How are drunk drivers penalized after causing an accident in Iowa?

Iowa City, IACollisions involving intoxicated motorists are a serious problem in Iowa. People who are intoxicated and have their ability to drive affected can become responsible for injuries, property damage, or fatalities. They can face criminal charges after being investigated by the police, but the victims are allowed to file civil lawsuits for compensation as well. Criminal charges often result in fines and jail time, and civil cases can result in the person paying out large sums of money to those who they have hurt.

Drunk drivers may face a combination of criminal penalties as well as civil lawsuits filed by anyone who they hurt in the accident

Iowa drunk driving laws

The law in Iowa is referred to as Operating While Intoxicated, or OWI. Other states use the terms DUI or DWI for the same offense. When someone is convicted of drunk driving, they can be put in jail for between forty eight hours and up to one year. Their driver’s license will be suspended from between six months to a year. It is also possible to be fined up to $1250. These penalties increase if the person has had prior convictions for the same offense. Mandatory substance abuse treatment and other conditions may be imposed as part of a sentence as well. 

Why sue a drunk driver?

The criminal penalties imposed on drunk drivers are meant more as a form of punishment than to assist the victim. If a person has medical costs, missed time from work, or experienced other problems, a civil lawsuit is the best way to list these specific losses and try to get the person responsible to pay for them. If the driver was operating a commercial vehicle at the time, it is possible that their employer and insurance coverage may pay for the losses rather than the individual employee. 

Dram Shop Acts

Iowa also has a dram shop act that may be relevant in civil lawsuits against drunk drivers. A Dram Shop Act essentially allows a victim to sue a business such as a bar or restaurant that served a person alcohol if they knew the person was drunk. Whether this is relevant to the person’s injuries will depend on the facts surrounding the incident, such as where the person was drinking before they caused the collision and if the business had any kind of notice or indication that the person was intoxicated. 

Iowa drunk driving accident lawyers

Eells and Tronvold Law Offices is an accident firm that helps people who have been injured throughout the state of Iowa. Anyone who needs assistance can get in touch with their attorneys near me to schedule a meeting.

Firm contact info:

Eells and Tronvold Law Offices

1921 51st Street NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402-2400



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