House Study Bill 29 - IntroducedA Bill ForAn Act 1allowing certain operating-while-intoxicated offenders
2to be sentenced as habitual offenders, and making penalties
1   Section 1.  Section 321J.2, subsection 5, unnumbered
2paragraph 1, Code 2019, is amended to read as follows:
   3A third or subsequent offense is punishable by all of the
5   Sec. 2.  Section 321J.2, subsection 5, Code 2019, is amended
6by adding the following new paragraph:
7   NEW PARAGRAPH.  e.  Notwithstanding the maximum sentence
8set forth in paragraph “a”, a person convicted of a third or
9subsequent offense may be sentenced as an habitual offender
10pursuant to sections 902.8 and 902.9 if the person qualifies as
11an habitual offender as described in section 902.8.
13The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with
14the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly.
   15Under current law, Code section 321J.2(2)(c) provides that a
16third or subsequent operating-while-intoxicated (OWI) offense
17is a class “D” felony and Code section 321J.4(4) requires the
18department of transportation to revoke the driver’s license of
19a person convicted of a third or subsequent OWI offense for six
20years. Code section 321J.2(5) sets forth the punishments for
21persons convicted of a third OWI offense, including confinement
22not to exceed five years with a mandatory minimum term of
2330 days, assessment of a fine of between $3,125 and $9,375,
24revocation of the person’s driver’s license for six years,
25and assignment to substance abuse evaluation and treatment, a
26course for drinking drivers, and a reality education substance
27abuse prevention program. This bill specifies that the
28punishments set forth under Code section 321J.2(5) apply to
29persons convicted of a third or subsequent OWI offense.
   30Under current law, Code section 902.8 provides that an
31habitual offender is any person convicted of a class “C” or
32class “D” felony, who has twice before been convicted of
33any felony. Under Code section 902.9, the maximum sentence
34for an habitual offender is confinement for no more than 15
35years, if the maximum sentence is not otherwise prescribed
-1-1by statute. The bill provides that a person convicted of a
2third or subsequent OWI offense may be sentenced as an habitual
3offender pursuant to Code sections 902.8 and 902.9 if the
4person qualifies as an habitual offender as described in Code
5section 902.8.
   6The bill, in part, is a response to the Iowa supreme court’s
7decision in Noll v.Iowa Dist.Court for Muscatine Cty., 919
8N.W.2d 232 (Iowa 2018), holding that the maximum and minimum
9sentences set forth in Code section 321J.2(5) for a third OWI
10offense represent the general assembly’s intent to preclude
11sentencing a person convicted of a third or subsequent OWI
12offense as an habitual offender under Code sections 902.8 and
13902.9 even though the person was previously convicted of at
14least two felonies.