What Are the Consequences of Driving While Suspended on Iowa Roads?

According to Section 321.218 of the Iowa Code, a person whose driver’s license or operating privilege has been denied, canceled, suspended, or revoked, commits a simple misdemeanor. This offense is punishable by:

Readers of my blog know, that a police officer cannot stop a driver without a reason. At the same time, every day, officers stop a decent number of drivers for driving while suspended. Why does that happen? It happens because police officers often run license plate checks when they are on patrol. When a license plate check shows that a vehicle owner’s license was suspended, a policeman stops the car.

Is this a valid reason for the traffic stop? The Iowa Supreme Court said yes. In State v. Vance, 790 N.W.2d 775, 781-82 (Iowa 2010), the Iowa Supreme Court held that an officer has reasonable suspicion to initiate an investigatory stop of a vehicle to investigate whether the driver has a valid driver’s license when the officer knows the registered owner of the vehicle has a suspended license, and the officer is unaware of any evidence or circumstances indicating the registered owner is not the driver of the vehicle.

The court concluded that because:

  • it is reasonable for an officer to infer the registered owner of the vehicle will do the vast amount of the driving;
  • that inference is sufficiently reasonable to generate reasonable suspicion for an investigatory stop to resolve the ambiguity as to whether criminal activity is afoot.

That is why we strongly encourage you not to drive a vehicle if your license or operating privilege has been denied, canceled, suspended, or revoked. The possible way out from this situation could be to apply for an Iowa Restricted License.

If your license was suspended or revoked, feel free to call me at Stowers and Sarcone at 515.224.7446. I will be able to help you!

Do You Need A Lawyer For Driving On A Suspended License?

Do You need a lawyer for driving on suspended license charge

The short answer is YES, you do need a lawyer for you driving on a suspended license charge. You should never fight a criminal case on your own. Driving on a suspended license can be a violation of Iowa Code Sections 321.218 or 321J.21.

Iowa Code Section 321.218 makes driving on a suspended license a simple misdemeanor punishable by:

  • Up to 30 days in jail
  • A fine of $250 – $1500
  • An additional suspension of your driving privileges for up to one year.

Section 321J.21 of the Iowa Code makes driving while your license is suspended due to an OWI/DWI/DUI a serious misdemeanor punishable by:

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • $1,000 fine
  • An additional suspension of your driving privileges for the same amount of time as your current suspension (i.e. 6 months added onto a prior 6 month suspension).

Usually, if you’re driving on a suspended license you’re caught red-handed. So why do you need a lawyer for a driving on a suspended license charge? Well, for one thing the stop of your vehicle may have been unconstitutional. If it was, you may be able to fight the charge. More often, an attorney can negotiate a deal for you that mitigates the consequences of the suspended license charge. Sometimes, an attorney can get the charge dismissed in favor of community service, etc.

If you are facing a charge of driving on a suspended license, lawyers Nick Sarcone and Dean Stowers at Stowers & Sarcone, PLC can help. We have defended hundreds of suspended license cases and are confident we can achieve the best outcome for you. You do need a lawyer for a driving on a suspended license charge! Call us today. 515.224.7446