Fort Dodge, IA- One Iowa lawmaker, working on behalf of a constituent who lost their five-year-old grandson to a drunk driver, introduced legislation that would strengthen the Iowa’s OWI laws.

State Rep. Sandy Salmon introduced House File 2158 which would require all first-time OWI offenders to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. Under Iowa’s current OWI laws first-time OWI offenders are only required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.10 or more.

State Rep. Sandy cited research from the Centers for Disease Control which shows that first-time OWI offenders actually drive drunk an average of 80 times before they are caught. She also cited research from Mothers Against Drunk Drivers which shows that DUI deaths in the 25 states that require ignition interlocks for all first-time DUI offenders have decreased between 18 and 45 percent.

There is also research that states over half of all first-time drunk drivers will re-offend and face a second or third DUI charge. CDC data shows that license suspension combined with an ignition interlock device reduces DUI recidivism by as much as 67 percent, according to the Des Moines Register.

If Rep. Salmon’s legislation passes, a OWI conviction will entail much harsher penalties. Currently, a conviction for a first OWI in Iowa carries a minimum of 48 hours on jail up to one year. If you are convicted, the exact jail sentence you receive depends on several different factors involved in your arrest such as your level of intoxication, whether or not you were involved in a collision and your past criminal history. Personal circumstances such as your occupation or whether you have children will have a bearing on the penalties you ultimately received.

On top of your jail sentence, you face costly fines upwards of $1,200 and other costs associated with an OWI conviction in Iowa. Additionally, you face rising insurance premiums and other costs associated with an OWI.

If you are facing an OWI in Iowa, USAttorneys recommends you speak with a OWI lawyer in Fort Dodge as soon as you are able to discuss your charges and the possible defense strategies you can explore in your defense.

Fortunately, you can negotiate for a plea bargain for your OWI if the circumstances are right. Some OWI offenders are allowed to plead to the lesser charge of “wet reckless.” A plea bargain is reached through negotiations between your defense attorney and prosecutors and can be good option when beating a OWI charge is not possible or is an impossible task.

USAttorneys urges you to contact an OWI lawyer in Iowa to set up a consultation. Retaining a DUI defense attorney is wise decision to make and could save you a great deal of trouble down the road. Let us connect you with a lawyer today and let them get started on your case.