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Driving Offenses

One of the most common criminal infractions in Iowa is driving a vehicle while your driver’s license has been denied, revoked, suspended, or you are barred from driving.  This offense is so common most likely because of the importance of driving in daily life.  Driving is essential to most people’s daily routines of working and family life.  Refraining from driving while you are not legally permitted to drive can be extremely difficult and can carry some very steep penalties if caught and convicted.

Driving While License is Denied, Revoked, Suspended or Barred in Iowa

Iowa Code Section 321J.21 describes the penalties for this act.  Let’s take a closer look at the statute:

IA Code 321J.21(1) states:

A person whose driver’s license or nonresident operating privilege has been suspended, denied, revoked, or barred due to a violation of this chapter and who drives a motor vehicle while the license or privilege is suspended, denied, revoked, or barred commits a serious misdemeanor.  In addition to any other penalties, the punishment imposed for a violation of this subsection shall include assessment of a fine of one thousand dollars.

Simply put, you will, among any other penalties, be fined $1,000 for driving while barred.  This is a sizable fine that many people would not easily be able to afford.

The second portion of the statute states:

In addition to the fine, the department, upon receiving the record of the conviction of a person under this section upon a charge of driving a motor vehicle while the license of the person was suspended, denied, revoked, or barred shall extend the period of suspension, denial, revocation, or bar for an additional like period, and the department shall not issue a new license during the additional period.

In other words, if you are convicted of driving while barred, you will have your period of suspension extended and will not be able to receive a new license during that time.

Serious Misdemeanor

Also included in the first portion of IA Code 321J is a statement that the crime of driving while barred is considered a serious misdemeanor.  In Iowa, there are two categories of crimes: misdemeanors and felonies. Further, misdemeanors are then separated into three categories: simple, serious, and aggravated.  The penalty for conviction generally increases in severity with the level of offense.

Iowa Department of Motor Vehicle Information on Driving While Barred

The Iowa Department of Motor Vehicles website states that a conviction of driving while barred carries with it a possible fine of $1,500 and up to one year in jail.  They also state, as does the controlling statute, that the period of time that the license has been suspended or revoked may be doubled.  They will not issue a work permit during the suspension.

Habitual Offender

You will be considered an habitual offender and will be barred from driving for two to six years if you receive three or more of any combination of the following convictions in a six-year period:

  • manslaughter with a motor vehicle;
  • conviction of operating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (Iowa Code Chapter 321J);
  • conviction for driving while your license is suspended, revoked or barred; eluding or attempting to elude pursuing law enforcement vehicles; or serious injury by vehicle;
  • failure to stop and leave information or render aid at the scene of an accident in which you were involved as required by Iowa Code 321.263

As you can see, driving while your license is suspended, revoked, denied or you are otherwise barred from driving can result in substantial fines and penalties.  If you find yourself charged with this offense, it is important to seek experienced legal counsel as soon as possible.