The combination of heavy fines, jail time, loss of driving privileges, required counseling, and other penalties affects every facet of your life.

First conviction: If you are convicted of an OWI for the first time, you will be required to serve from two days to one year in jail and pay a fine up to $1,000. You will also lose your license for six months.

Second conviction: If it is your second offense within 12 years, you will lose your license for two years, be given a seven-day to two-year sentence, and be fined $1,500 to $5,000.

Third conviction: A third offense within a 12-year period is a Class D felony that will earn you up to five years in jail and a $2,500 to $7,500 fine. You’ll lose your license for six years. In addition to spending time behind bars, paying a hefty court fine, and losing your driving privileges, you will also need to complete a course for drinking drivers and undergo a substance abuse evaluation or treatment program―whether this is your third offense or your first. Iowa law requires that you pay for these services at your own expense. You’ll also be hit with a $200 fine that goes toward the state’s victim restitution fund. If you are caught driving while your license is revoked, you’ll be charged with another misdemeanor and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.

If you are a new Iowa resident, it’s important to realize that OWI convictions that occurred anywhere in the United States within the past 12 years will be used to determine whether your conviction in Iowa is a second or third offense. To learn more about Iowa’s OWI laws, download the OWI handout prepared by the Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Division.

Getting Your License Back after OWI

To get your license reinstated after an OWI conviction, you’ll need to show proof of your financial responsibility by filing an insurance SR 22 form with the Office of Driver Services. You’ll also need to take the knowledge test, driving exam, and vision screening to be issued a new Iowa driver’s license. An OWI license revocation will remain on your driving record for 12 years. In addition to resulting in substantially higher auto insurance rates, this may also disqualify you from certain types of employment.