You are innocent and charged with OWI (In Iowa, this stands for Operating While Intoxicated. Some states use the terms DUI, Driving Under the Influence, or DWI, Driving While Intoxicated). You should either get a dismissal of the charge before a trial, or a unanimous jury verdict at trial of “not guilty” which in legal terms is called an acquittal. I’ve had jury acquittals on breath tests as high as .185, which is more than twice the legal limit, and on breath tests as low as .06, which is less than the “legal limit” of .08. Yes, sometimes, prosecutors will file an OWI charge even if you blow less than .08. And yes, the law allows them to do that in their all powerful discretion. A prosecutor has two options for charging someone with OWI: either their blood alcohol level is over .08 or they are “under the influence.” In some cases, a person has either elected not to provide a sample for the government to analyze or they have tested below .08. In those cases, the police officer will attempt to obtain other evidence in order to attempt to prove that someone is “under the influence.” This is the reason that I put the term minimum “legal limit” inside quotations since there really isn’t a “legal limit” in Iowa. In upcoming blogs, I will answer the questions that are often raised in an OWI case, such as:
SUBJECTS I WILL COVER:
What is the “legal limit” in Iowa for blood alcohol concentration?
What are the different ways that blood alcohol content can be measured?
What five things should you not do upon being stopped?
Why does the officer ask if I’ve been drinking?
How do you maintain your silence when they are asking your questions?
What if the officer promises you that you’ll get off easy or that he won’t tell anyone?
What are some “investigative techniques” officers use?
Who decides whether someone should be charged with OWI?
What are some of the reasons that OWI charges get dismissed?
When should you refuse the breath test?
How long does a person lose their license when arrested for OWI?
What is a field sobriety test?
I’m drunk and at a bar, what do I do?
What is MADD?
PASSING THE FIELD SOBRIETY TEST