Iowa Traffic Violations
As an Iowa driver, it is important that you are aware of the issues you may face should you be pulled over and issued a ticket for a moving violation. If you incur a traffic violation in Iowa, you have a few basic options.
The first is to pay your ticket and move on. If you do so, you will be admitting guilt and can expect to see both points and the traffic violation itself placed on your Iowa driving record. Contact information and steps for paying a ticket in person, by mail or online will be located somewhere on the citation you were issued, and the Iowa law enforcement officer that pulled you over will likely point the information out when he issues you the citation. If you have other questions, you can contact the local Iowa court clerk's office as well.
The Iowa law enforcement officer who issued your traffic citation will also likely point out on your traffic ticket a court date, when you can appear in court to discuss the violation if you so choose. By appearing in the local Iowa court that oversees you traffic violation, you can either plead guilty or dispute the charges. Also, if you appear in court you may have an opportunity to request an opportunity to participate in some form of Iowa traffic school or defensive driving course in exchange for a lesser or dismissed violation. If you simply pay the ticket and do not follow up with the local Iowa court clerk's office to review such an opportunity, both the violation and potential points attached to the violation will undoubtedly wind up on your Iowa driving record
Iowa Points System
The Iowa Department of Transportation's Motor Vehicle Division ("MVD") keeps track of "points" against the Iowa driving records of all Iowa drivers. Whereas, in most states, points are assigned for the majority of moving violations, the Iowa DMV restricts points for more serious violations. While that may help you avoid points on your record for some offenses, any points on your record at all can be a serious concern. Below are some examples of points assigned against your Iowa driving record for certain infractions:
- Driving under a Suspended or Revoked License: 2 points
- Lying to the Iowa Department of Transportation: 2 points
- Driving Under the Influence: 4 points
- Evading a Law Enforcement Officer: 5 points
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident: 5 points
- Vehicular Manslaughter: 6 points
Suspension of Your Iowa Driving Privileges
Because such points are the result of clearly serious driving infractions, your Iowa driving privileges can be suspended or revoked for a very small number of points on your Iowa driving record, even if those points are accumulated over several years.
If you receive six points on your record over six years, your Iowa driving privileges will be taken away for two years. Once you accumulate 8 points, you will lose your Iowa driving privileges for 3 years. Amass 10 points? That's 4 years. If you wind up with 13 points against your Iowa driving record, you face a 5 year suspension. At 16 points, your Iowa driving privileges will be lost for six years.
Further, if you are involved in an large amount of avoidable accidents or incur an excessive number of moving violations-usually six or more-in a two-year period, the Iowa courts or the Iowa MVD may label you as a "habitual offender," and restrict your Iowa driving privileges accordingly, including suspending your license for up to a year. And if you are caught driving after your license has been barred as the result of being a habitual offender, Iowa courts will throw the book at you, possibly sentencing you to prison for as much as two years.
Attending Traffic School in Iowa
If you end up having your Iowa driving record suspended, revoked or barred, or you are convicted of a single instance of speeding by more than 25 mph, you will also likely have to participate in the Iowa Driver Improvement Program. If you are ordered to enroll in the Iowa Driver Improvement Program, which will include some form of traffic school or defensive driving course, your successful completion of this course will only result in satisfying one portion of your requirements to have your license reinstated. Neither points nor traffic violations themselves will be removed from your record. However, you will likely have an opportunity to be placed on probation by the Iowa Department of Transportation and begin driving under some form of restricted license.
If you have not violated Iowa regulations to such an extent that you face suspension of your Iowa driving privileges and have not committed one of the several serious infractions that result in points against your Iowa driving record, but still find yourself in court disputing or pleading guilty to a traffic violation, you may have an opportunity to have the traffic violation reduced or even dismissed in exchange for participating in an Iowa online traffic school or driver improvement program.
Because Iowa courts have jurisdiction over online traffic schools and online defensive driving programs, you will need to ask the judge or the local Iowa court clerk's office whether your participation in an Iowa online traffic school or driver improvement program will satisfy requirements which the court deems necessary to warrant reducing or dismissing your traffic violation altogether.
The Benefits of a Clean Iowa Driving Record
Because serious traffic violations and the accompanying points that show up on your driving record can be so serious, participating in an Iowa online traffic school or Iowa online driver improvement program can be a significant aid should you find yourself facing a traffic violation charge or possible suspension of your Iowa driving privileges. Iowa online traffic schools are designed to teach and reinforce important safe driving techniques and defensive driving skills that will support the contention that you are someone who deserves to retain their Iowa driving privileges. Also, these skills can help you avoid negligent accidents and traffic violations altogether going forward.
Iowa online traffic school and driver improvement programs can have a significant impact on your insurance premiums as well. If participation in an Iowa online traffic school can have any impact on reducing the violations on your Iowa driving record, or merely by showing up on your Iowa driving record alongside those infractions, your insurance carrier is considerably less likely to implement expensive premium hikes that can cost you anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars each year.
Iowa Mature Drivers
Many insurance programs may even offer advance discounts for your enrollment in an Iowa online traffic school or online defensive driving program, particularly if you are a Mature Driver. If you are a mature driver over the age of 55, you should contact your insurance carrier to see what effect enrollment in an Iowa online traffic school will have on your monthly insurance premiums.
Iowa Juvenile Drivers
Similarly, juvenile drivers under the age of 18 have notoriously high insurance costs based on young drivers' relative inexperience and tendencies to incur traffic violations and end up in traffic accidents. By showing your insurance carrier that you or a juvenile driver in your household is dedicated to safe and defensive driving, you may also qualify for a special discount on your auto insurance premiums.
Iowa Classroom Traffic Schools
If you would like to enroll in traffic school set in a traditional classroom setting, or are ordered to do so by the Iowa MVD or local Iowa court overseeing your current traffic violation, you should contact your local Iowa Department of Transportation office or the local Iowa court clerk's office and ask for a list of state-approved brick-and-mortar traffic schools. In addition, Iowa Driver Improvement Program courses are offered throughout the year at many Iowa community colleges. The Iowa MVD should also be able to inform you of the closest participating college.