Ticket Fines and Penalties in Iowa
Iowa traffic ticket fines vary by violation but are the same throughout the state.
Some Iowa traffic tickets include the drivers’ fines. Look at your ticket for your fine. If you can’t find the fine:
- Look it up using the Iowa Courts Online Payment Search.
- Contact your Clerk of Court.
- Check to see if your ticket includes the word “non-scheduled” or “unscheduled.” If it does, you must make a mandatory court appearance. You’ll find out the costs then.
Can’t find your ticket to check? Head over to Lost IA Traffic Ticket.
Like traffic ticket fines, court costs are the same throughout the state.
Any court costs applicable to you will be included on your ticket, within the online payment search, or made known during your court appearance.
You can contact the court ahead of time for this information, too.
License suspended due to OWI? You must pay a $200 license reinstatement fee, considered a civil penalty.
Driver Improvement School Costs
Your judge or the DOT will require you to attend a driver improvement school if:
- You’re found guilty of speeding 25 miles or more over the speed limit.
- You accumulate three 3 violations within 12 months.
You’ll pay the school, not the judge or DOT, but this cost is in addition to all other fines and penalties associated with the violation.
Learn more about IA Driver Improvement School.
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)
- Pay the fine.
- Accumulate driving record points.
- Risk license suspension or revocation.
- Possibly have to attend driver improvement school.
- See an increase in auto insurance rates.
Learn more about
Paying your Traffic Ticket »
(Plead Not Guilty)
- Contest the ticket during a hearing.
- Seek legal counsel or prepare and present the case yourself.
- Have no penalties if found not guilty (except any applicable court/attorney fees).
- Possibly have to attend driver improvement school.
- Appeal the guilty verdict (if applicable).
Learn more about
Fighting your Traffic Ticket »
Auto Insurance Rate Increase
It’s not too far off the mark to think of increased auto insurance rates as just one more violation-related cost you have to deal with.
Fortunately, you might not have to deal with it.
Contact your agent about how pleading or being found guilty of traffic ticket violation will affect your rates. If you find out they’ll be higher the next time you renew your policy, start comparing car insurance rates online to find a more affordable plan.
The DOT can suspend, revoke, bar, or cancel your license for a variety of violations.
IA Driver’s License Suspension, Revocation, and Cancellation
License Suspension: A license suspension is a temporary loss of driving privileges. Sometimes this is a predetermined amount of time, and sometimes it only lasts as long as it takes you to meet whatever reinstatement requirements the DOT or judge sets forth. Some suspensions require both waiting a certain time period and meeting reinstatement requirements.
License Revocation: Revocations are similar to suspensions, but usually the last longer and have more stringent reinstatement requirements.
License Bar: Your license becomes barred if the Iowa DOT deems you a habitual offender (see below). Like revocations, license bars tend to last longer than suspensions.
License Cancellation: The DOT will cancel a driver’s license if it deems the driver was ineligible to receive a license.
Section Four (“Protecting Your Driving Privileges”) of Iowa Driver’s Manual outlines reasons the state will suspend, revoke, bar, or cancel a driver’s license.
- Being deemed a habitual violator.
- Failing to pay a traffic ticket, court costs, or other fines related to a citation.
- Failing to pass an exam or having a mental or physical condition making you unfit for driving.
- Excessive speeding.
- Committing a violation involving a fatality.
- Manslaughter involving a motor vehicle.
- Commission of a felony with a motor vehicle.
- Failure to stop and render aid at an accident scene involving yourself.
- Eluding or trying to elude a police officer.
- OWI-related violations.
The IA DOT’s point system is in place mostly for habitual offender and insurance purposes, and if you commit certain offenses and accumulate a certain number of points, the DOT bars your license.
The following schedule outlines each point accumulation’s length of suspension:
- 6 to 7 points: 2 years.
- 8 to 9 points: 3 years.
- 10 to 12 points: 4 years.
- 13 to 15 points: 5 years.
- 16 points or more: 6 years.
Get more details, including how many points certain violations carry, at IA Point System.
The state will cancel any license that―for eligibility issues―should have never been issued.
Penalties for Drivers Younger than 21
Any driver younger than 21 years old who operates a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.02% or higher is considered operating while intoxicated (OWI) per the state’s Zero Tolerance Law.
- 1st Offense: Suspension for 60 days.
- Subsequent Offenses: Suspension for 90 days.
Drivers who refuse chemical testing?
- First Offense: Revocation for 1 year.
- Subsequent Offenses: Revocation for 2 years.
NOTE: Drivers who submit to chemical testing are eligible for a temporary driving permit; those who don’t submit are ineligible.
Understand that these are just the suspension- and revocation-related penalties. Refer to IA OWI for more information.
Younger than 18 years old
Drivers with graduated driver’s licenses (the instruction permits and intermediate licenses that come before a full driver’s license) must maintain crash- and violation-free periods before they can move on to the next license.
- Instruction Permit: Stay crash- and violation-free for 6 months before moving on to the intermediate license.
- Intermediate License: Stay crash- and violation-free for 12 months before moving on to a full license.
Get a traffic ticket conviction, and you’ll have to restart the whole period.
Penalties for Iowa Commercial Drivers
CDL drivers must notify their employers within 30 days of receiving their citations.
The following are federally mandated CDL driver penalties from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):
Expect a suspension or disqualification if you’re convicted of any of the following major offenses.
- Operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a BAC of 0.04%.
- Refusing to take a sobriety test.
- Leaving the scene of an accident.
- Committing a felony with the vehicle.
- Operating a CMV with a suspended, revoked, or canceled CDL.
- Negligent driving that results in fatality.
The following are considered serious offenses:
- Speeding 15 miles or more over the limit.
- Reckless driving.
- Improper lane changing.
- Driving too closely behind another vehicle.
- Operating a CMV without having a CDL.
- Operating a CMV without having your CDL in your possession.
- Operating a CMV without the proper CDL endorsement.
- Violating a state law of texting while driving.
- 2nd convictions, you’ll lose your license for 60 days.
- 3rd convictions, you’ll lose your license for 120 days.
Expect license suspension or disqualification for at least 180 days if you violate a driver or vehicle out-of-service order:
Other Topics in This Section
- While transporting nonhazardous materials.
- While transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded, or while driving a vehicle designed to transport 16 passengers or more.