Guide to Iowa Traffic Fines
Getting caught violating Iowa traffic laws can result in penalties that affect you for years to come. In this guide, you will learn what kind of Iowa traffic fines are associated with various traffic offenses. When goint through this guide, it is important to remember that it is much easier to predict fines for first-time offenders. Repeat offenders are often subject to significantly higher Iowa traffic fines at a judge's discretion, and may face additional consequences.
This guide will give you a good set of guidelines to help you estimate your Iowa traffic fines, but only your local courthouse can tell you exactly how much your ticket is going to be. Calling an Iowa traffic lawyer or the traffic court phone number on your citation may help you to find out the accurate details of your traffic fines.
Civil Infraction or Misdemeanor?
The consequences you will face as a result of your traffic offense depend on whether you are cited for a civil infraction or if you are charged with a misdemeanor. This is an important distinction, because while both civil infractions and misdemeanors are punishable by Iowa traffic fines and license suspensions, only misdemeanors may be punishable by time in jail.
Most of the time, simple traffic offenses will just be civil infractions and carry no risk of jail time. However, more serious offenses, like DUI, will be charged as misdemeanors, as will some repeat traffic offenses. You may also be charged with a misdemeanor if your traffic offense endangered people around you.
Speeding tickets can be issued either as civil infractions or misdemeanors. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you may have to go to jail for up to 30 days (this would be highly atypical for a first-time offender—realistically, if it's your first time in court, you will probably only need to pay Iowa traffic fines).
Typically, your fine will range from $50 to $100, depending on how fast you were going. This is lower than the average fine in the United States for first-time speeders. If you were going more than 25 mph over the posted speed limit, you may also have your license suspended for up to a year at the judge's discretion. Your fine will be doubled if you were speeding in a work zone, even if construction workers were not present at the time.
Texting While Driving
In Iowa, it has been illegal to exchange text messages while driving since July of 2010. For adults, texting while driving is a secondary offense (you cannot be stopped just for texting), but for children under 18, it is a primary offense and you can be stopped for texting even if you are doing nothing else wrong.
Iowa traffic fines for texting while driving are only $30 for a first-time offense, but remember: texting while driving is dangerous. If you are convicted of causing an accident due to texting while driving, you will face Iowa traffic fines of up to $1000.