Police in Iowa take the issue of drugged driving very seriously. Drugged driving refers to operating a vehicle while impaired by any drug, not just illegal substances. Prescription or over-the-counter medications that affect your driving ability can also lead to an arrest.
If the Iowa police suspect you of drugged driving, you face a daunting legal process, and it is important to understand the process.
The initial arrest and booking process
After the police pull you over and suspect drugged driving, they will conduct a series of tests. These can include field sobriety tests, breath tests and drug recognition expert evaluations. If these tests indicate impairment, they will arrest you. You will then go to the police station for booking, where they will take your fingerprints and mugshot.
Iowa’s drugged driving laws and penalties
In Iowa, drugged driving falls under the umbrella of operating while intoxicated. The penalties for an OWI offense depend on the number of previous offenses you have. If you are a first-time offender, you may face up to one year in jail, a fine between $625 and $1,250 and a license suspension of 180 days. The penalties increase for subsequent offenses.
Navigating the court process
After your arrest, you will have to appear in court. Here, the prosecution will present evidence, including the results of any tests and the observations of the arresting officer. You will have the opportunity to challenge the evidence and provide your own. The court will then decide if you are guilty or not.
Moving forward after conviction
If the court convicts you of drugged driving, you must fulfill the penalties imposed by the court. This includes jail time, fines and license suspension. Once you have completed these penalties, you may need to complete a substance abuse evaluation and treatment program. Additionally, to reinstate your driving privileges, you must provide proof of completion of a state-approved driver’s education course.
The experience of an arrest and the ensuing legal process can be frightening. But understanding what you face can help you navigate this challenging situation and make it easier to handle.