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DUI Defense Attorney in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Being charged with DUI/OWI in Iowa can be a stressful and anxiety-inducing experience. Drunk driving charges carry severe consequences, which include significant fines, license revocation, and even jail time.  

Many drivers choose to quickly accept the first plea bargain offered in their OWI case. However, this is rarely the best decision. At Jay W. Mez, Attorney At Law, I understand that a DUI/OWI conviction can have life-altering consequences, which is why I am committed to helping clients avoid a conviction or reduce the severity of penalties.  

As a DUI defense attorney in Council Bluffs, Iowa, I pride myself on providing the highest quality representation to people who face drunk driving charges. I also serve the surrounding areas, including Cass, Montgomery, Mills, Page, Pottawattamie, Fremont, and Shelby counties.  

DUI/OWI Charges in Iowa 

Unlike other states, Iowa does not use the term “DUI” for drunk driving charges. Instead, the state refers to a DUI as OWI, which stands for “operating while intoxicated.” Under Iowa law, OWI charges apply when any of the following is true: 

  1. A driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher;  

  1. A driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs (or both); or 

  1. A driver has any amount of a controlled substance in their blood/urine.  

In Iowa, you can be convicted of OWI even if the police did not see you actually driving the vehicle because state law defines “operating a vehicle” as having “immediate and actual physical control” of a vehicle that is either in motion (driving) or with the engine running (parked).  

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Penalties for Drunk Driving in Iowa

Drunk driving can lead to administrative and criminal penalties in Iowa. Administrative penalties include the revocation or suspension of your driver’s license. The most common criminal penalties for OWI include jail time and fines. The severity of penalties as well as the minimum and maximum penalties depend on whether it is your first, second, or third OWI conviction. You can face increased penalties for each subsequent offense.  

Other possible penalties for OWI in Iowa: 

  • The requirement to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) 

  • License revocation/suspension 

  • Substance abuse evaluations 

  • Educational programs 

  • Probation 

  • Vehicle impoundment 

It may be possible to minimize the severity of the penalties with the help of an experienced DUI defense attorney in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Jay W. Mez, Attorney At Law, can review the circumstances surrounding your drunk driving charges and advise on how you can reduce the penalties or get the OWI case dismissed altogether.  

Possible Defenses to DUI/OWI Charges

There are many possible defenses to DUI/OWI charges, including but not limited to:  

  • Illegal traffic stops. One of the most common defenses against DUI/OWI charges in Iowa is arguing that the traffic stop was illegal. If a police officer lacks the necessary justification to pull you over, any evidence collected during the stop, including breathalyzer tests, blood tests, field sobriety tests, or observations of your driving behavior, may be excluded from the trial. 

  • Necessity. The necessity defense can be used in situations where you had to drive under the influence to prevent harm to yourself or others. For example, if you had to drive to the hospital to save someone’s life or prevent someone from being severely injured, you may be able to argue that you had no other choice but to drive under the influence. 

  • Duress. The duress defense is similar to the necessity defense but requires that you were forced to drive under the influence by another person. If you were threatened or coerced into driving while intoxicated, your attorney may be able to use the duress defense to challenge the charges against you. 

  • Mistake of fact. In some cases, you may be able to argue that you made an honest mistake of fact that led to your arrest for DUI/OWI. For example, if you believed that you were under the legal limit to drive, but you were actually over the limit due to inaccurate testing equipment or faulty testing procedures, it may be possible to challenge the charges against you. 

  • Biased observations. Police officers are subject to their own biases, preconceptions, and perceptions when it comes to detecting DUI/OWI behaviors. If you can demonstrate that the officer who stopped you had a biased or inaccurate view of your behavior, you may be able to challenge the charges against you. 

  • Involuntary intoxication. Involuntary intoxication refers to situations where you were unknowingly under the influence of drugs or alcohol due to reasons beyond your control. For example, if you were given a spiked drink at a party or unknowingly took medication that caused you to become impaired, the involuntary intoxication defense may be available to challenge the charges against you. 

  • Improper administration of the test(s). Breathalyzer tests, blood tests, and other chemical tests must be administered according to strict protocols and guidelines. If the tests were not properly administered, or the testing equipment was not calibrated correctly, your attorney may be able to challenge the charges against you. 

  • Alternative explanations for physical symptoms. Finally, you may be able to challenge the charges against you by providing alternative explanations for any physical symptoms or behaviors that were interpreted as signs of alcohol or drug impairment. For example, you may argue that you have a medical condition that affects your balance or coordination.  

Ultimately, there is no such thing as “the best defense strategy” against drunk driving charges. Each case is unique, which is why you might want to get help from a DUI defense attorney to identify the most appropriate and effective defense strategy in your situation.  

DUI Defense Attorney Serving Council Bluffs, Iowa

It is absolutely critical that you enlist a DUI defense attorney to represent you when facing drunk driving charges. At Jay W. Mez, Attorney At Law, I help clients mount an effective defense against OWI charges in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and the surrounding counties. Get your life, freedom, and reputation back on track with my skillful and aggressive defense representation. Reach out today to request a free case evaluation.