Does an OWI Case Get a Jury Trial?
Yes, an OWI case that goes to trial will be heard in front of a jury. The state makes its case against you and then you are given the opportunity to defend yourself.
An OWI case goes to trial only after other options are exhausted. The driver is first charged with an OWI and then arraigned, where they can enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Then the state usually offers a plea bargain. Some drivers accept because they do not want to risk a potentially harsher punishment, but your lawyer is ready to fight this charge and take your case to trial if you are.
What Are the Penalties for an OWI in Iowa?
The penalties for an OWI can be quite severe. The state of Iowa is hoping to reduce such incidents with punishments like:
- Fines of up to $1,250
- Jail sentences of up to one year
- The requirement to complete a substance abuse or drunk driving course
- A revocation of your license lasting up to 180 days
- A requirement to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle
And these are just the penalties for the first OWI and one where your blood alcohol content, or BAC, is measured at the legal limit of 0.08%. Additional penalties for second and third offenses can include longer jail sentences, bigger fines, and license revocation for up to six years. You can also be charged if you do not submit to any kind of field testing when you are pulled over.
Whether your case is going to trial or not, you need to be ready to defend yourself.
How Can I Defend Myself in an OWI Case?
You can fight back against an OWI charge in a few ways. Your lawyer can say that:
- The stop was unlawful
- The officer did not properly carry out the field sobriety test or the breathalyzer test
- The breathalyzer was faulty or poorly calibrated
- The officer lied and said that you did not submit to field testing
Your attorney will look at the specific facts of your case and develop the best possible defense.
Contact a Des Moines Criminal Defense Lawyer
Being charged with an OWI can be scary, but you do not have to face it on your own. Contact Herting Law, PLLC, and learn more about your legal options today.