Multiple OWI Offenses

Multiple OWI Offenses in Des Moines

What to do After a Second or Third OWI Charge in Iowa

If you are pulled over for operating while intoxicated (OWI) and this is your second or third offense, it is important to know and protect your rights, including the right to remain silent. Once you are charged with OWI in Iowa, you’re being investigated for committing a crime, and there is no amount of talking that’s going to change the officer’s mind. In fact, what you say can and will be used against you.

Admitting that you just left the bar, that you only had a couple of drinks, or even that it’s been hours since your last drink could all lead to a reasonable suspicion that you’re driving under the influence. This reasonable suspicion that you’re operating an automobile while under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol is all it takes to legally investigate you and request a chemical test. 

If an officer is investigating you, admitting that you’ve used a controlled substance at any time in the recent past could result in reasonable suspicion that you’re driving under the influence. In fact, in Iowa, any detectable amount of a controlled substance in your blood, urine, or on your breath can lead to a conviction for driving under the influence. So even if you used marijuana legally in Colorado last week, there’s a possibility that you could still be arrested, charged, and convicted of driving under the influence in Iowa if a test is requested and comes back positive for THC. 

This leads to your second right: the right to consult an attorney. Prior to answering any questions, performing any test, or providing a Datamaster chemical test sample, you have the right to consult with an attorney and that’s exactly what you should do. Should you be denied this right, the refusal or results from any test performed can be suppressed which could result in the dismissal of the charges against you.


Protect your rights by contacting Nicholas J. Lombardi Law Firm as soon as possible. Schedule your free estimate by calling (515) 206-8366.


The Legal Process for OWI Offenses in Iowa

Following the arraignment, and prior to the pretrial conference, a motion to produce is filed with the court. After the motion is filed, a judge will enter an order that instructs the state to provide the defendant or their attorney with all the evidence it has against the defendant. At this point, your attorney will review the OWI stop and subsequent request for a breath, urine, or blood sample to determine if there were any constitutional violations or errors in the request. It will also be determined if there are questions for the officer and if depositions will need to be held.

A suppression motion will then be filed if there are constitutional violations or errors. If not, you will typically proceed to the pretrial conference where plea discussions, the need for depositions, or your intent to proceed to trial will be discussed. Following this hearing, further pretrial conferences or a status conference will be set. These conferences are similar to the first pretrial conference with each subsequent hearing bringing you closer to trial.

OWI Charges in Iowa

In Iowa, there are two components to a driving under the influence charge:

  • The first component is criminal. In Iowa driving under the influence is defined as “operating while intoxicated” (OWI) under Iowa Code Section 321J.2. A second offense for operating while intoxicated is an aggravated misdemeanor while a third offense is a Class D felony. 
  • The second component of an OWI charge is administrative. In simple terms, it’s what is going to happen with your driver’s license. You have 10 days from the date of your arrest to file an appeal of your driver’s license suspension. Further, some law enforcement agencies may not retain the videos, recordings, or evidence of activities that occurred inside the jail unless it is promptly requested. If that evidence is lost, it will be difficult to dispute the officer’s statements in their report, which is why it is vital that you reach out to our multiple OWI defense attorney in Des Moines as soon as possible. 

If an appeal is filed in a timely manner, your suspension will be stayed and an administrative hearing will be set. Prior to the hearing, you will have the ability to receive the evidence against you and at the hearing, you will have the ability to raise issues and question the arresting officer. Any constitutional violations may result in the dismissal of the suspension in which case you will not lose your driver’s license.

If a breath sample was provided, and there were no issues with the administration of the Datamaster test, your license will be suspended for one year. If the breath sample was refused, and there were no issues with the procedure of the request, your license will be suspended for two years. In any event, assuming there are no other license issues, you are eligible for a Temporary Restricted License commonly referred to as a TRL. In order to be issued a temporary restricted license, you must obtain SR22 automobile insurance, install an ignition interlock device (commonly known as a breathalyzer) in your vehicle at your own expense, and pay a $200.00 civil reinstatement fee.

If there was a personal injury or death, other conditions and the length of suspension will be different than above.

Potential Penalties for Second and Third OWI Offenses

The financial breakdown of the fines and fees you are obligated to take care of for a second OWI conviction in Iowa include:

  • Fines: $1,875.00 (+$281.25 surcharge) minimum , $6,250.00 (+$937.50 surcharge) maximum 
  • Court costs of at least $100.00
  • Possible $300.00 probation fee
  • Possible $650.00 for operating while intoxicated II weekend program 
  • Alcohol or substance abuse evaluation and treatment costs

You will also have to obtain SR-22 insurance, install an ignition interlock device and pay for its maintenance, and pay a civil reinstatement fee. SR-22 insurance is commonly an 89% higher rate than your regular car insurance rate and the ignition interlock device is around $60 to $100 per month. 

In terms of jail time, you face at minimum of 7 days in county jail, but no longer than 2 years in prison.

In addition to the financial penalties for a second offense, third OWI convictions include: 

  • Fines: $3,125.00 (+$468.75 surcharge) minimum, $9,375.00 (+$1,406.25 surcharge) maximum
  • Costs of releasing your vehicle from impound
  • Alcohol or substance abuse evaluation and inpatient treatment costs

Additionally, you face a minimum county jail sentence of 30 days, but you can be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison. 


With so much at stake, it is important you have an experience multiple OWI lawyer in Des Moines on your side. At Nicholas J. Lombardi Law Firm, we are dedicated to fighting for your side of the story. Call us at (515) 206-8366 today.


  • “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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