Have you ever looked yourself up on Iowa Courts Online? Did you see records of yourself or other people you know that show up even though the person was found not guilty of the charge or the charge was dismissed? Many employers access Iowa Courts Online in determining who to hire, renters often check online court records when deciding whom to rent housing to, and other organizations also make decisions based upon a person’s criminal record. It can be very frustrating to be denied a job, position, house, or apartment because of a criminal conviction on your record, but it can be even more frustrating to be denied because an old charge shows up that you weren’t even convicted of.
A new law passed in 2015 may be able to help you get rid of those pesky court records once and for all.
In order to have the record of a charge expunged several things must first be established:
- All of the charges associated with the case must have been dismissed or the defendant must have been acquitted of all charges in the case. For example, if a person had two drug charges filed under one case number as Count I and Count 2 and the person was acquitted of both charges or if both charges were dismissed, the person would qualify to have the records expunged or sealed. If the person was convicted of one of the two charges and found not guilty on the second charge, or if the second charge was dismissed by the prosecutor, the person would not qualify to have the dismissed or not guilty charge expunged from their record since they were found guilty on at least one of the charges in the case.
- All court costs, fees, and other financial obligations owed by the person seeking the expungement must be paid in full.
- A minimum of 180 days must have passed since the entry of the judgment of acquittal or the order dismissing the case, unless the court finds good cause to waive that 180-day waiting period (i.e. the person was a victim of identity fraud or mistaken identity).
- The case was not dismissed due to the defendant being found not guilty by reason of insanity.
- The defendant was not found incompetent to stand trial in the case.
If all these are met, the record would then become a confidential record exempt from public access and would be removed from Iowa Courts Online.
This law would allow the sealing of all public records for all crimes EXCEPT simple misdemeanor traffic offenses. The law is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2016.
Call the lawyers at GRL Law today to see if you qualify to have your dismissed charges expunged.
Did you know that many Possession of Alcohol Under Legal Age (PAULA) and Public Intoxication Charges can be expunged as well? Click here to learn more about expunging PAULAs or Public Intoxication charges.