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In Iowa what is the penalty for driving on a revoked license? Is there jail time involved?


Driving on a revoked driver's license in Iowa is a serious offense and could possibly include jail time.

Iowa's Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) noted that in IA, the Office of Driver Services keeps track of your license and your driving record. Your driving record shows all traffic violations and traffic accidents. If you have too many accidents or traffic violations, your driving privileges may be limited or taken away. There are six ways your driving privileges may be withdrawn in Iowa: cancellation, suspension, revocation, barred, denial and disqualification (commercial license only - see Iowa's CDL Manual).

The Iowa driver's manual notes that your license will be taken away for any of the following (this is also noted in Iowa Code Section 321.209 title Mandatory revocation):

  • manslaughter resulting from driving a motor vehicle;
  • using a motor vehicle when committing a felony;
  • failure to stop and give aid at the scene of a personal injury or fatal accident in which you were involved;
  • lying about the registration or operation of a motor vehicle;
  • eluding or trying to elude a marked law enforcement vehicle driven by a uniformed peace officer after being signaled with lights or a siren to stop, and while doing that, going over the speed limit by 25 mph or more;
  • driving a motor vehicle under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or other drug or a combination of such substances;
  • refusing to take a chemical test when requested by a peace officer;
  • having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more (.02 or more if under age 21) in a chemical test;
  • a second conviction for reckless driving;
  • drag racing;
  • conviction of an Iowa resident in a court in Iowa, or in another state or federal court, of certain drug related offenses; or
  • conviction, or juvenile court action, for drug/drug related violations.

The IA driver's manual also notes that misusing your license is a misdemeanor punishable by fines, jail sentences and license suspensions. Here are some unlawful uses of your driver's license/ permit that could get you into trouble according to the MVD:

  • showing or having a canceled or fraudulent license or permit;
  • lending your license or permit to anyone else;
  • using anyone else's license or permit;
  • keeping any license or permit if it is suspended, revoked or canceled, if the DOT has requested it be turned in;
  • using a false or fictitious name;
  • permitting any unlawful use of your license or permit; or
  • altering your license or permit in any way.

Driving while your license is denied, canceled, suspended, or revoked is a misdemeanor in Iowa. A conviction may result in not less than $250 and not more than $1,500 fine and up to one year in jail if you are convicted of a serious misdemeanor. We have also read that if you are caught three times driving with an invalid license your risk jail time and having your license barred for two years.

The length of your suspension or revocation for some convictions may also be doubled if you are convicted of driving while your license is suspended, revoked, cancelled, etc. A work permit cannot be issued when you have been convicted of driving while your license was suspended. You could also be barred from driving if you are convicted for driving while under suspension or revocation. (Iowa Code Section 321.218, 321A.32 and 321.55 can be looked at to read more about these penalties).

If your revocation was because of a conviction for operating while intoxicated (OWI) your penalties may be more severe. According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, a person who drives while their driver's license is revoked under the OWI law (whether the revocation is administrative or court ordered, and whether for an OWI or for a .02 violation) commits a serious misdemeanor and must pay a fine of $1,000.

Law enforcement officers may impound vehicles, if the individual's driver's license is revoked for an OWI and the person is found driving. If a driver is convicted of a second or subsequent offense of driving with a revoked license, the vehicle that is being operated must be seized and forfeited to the state. The owner of a vehicle who lends the vehicle to a person whose license is revoked for an OWI commits a simple misdemeanor and is jointly liable for any damages the driver causes, if the owner knew, should have known or gave consent to the operation of the vehicle by a driver with a revoked license.

In Iowa, according to the IA MVD, to get your driving privilege back after a suspension or revocation you must go through a reinstatement process which may include passing required tests and paying appropriate fees. If your driving privilege is taken away, you may have to show future proof of financial responsibility (through a SR-22).

If your license is suspended or revoked due to a conviction(s) or for reasons relating to financial responsibility, you will have to pay a $200 civil penalty prior to reinstatement. However, for persons age 19 or under, the civil penalty will be $50.

If you were cited for driving with a revoked license in Iowa contact the court listed on your ticket to find out more about the possible penalties you may be facing.If you are required to obtain a SR-22, certificate of financial responsibility, when you are able to reinstate your driver's license you can get an auto insurance quote here.


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