Charges/Offenses

Just an arrest on a criminal charge in Iowa can be a traumatic and life-altering experience for anyone. The personal, social, economic, and legal consequences can be severe and permanent. A conviction for such an offense will undoubtedly have a more far-reaching impact on the individual than just an arrest alone. For this reason, every step must be taken; every question must be asked; and everything possible must be done to effectively defend an accusation whether its homicide or disorderly conduct. A person’s criminal record is often considered a reflection of their personal characteristics and traits and everything possible must be done to protect it if at all possible. Any person charged with a crime in Iowa should first and foremost know and understand the nature and severity of the accusations that have been brought against them. Knowing and understanding the basic elements and consequences of a particular charge is the first step in an effective defense.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony

Drug Charges - Juvenile Law - Vehicular Homicide - Drunk Driving

Iowa’s tiered level penalties for criminal offenses is common among many states. Iowa classifies crimes into felony and misdemeanor offenses and by their severity. More severe crimes, such as vehicular homicide are felony offenses. Less severe crimes, such as a first offense drunk driving charge is a misdemeanor.

While some criminal charges carry mandatory minimum or maximum punishments, generally speaking the offense classifications and corresponding sentencing ranges are listed below for misdemeanors (click here – felony offenses).

Misdemeanor Penalties

Aggravated Misdemeanor  

  • 2 years imprisonment or up to 1 year in jail and a fine of $625 to $6,500

Serious Misdemeanor

  • Up to 1 year in jail and a fine of $315 to $1,875

Simple Misdemeanor  

  • 30 days in jail and a fine of $65 to $625

Felonary Charges - Drug Charges - Vehicular Homicide - Felony Drunk Driving

The state of Iowa has a tiered level of criminal offenses. The same is true of most other state’s criminal code. In Iowa,criminal penalties are classified into felony offenses andmisdemeanor offenses.

Felony offenses are more serious, therefore the penalties are more severe. Misdemeanor offenses are usually far less serious, and their penalties are lighter.

Felony Classifications

Both Felony and Misdemeanor penalties are classified, with a corresponding letter. Class A Felony offenses are the most severe; punishments decrease with subsequent classes.

Felony Sentences & Fines

While certain criminal charges carry other mandatory minimum or maximum punishments, generally speaking the offense classifications and corresponding sentencing ranges are listed below for felonies, and misdemeanors are listed on Misdemeanor Penalties.

Felony Penalties

Class A Felony  

  • Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. (The only way to be paroled is if the governor commutes the sentence.

Class B Felony  

  • 25 years imprisonment

Class C Felony  

  • 10 years imprisonment and a potential fine of $1,000 to $10,000

Class D Felony  

  • 5 years imprisonment and a potential fine of $750 to $7,500

Iowa Drunk Driving Laws

Drunk Driving - 1st, 2nd and 3rd Offense

Iowa Code section 321J.2 prohibits an individual from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of drugs or alcohol; or while having an alcohol concentration of .08 or greater.  There are two elements of Operating While Intoxicated that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt at trial:

  • The defendant operated a motor vehicle;
  • He/she did so while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; OR
  • While having an alcohol concentration of .08 or greater.

“Operating” is defined by the Iowa Supreme Court as: the immediate, actual physical control over a motor vehicle that is in motion and/or has its engine running.  Thus, sitting in a vehicle, even with the keys in the ignition, so long as the engine is not running, does not and cannot constitute “operating.”

In Iowa, an individual is considered “under the influence” when by drinking liquor and/or beer, one or more of the following is true:

  • His reason or mental ability has been affected;
  • His judgment is impaired;
  • His emotions are visibly excited;
  • He has, to any extent, lost control of bodily actions or motions.

Additional OWI Related Offenses

Serious Injury by Vehicle

Unintentionally causes a serious injury (bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ or major bodily member, or which causes the loss of any bodily member) by
Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (as set forth above).

Vehicular Homicide

Unintentionally causes death of another; by
Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (as set forth above).

Public Intoxication

Iowa law prohibits public intoxication.

Vehicular Homicide and Serious Injury by Vehicle

Vehicular Homicide in Iowa?

An individual commits vehicular homicide when:

  1. Unintentionally causes death of another; by
  2. Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
Penalties
  • Mandatory 25 years imprisonment; Judge may not give probation or defer judgment. Prison sentence must be imposed. If convicted the Judge has no choice but to send you to prison. Furthermore bail is not available pending appeal or while awaiting sentencing.
  • Fine of up to $10,000 but not less than $1,000 plus 32% surcharge, court costs, $125 Law Enforcement Initiative Surcharge and $10 DARE surcharge;
  • Mandatory $150,000 restitution to victim’s estate;
  • Substance abuse evaluation and treatment if recommended;
  • Drinking drivers course; and
  • Mandatory 6 year license suspension.

