During this year's legislative session Senate File 386 was passed and became effective July 1, 2013. This new law now requires a person who has had their driver's license suspended for a second offense drunk driving offense, to have an ignition interlock device installed for one full year upon seeking reinstatement. The law however does give credit toward the driver for the period of time that they had the interlock installed while driving on a work permit prior to reinstatement.
This is a significant change given that the prior law only required installation of an ignition interlock device following a second offense, for one year if the person failed to obtain a temporary license or work permit during their period of suspension. Thus, a person who had a one year suspension for a second offense OWI and got their work permit a month before their suspension was set to expire, would have only had to of had the ignition interlock for one month. However, if they would not have gotten their work permit, they would have bee required to have the ignition interlock installed for one whole year.
The dichotomy established by this new law is being enhanced by the way the Iowa Department of Transportation is interpreting and applying this law to individuals who were suspended prior to July 1, 2013. A person who happened to have been suspended prior to July 1, 2013, for an OWI Second Offense, and thought they would only need the ignition interlock device installed for the period of time they had their work permit are being not so pleasantly surprised when the DOT tells them they will need it for one entire year.
From a legal perspective, the application of this new law by the DOT to individuals who were suspended prior to July 1, 2013, may be in violation of the General Savings Provision established in Iowa Code Section 4.13. That code section suggests that the passage of a new law shall not affect the prior operation of a statute or action taken under the statute nor shall it affect any right, obligation, or privilege established under a previous statute. Moreover, the DOT's interpretation and current application of this new law to driver's who were suspended prior to July 1, 2013, pulls the rug out from under those people and changes the rules without giving them fair notice and an opportunity to be heard before imposition of this additional requirement in violation of their Due Process rights under the State and Federal Constitutions. Not to mention the fact that the defense attorneys who correctly advised these clients on the requirements that would need to be met prior to reinstatement are now made out to be liars by the Iowa Department of Transportation.
Suffice it to say that the Department of Transportation is again interpreting an applying new laws against Iowa driver's to the driver's detriment. It is up to one or more individuals to step up and confront the DOT regarding the application and interpretation of this law and we are waiting at GRL Law for that individual to come forward so that we can once again successfully corral the DOT's overreaching abuse of power.