Expungement in Iowa
The legal process of erasing, destroying, or erasing information in files or records from computers and folders containing criminal charges is known as expungement. Even if records are destroyed, they do not disappear. When records in the state of Iowa are expunged, they simply become inaccessible to the general public and law enforcement. Even after a record has been expunged, fingerprint cards remain in the automated system for the establishment of a criminal history data record. In a juvenile expungement case, however, these fingerprints, criminal history data, and source documents are completely removed. In Iowa Statutes, however, criminal history data may be retained for research or management purposes.
Any arrest, disposition, custody, or adjudication data can be wiped clean. If a juvenile has reached the age of twenty-one and has not pled guilty or been convicted of an aggravated or serious misdemeanor or felony between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one, the adjudication date and custody date may be expunged. All automated fingerprints will remain in the identification system regardless of whether they are deleted.
Under certain circumstances and if certain conditions are met, public intoxication records may be expunged.
Eligibility for Expungement
Only certain crimes in Iowa can be expunged, including those where an individual was acquitted or charges were dismissed. Expungement is not available in cases of dismissal due to insanity. This law also excludes records of adjudications of mental incompetence to stand trial where there was mental or physical injury or an attempt to injure mentally or physically.
Unless aggravated felonies or misdemeanors were committed between eighteen and twenty-one, most juvenile records may be expunged. Cases of probation discharge in which a person’s judgment was deferred under section 907.3 are also eligible for record expungement.
After two years and no further criminal convictions, those who have been arrested and convicted for public intoxication may apply for expungement. Simple misdemeanor violations specified in Chapter 321 are excused during this two-year period.
Iowa Felony Expungement
Iowa does not have a process for felony expungement. This means that a felony conviction cannot be completely erased from a person’s criminal record in Iowa, even after a certain period of time has passed or under certain circumstances.
However, Iowa does have a process called “deferred judgment” which allows certain first-time offenders to avoid a conviction if they meet certain conditions, such as completing probation and paying fines. If a person successfully completes a deferred judgment, the case may be dismissed and the record may show a “deferred judgment” instead of a conviction.
However, even if a person’s record cannot be expunged, they may still be able to have their criminal record sealed or obtain a pardon from the governor. It is advisable to consult with an experienced attorney in Iowa for more information on the options available for clearing or limiting the impact of a criminal record.
Record Erasure and Record Deferment
When a person is eligible for expungement in Iowa, filing a petition is not always required. When an individual meets the specific criteria for public intoxication, the law requires expungement, as stated in Iowa Statutes 123.46.
Unless an application for a pardon is received by the Governor of Iowa, there is no legal mechanism in Iowa for expunging a previous conviction. In the case of driving while intoxicated, a judge’s deferred judgment can keep the incident off the criminal record. In the event of a deferred judgment, an individual will be placed on probation before being discharged.
Individuals are only eligible for deferment twice in their lifetime. Even if a conviction is postponed, driving privileges may not be reinstated in every case. A deferred judgment can also be used as a prior conviction in future convictions to increase the severity of new sentences.