

Validity of the Breath Test

There are any number of ways that a breathalyzer test can produce an inaccurately high BAC level reading. Let’s start with the equipment itself. A breathalyzer instrument must go through certain protocols, which include being periodically recalibrated. The officers who use them must be formally trained in how to do so. It’s the responsibility of the police department to prove that a trained officer used valid equipment. 

Even if everything is accurate, there are other reasons a defendant’s BAC level might be too high. The food the defendant consumes can be a significant role in what the breathalyzer reports. For example, did you know that eating sugary foods can spike the BAC reading? The same goes for consuming bread. 

So, let’s say someone is driving home after meeting up with colleagues for Happy Hour. They drank responsibly but were also munching on the pretzels that were set out. Could that be the reason the BAC level came in at 0.09% and resulted in their arrest? It’s at least possible. 

Or, what if a person attended an event at The River Center, where they had some cake along with the champagne that was served. Could the high sugar content in the cake be the reason they went over the legal BAC limit. It’s at least possible. A good OWI lawyer, like Attorney Nicholas Lombardi, will find out. 

Food isn’t all that can result in high BAC readings. Certain commonly used medications can have the same impact. Even mouthwash might result in a BAC test given the inaccurate impression the driver is intoxicated. Health conditions can also play a role. A person with diabetes or acid reflux may be more prone to having a falsely high BAC level. 


Contact Nicholas Lombardi Law Firm at (515) 206-8366 or fill out our online contact form to arrange for a free consultation.


Validity of the Blood Test

A blood test might not be as susceptible to being deceived by food consumption, medicine, or health conditions, but it has its own set of issues. Foremost among them is the question of chain of custody. A blood sample must be accounted for at every step of its journey from the defendant to the lab to the final result. It must be done according to a strict set of standards. 

Blood samples that wait too long for testing can start to ferment and give off inaccurately high BAC level readings. The same result can happen if the sample is not stored at the proper temperature. Failure to document who had the sample at each step of the process invites legitimate questions about whether the work was done properly, or if the right sample is being assigned to the right person. 

Law enforcement has a responsibility to follow their own rules. It’s the job of a Des Moines OWI lawyer to make sure they do. 

Accessible Legal Defense You Can Trust

The Nicholas Lombardi Law Firm isn’t here to sit in judgment of our clients, regardless of any mistake that may have been made. Our founder, Attorney Nicholas Lombardi, has seen close friends have to be on the wrong side of prosecution, and he’s determined that everyone who comes through our doors get an aggressive legal defense that pursues all possible options. From our Des Moines office, we serve all of Central Iowa. 


Call today at (515) 206-8366 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.


  • “Have nothing but great things to say about him. Works hard and is very good at what he does. Would recommend him to anyone!” - Cody T.
  • “He answered the few texts I made when I had questions and he promptly responded every time no matter the time of day or what day.” - Bo T.
  • “He will go to the ends of the earth for you and I can attest even after your case is closed, he will not just leave.” - Devin G.

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