In Iowa, an arrest for OWI (also known as DUI/DWI) is no laughing matter—it is a criminal offense, not a traffic offense. Iowa, like other states, has stiffened its laws in response to lobbying by organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). OWI penalties become progressively more severe for subsequent offenses – in fact, a third offense within twelve years is a felony.
All’s not lost if you are arrested for OWI, however. Many defenses exist, depending on your circumstances, and even without an invincible defense, a plea bargain might be available to reduce the severity of your charge. Since the Iowa justice system is adversarial in nature, your outcome depends largely on the effectiveness of your advocate. That is where I come into the picture, if you want me to.
Someone in Your Corner
The Iowa criminal justice system is nothing like small claims court – rules of evidence and civil procedure are complex and arcane, and defending yourself against a criminal charge like OWI makes about as much sense as performing surgery on yourself. My name is Jonathan D. Schmidt, and it is my job to stand up to the Iowa justice system on behalf of people just like you.
Iowa imposes a variety of penalties on defendants convicted of OWI – jail time, fines, driver’s license suspensions, installation of an ignition Interlock Device, substance abuse treatment, DUI school and community service are all possible. Naturally, my number one goal will be to keep you out of jail. For most of my OWI clients, avoiding a driver’s license suspension is the second most important goal.
“Confident, reassuring, and brilliant. Mr. Schmidt doesn’t just represent someone, he gets to the heart of the case and actually cares about what he does and the case he is representing. 5 stars no question.”
Some of My Other Practice Areas
I have defended clients against a wide range of criminal charges, including:
- Check fraud
- Felony assault
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Domestic violence
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between DUI, DWI, and OWI in Iowa?
DUI, DWI, and OWI all refer to the same offense – operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants. Although the legal limit for alcohol is BAC 0.08% (0.02% for minors under 21), you can also be arrested for driving under the influence of other intoxicants such as marijuana.
What happens if I refuse a Breathalyzer test?
If you refuse, your driver’s license will be suspended under Iowa’s implied consent law, even if you are never convicted of OWI. It is possible for you to be convicted of OWI even without a Breathalyzer test, and if you are, you can be subjected to penalties for both OWI and for violating Iowa’s implied consent law by refusing a Breathalyzer.
Can Iowa suspend my out-of-state driver’s license?
No it can’t, because it didn’t issue it in the first place. Iowa can, however:
- notify your home state of your offense (your home state will then penalize you based on its own law, not Iowa law); and
- ban you from driving in Iowa for a certain period, even with a valid out-of-state driver’s license.
Almost all states are members of the interstate Driver License Compact, which allows them to cooperate with each other in driver’s license suspensions based on criminal convictions.
Your Most Important Decision
When you are charged with OWI, your freedom, your reputation and maybe even your career may be on the line. With so much at stake, you need to weed out the mediocre lawyers quickly. Fortunately, my peers in the legal profession have already “reached a verdict” on me:
- In 2017, I was designated a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers, an honor awarded to only one in forty lawyers.
- My rating is “Distinguished” in the Martindale-Hubbell attorney directory.
- My Avvo rating is 10/10 (“Superb”) for the second year in a row.
Time Matters – Act Today
Any lawyer needs a certain amount of time to prepare the best defense. Now is the time to act to minimize your legal risk. If you were arrested or charged in the Cedar Rapids area (or anywhere in Eastern Iowa), feel free to contact me online, or call my office at (319) 774-6078, for an initial evaluation of your case.