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What Will Happen If I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Iowa?

Iowa has an implied consent law which means that individuals who operate motor vehicles in Iowa have given consent to a chemical test if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they are operating while intoxicated. To learn more about what will happen if you refuse a breathalyzer test in Iowa, continue reading and reach out to our experienced Iowa criminal defense attorney who can assist you with the steps of the legal process ahead.

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When will I be requested to submit to chemical testing?

You will be requested to submit to chemical testing if there are reasonable grounds to believe that you are driving under the influence of alcohol and meet any of the following qualifications:

  • You are lawfully under arrest for OWI
  • You refused to take a preliminary breath screening test (PBT)
  • You were involved in an accident that resulted in injury or death
  • The PBT indicated a BAC of at least .02% or more and you are under the age of 21
  • The PBT indicated a BAC of .04% or more and you were operating a commercial motor vehicle
  • The PBT indicated a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more
  • The PBT indicated a BAC of less than .08% and the officer has reasonable grounds to believe you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Chemical tests include breath, urine, and blood samples. The arresting officer will generally decide which test will be requested. Typically, a driver who agrees to take a breath or urine test can refuse a blood test without penalty. The officer will request the test within two hours after the PBT is administered, after the test is refused, or after the arrest is made, depending on which act occurs first. You will not be required to submit to any test if the officer fails to request a chemical test within that time frame.

What are the penalties for refusing a breathalyzer test in Iowa?

The officer must inform the driver of the consequences of failing or refusing a breathalyzer test before they administer a chemical test. The following are the consequences of refusing a test:

  • License revocation
  • Ineligibility for a deferred judgment.
  • A civil penalty
  • Evidence of your refusal can be used against you at trial

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Herting Law, PLLC, is an Iowa-based law firm designed to help with all of your legal needs. If you need a Des Moines criminal defense lawyer, our firm has significant experience in all criminal matters, including OWIs, drug charges, gun crimes, theft, assault, and more. If you need an estate planning lawyer, our firm can guide you through it all, including drafting wills, trusts, and the administration of your estate. Whatever the situation, Herting Law, PLLC has you covered.

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