New 2019 Law Allows for Expungement of Additional Misdemeanor Charges

First, what is an expungement? An expungement means that a criminal charge that was pled guilty to is essentially wiped clean from your criminal record.  If an expungement is granted, the file is sealed and the charge can no longer be seen on Iowa Courts Online, the State of Iowa’s online court recordkeeping tool.  Prior to 2019, Iowa law only allowed a person to obtain an expungement in limited circumstances.  The old law only allowed for expungements on deferred judgments, public intoxication convictions, dismissed charges, and possession of alcohol under legal age convictions.

The new law allows for expungement of a greater class of misdemeanors, not just deferred judgments, dismissed charges, and simple misdemeanor alcohol related crimes.

An expungement will be granted by the court as long as all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The charge has to be a misdemeanor conviction. Some misdemeanors do not apply to be expunged, however.  These are:
  • Dependent adult abuse
  • Driving while revoked, suspended, or denied
  • Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)
  • Any sex offense for which a person must be placed on a regstry
  • Involuntary manslaughter
  • Assault using or displaying a dangerous weapon
  • Any domestic abuse assault
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Removal of an officer’s communication device
  • Trespass with intent to commit a hate crime
  • Bestiality
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Interference with judicial process
  • Misconduct in office
  • Misuse of public records and files
  • Rioting
  • Any weapons offense
  • “Protection of family crimes” such as child endangerment, bigamy, incest, or neglect of a dependent person
  • Any misdemeanor violations of Iowa Code Chapter 728, the “Obscenity” chapter, such as “dissemination of obscene material to a minor” or admitting minors to premises where obscene material is exhibited
  • Sexually predatory offenses under Iowa Code Chapter 901A
  • Offenses comparable to federal motor carrier violations (specifically, 49 C.F.R.§383.5l(b) (table 1) or 49 C.F.R. §383.5l(e) (table 4))  
  1. More than eight (8) years must have passed from the time of the person’s conviction they are seeking to expunge.
  2. The person must have NO pending criminal charges.
  3. The person must not have been previously granted two deferred judgments.
  4. The person must have paid all court costs, fees, fines, restitution, and any other financial obligations ordered by the court or assessed by the clerk of the district court.
  5. A person may only be granted ONE expungement of a record under this new law one time in the person’s lifetime; however, the one application may request the expungement of records relating to more than one misdemeanor offense if the offenses arose from the same occurrence.
  6. The person must not be the subject of a protective order or a no contact order.

If all of these conditions are met, the court must expunge the record, make the record confidential, and the Department of Public Safety must remove the record of the conviction from its criminal history data files.  The record can only be made available again upon a court order.

Call the lawyers at GRL Law today to see if you qualify to have your convictions or dismissed charges expunged.  We never charge for your initial consultation.