What is the legal limit in Iowa for blood alcohol concentration?  A prosecutor has two options when 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 “legal limit” inside quotations since there really isn’t a “legal limit” in Iowa.    The .08 law is known as the “per se” law.  This means that if you provide a test over .08, you are considered to be in violation of the law.   But even if you are below .08 you can be found guilty of operating while under the influence.  And even if you are over .08, there are a number of reasons why you may be innocent.  Some of these reasons may include the time that has elapsed between driving and the breath test, the device used to measure the breath sample, the health of the individual, or the manner in which the officer obtained the breath, blood or urine specimen.


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