What is a commercial OWI?
Drivers will face OWI charges if they operate a commercial vehicle under any of the following circumstances:
- While under the influence of drugs or alcohol or a combination of both
- While having a BAC of .04% or more
- While any amount of a controlled substance is found in the individual’s blood or urine
When a driver is operating a noncommercial vehicle, the blood alcohol concentration limit is .08%. However, when a driver with a commercial drivers’ license is arrested in a traditional passenger vehicle, this can still have a negative impact on the status of their CDL. When a driver with a CDL is convicted of any traffic violation other than parking violating, the CDL standards and requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) require them to notify their emply9er of the conviction within 30 days of the incident.
What are the penalties for a commercial OWI in Iowa?
The penalties of a commercial OWI in Iowa will depend on any previous convictions for this offense. The following are the penalties for first, second, and third offenses:
- First Offense: First offenses are considered serious misdemeanor charges and will come with penalties of one year of imprisonment in the county jail and a fine of up to $1,200
- Second Offense: Second offense commercial OWIs are considered aggravated misdemeanors and have penalties of a fine of up to $6,250 and up to two years of imprisonment in the county jail or community-based correctional facility
- Third or Subsequent Offense: Third or subsequent offenses are considered class D felonies. These charges include up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $9,375.
There are also long-term penalties for commercial drivers who have been charged with OWIs while operating commercial vehicles. For one year, commercial drivers will be disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle for first-offense OWI convictions involving alcohol, controlled substances, an alcohol concentration of .04%, and refusal to submit to chemical testing.
Drivers can also expect to have their CDL revoked for three years if they were operating ac commercial motor vehicle while transporting hazardous materials requiring placarding.
If a driver has been previously convicted of an OWI while operating a commercial vehicle, any subsequence offense will result in a lifetime disqualification. However, in some cases, drivers may be eligible for reinstatement after 10 years of disqualification.
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