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Felony drunk driving

felony -vs- misdemeanor

A felony is any criminal offense for which a person can be sentenced to one or more years in a state or federal prison; a misdemeanor is any other criminal offense. Note that OWI 1st offense (a first drunk driving offense) is non-criminal.

felony drunk driving

Third Offense

A third offense within a 12 year period is a Class D felony in Iowa, punishable by a term of imprisonment not to exceed 5 years and a fine of not more than $7,500.  More importantly the mandatory minimum punishment is jail for a minimum of 30 days and a mandatory minimum fine of $3,125 plus the applicable 32% surcharge.  Also, the individual’s driving privileges are barred for 6 years although after a 1 year hard suspension, a temporary restricted license is a possibility.

Any offenses following one's third offense is still charged and prosecuted as only a third offense although the sentencing judge can and will consider the prior offenses in determining the ultimate sentence to be imposed.  Most often, when an individual is looking at a 4th or 5th OWI offense, prison is a distinct possibility if a conviction is obtained.

There are two other severe and significant felony offenses that are associated with operating while intoxicated offenses in Iowa.  They are:

1) Serious Injury by Vehicle

2) Vehicular Homicide

Both of these offenses carry mandatory prison terms upon a conviction.

Serious Injury By Vehicle

Serious Injury By Vehicle in the operating while intoxicated context occurs when an individual that is operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is the proximate cause to an accident that results in a serious injury to an individual other than themselves.  The legal definition of “serious injury” is one that “creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ or major bodily member or which causes the loss of a bodily member.”

Serious injury by a vehicle, operating while intoxicated theory, is a Class D felony which requires a mandatory term of imprisonment not to exceed 5 years.  This means that if a person is convicted of this offense the judge is required to send them to prison for 5 years regardless of their prior criminal history or any other mitigating factors that may weigh in the defendant’s favor.  The judge has no choice and no discretion in the matter.  Additionally, the defendant will be required to pay restitution to the victim for medical expenses.

Vehicular Homicide can help

If you facing felony charges, please contact one of the attorneys who handle felony defense as soon as possible. You can call (1-877-749-7858) or use the online form to contact an attorney, but doing so as quickly as possible is critical - time is precious, and there is much to do to prepare your defense.

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