Iowa Temporary Restricted License Law Change

Temporary Restricted License Will Permit Restriction Free Driving

In Iowa, a temporary restricted license (a.k.a. work permit) maybe issued to an individual convicted of operating while intoxicated (OWI) or who failed/refused a breath alcohol test. Under current Iowa law, a temporary restricted license (TRL) restricts the places a person can drive. Those restricted places include, school (if attending personally), work, alcohol/drug treatment, daycare and court. Additionally, certain categories of OWI offenses require a “mandatory minimum” period of TRL ineligibility. However, a bill passed by the Iowa House removes all restrictions and all periods of ineligibility.

Under House File 2338 (HF 2338), an individual may drive any place, any time and for any reason on a TRL (resulting from an OWI test refusal, failure or conviction). HF 2338 also removes all periods of TRL ineligibility. The only caveat: an individual must install an ignition interlock device (blow and go) in their car. Ignition interlock devices prevent driving when alcohol is detected in the operator’s breath. HF 2338, now under consideration by the Iowa Senate, is expected to pass and be signed into law by Governor Reynolds.

Multiple members of the Iowa Association for Justice (Nick Sarcone is Vice Chair of the Criminal Law Section) played a significant role drafting the legislation. IAJ, Stowers & Sarcone, PLC and the criminal defense bar have steadfastly supported the bill throughout the legislative process.

HF 2338 is a significant, beneficial change for Iowans. 

For example, under current Iowa law a single mother on a TRL cannot:

  • Take her children to school
  • Take her children to school activities
  • Go to the grocery store
  • Drive anywhere except work, court and medical appointments

These restrictions are less problematic in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids where city buses, uber and taxi cabs operate. But in towns like Newton, Maquoketa, Carroll, Grinnell, Denison, Oskaloosa, Estherville, Storm Lake, Glenwood and everywhere in between, where public transportation is minimal at best, this legislation will dramatically reduce driving while suspended offenses and improve lives. Under HF 2338 that mother can drive her kids anywhere if she installs an ignition interlock device. She will not suffer the embarrassment of needing her employer’s signature to get her TRL. She does not have to worry about being pulled over when she goes to the grocery store. She does not need to find a friend to take her kids to practice. Most importantly, the public is further protected from drunk driving because more people will operate legally and with ignition interlock devices.

These changes will be retroactive and permit a person currently driving on a TRL to drive restriction free when the bill becomes law. Use the sign up form on the right hand side to receive new blog posts via email and we will update you as the bill progresses through the legislative process.

If you or a loved one has been charged with OWI and needs legal assistance do not hesitate to call Stowers & Sarcone, PLC. Dean Stowers and Nick Sarcone stand ready to fight for your rights, defend your case and achieve the best possible outcome from a bad situation. Call now! 515.224.7446.

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