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Iowa law requires that an individual, found to have been operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, complete a drinking driver program. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds provided a temporary suspension of Iowa Administrative Code subrule 281—21.31(3)(b) which dictates that this course be delivered in person. Therefore, until rescinded, individuals that are required to complete a drinking driver course for the state of Iowa may:
- Complete a course, specific to drinking drivers, through a state approved drinking driver course in person. This course must be a minimum of 8 hours if delivered outside of the state of Iowa.
- Complete the online OWI education course made available through the Iowa Department of Education. Note that this option is only available until further notice, and is the ONLY course that Iowa will accept for the OWI education requirement. Note that if you are required to complete a course for drinking drivers for any other state, you must contact them to ensure that they will accept this course. Registration information for this course is coming soon!
Chapter 321J.17 of the Code of Iowa explains requirements for persons operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated within the state of Iowa.
Iowa law stipulates that individuals found to have been operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated – either by failing a sobriety test or refusing to test – must complete a mandated "drinking and driving course that encourages the offender to assess the offender's own drinking and driving behavior in order to select practical alternatives."
You may request assistance in locating an educational course or a substance abuse evaluator by contacting our office at 515-281-5251 or completing this form.
Information for Iowans
If you received an OWI in the state of Iowa, you will need to complete the following before your driver's license can be reinstated. Note that in some cases additional penalties/requirements may be imposed by the court system and/or by the Iowa Department of Transportation.
- Complete a substance abuse evaluation and follow any treatment recommendations as stipulated by the evaluator.
- Successfully complete a state approved drinking driver education program. There are a number of providers that have been approved to provide this program in the state of Iowa. Cost for the 12-hour class is $180. Additional fees may be incurred for the jail diversion program. Note that attending a Victim Impact Panel does not satisfy the drinking driver education requirement. Please be aware that Iowa will not accept online drinking driver education courses.
General questions regarding the drinking driver program may be directed to 515-281-5251 or emailed to: OWIIowa@iowa.gov
- Pay any civil penalties, reinstatement fees, and/or pass any examinations as required by the court system and the Iowa Department of Transportation. For further information regarding your driving record, contact the Iowa Department of Transportation at 515-244-8725.
Approved Iowa Providers
Use the links below to locate state approved drinking driver alcohol education providers and licensed substance abuse treatment/evaluators in Iowa.
Information for Non-Iowans
The State of Iowa requires that you complete a substance abuse evaluation and a state-approved drinking driver education course. If you are not a resident of Iowa, but were charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated in the state of Iowa, you may complete your drinking driver education course and the evaluation outside of Iowa.
For help in locating an educational course or a substance abuse evaluator, contact our office at 515-281-5251 or complete this form.
Attending a Victim Impact Panel or AA meetings will not satisfy the drinking driver education requirement. Courses taken outside of the state of Iowa must be at least 8 hours in length. Please be aware that Iowa will not accept online drinking driver education courses.
Upon completion of the drinking driver education course, you will need to submit the Out-Of-State OWI Documentation Form and submit it along with the certificate, letter, or report showing the completion of the course. There is a $37.50 administrative fee for submitting education from outside of Iowa. You may pay with a cashier's check, money order, or with a credit or debit card. Credit/debit card payments can be made online at https://epay.educateiowa.gov/. There is no fee for submitting substance abuse evaluation/treatment.
Upon completion of the substance abuse evaluation, you will need to submit a copy of the evaluation report or the Out of State Substance Abuse Evaluation Treatment Completion form completed by the evaluator. If your substance abuse evaluation recommends treatment, you will also need to submit documentation showing that the treatment has been completed. Treatment and Education are two separate requirements. Completing treatment does not satisfy your requirement to take the drinking driver education course.
You may fax your documentation to 515-725-2014, scan and email to: OWIIowa@iowa.gov or send through postal mail to:
Iowa Department of Education
Drinking Driver Education
400 East 14th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-0146
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Out-Of-State OWI Documentation Form - use when submitting documentation from a state other than Iowa
Out of State Substance Abuse Evaluation Treatment Completion - use to submit substance abuse evaluation/treatment from a state other than Iowa
Residency Statement - an IDOT form to provide proof of residency in an state other than Iowa
Iowa DOT Help Center - call, or email
Locate a Substance Abuse Professional - for those required to obtain a evaluation from a SAP
As Iowa continues to respond to the recommendations and requirements for social distancing, the Iowa Department of Education has developed alternatives for the delivery of the state mandated drinking driver program. Because Iowa Administrative Code subrule 281—21.31(3)(b) dictates that this course be delivered in person, the Department requested that the governor provide a waiver to this requirement. On Sunday, March 22, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds temporarily suspended this requirement, allowing the Department to move forward with this guidance.
At this time, there are three options that Iowans have for taking the 12-hour drinking driver program.
Option 1: In person with an approved provider
While agencies may continue at this time to offer the program in person, it should be noted that on March 17, 2020, Iowa Governor Reynolds issued a declaration that prohibited many gatherings of more than 10 people. The Department encourages agencies to not convene classes that include more than 10 people (including the instructor and support personnel).
Option 2: With an approved provider through video conferencing
Agencies may deliver the Prime for Life course curriculum for the 12-hour class via video conferencing until further notice. Class sizes may not be more than 30 people. The jail diversion programs may not be delivered via video conferencing.
Prime for Life is making available the student workbook used during the course in PDF format. All students that attend the course via video conferencing must be provided with a PDF workbook prior to the start of the course. As will the actual workbook, the PDF version may be used only once. PDF workbooks may be ordered directly through Prime for Life by contacting email@example.com
Option 3: Online through the Iowa Department of Education
The Department is making available an online course called MyPrime, which was developed by Prime for Life. This is the only asynchronous online course that Iowa will accept until further notice. This options will be available soon on this page.
JAIL DIVERSION PROGRAM
Agencies may continue to offer the jail diversion program; however, it must be completed in person at a facility that has been previously approved by the court. Monitoring of students must be included. The jail diversion program may not be offered via video instruction. As mentioned previously, the Department highly recommends that class sizes be no more than 10 people including the instructor and any support personnel.
In an effort to keep current information provided to individuals wishing to take the course, please let us know by using this form, if your agency intends to offer the drinking driver course and, if so, how. Additionally, please let us know if your situation changes.
Requirements for offering 12-hour Drinking Driver Course
- You must be approved by the Department of Education to provide the course
- The course may not be offered in more than four hour blocks without a minimum of a 30 minute break
- Instructional time may not be more than 8 hours per day
- Upon successful completion and payment, the agency will provide student with a completion certificate and if applicable electronically submit class completion to the Iowa Department of Transportation
- All instructors must be certified to teach the course, and attend a recertification course every 24 months
- All students attending the course must receive their own workbook
- A fee of $180 shall be charged to all participants unless they are deemed indigent, and then the fee may be waived
- Agencies must submit a quarterly report and the administrative fees collected to the Department of Education within 30 days following the end of each quarter
Interested in becoming an instructor for the drinking driver course in Iowa? Please contact Barbara Ledvina at 515-242-5036 for information.
Reporting Documents for Providers
Quarterly Fees Report - PDF
Quarterly Fees Report - Word
Education For Instructors
By Phone: 515-281-5251
By Fax: 515-725-2014 (Please indicate OWI in Subject Line)
By Email: OwiIowa@iowa.gov
Iowa Department of Education
Drinking Driver Education
400 East 14th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319