Serious Injury by Vehicle in Iowa

An individual commits vehicular homicide when:

  1. Unintentionally causes a serious injury (bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ or major bodily member, or which causes the loss of any bodily member) by
  2. Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
Penalties
  • Mandatory 5 years imprisonment. Judge may not give probation or defer judgment. Prison sentence must be imposed.
  • Fine of up to $7,500 but no less than $750 plus 32% surcharge, court costs, $125 Law Enforcement Initiative Surcharge and $10 DARE surcharge;
  • Substance abuse evaluation;
  • Drinking drivers course; and
  • Restitution to the injured person(s).
  • Additional 1 year license suspension.

Involuntary Manslaughter

Iowa Involuntary Manslaughter Laws

Involuntary Manslaughter is the charge often filed by the prosecution when they are unable to prove an intent on the part of the defendant to cause harm to the victim.

Unintentional Harm

In these cases, there was no intent to harm the victim but the person’s actions were done in a way that the State believes they should be held criminally responsible for the individual’s death. The State can allege either that the individual committed a “public offense” resulting in death or otherwise engaged in conduct “likely to cause death.”

Public Offense

A “public offense” is essentially any traffic or criminal offense that is punishable by a fine or jail time. Careless driving, assault, speeding, failure to maintain control, and other such offenses are all considered “public offenses.” Obviously it is concerning that ANY public offense may form the basis of an Involuntary Manslaughter charge.

Recklessness, Willful & Wanton Disregard

However, there is an additional requirement that the person’s conduct must be reckless. In otherwords, their conduct must demonstrate a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others. It is not enough for the defendant merely to have committed a “public offense” that offense must have been committed in a reckless manner in order from criminal liability to attach.

Class D Felony

Involuntary Manslaughter, by public offense, is a Class D felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $7,500. If convicted the defendant is also responsible for $150,000 in restitution to the estate of the victim. Probation is an option.

Aggravated Misdemeanor

Involuntary Manslaughter, by conduct likely to cause death, is an Aggravated Misdemeanor punishable by up to 2 years in prison and a fine of up to $6,250.00. Probation is an option and the statutory $150,000 restitution to the victim’s estate is not applicable although restitution may be ordered.

Public Intoxication

Iowa Public Intoxication

Iowa Code section 123.46 prohibits an individual from being intoxicated, or simulating intoxication in a public place. There are two elements of Public Intoxication that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt at trial:

  1. The defendant was intoxicated; OR
  2. The defendant simulated that he/she was intoxicated; and
  3. In a public place.
Intoxication

In Iowa an individual is “intoxicated” when by drinking liquor and/or beer, one or more of the following is true:

  1. His reason or mental ability has been affected;
  2. His judgment is impaired;
  3. His emotions are visibly excited;
  4. He has, to any extent, lost control of bodily actions or motions.
Public Place

A “public place” is defined as “any place, building, or conveyance to which the public has or is permitted access.” Included as “public places” are:

  • Public streets, alleyways, and parking lots
  • Steps and common hallways of apartment buildings
  • Dormitories
  • Bars and restaurants
  • Stadiums, event centers etc.

*Generally speaking any place open to the general public constitutes a “public place.”

Not included as “public places” are:

  • Private vehicles (not public transportation)
  • Decks or porches to residence
  • Inside a person’s apartment
  • On private land

Expungement - Erasing a Criminal Record

Expungement of Prior Offenses – Public Intoxication convictions are the only criminal offense in the State of Iowa that can be expunged from an individual’s criminal record. In order to have the conviction expunged, the individual must go at least two years after the conviction without being convicted of anything other than simple traffic offenses. The individual must then petition the court to expunge the conviction and if the individual qualifies the judge is required by law to issue the order granting the expungement.

Criminal Penalties

First Offense

Simple Misdemeanor. A maximum jail sentence of up to 30 days; fine of up to $625, but not less than $65 plus 32% surcharge and court costs.

Second Offense

Serious Misdemeanor. A maximum jail sentence of up to one year in jail; fine of up to $1,875, but not less than $315 plus 32% surcharge and court costs.

Third or Subsequent Offense

Aggravated Misdemeanor. A maximum of up to two years imprisonment or one year in jail; fine of up to $6,250, but not less than $625 plus 32% surcharge and court costs.

Rights

The 5th Amendment – At no time can you be required to be a witness against yourself. You do not have to answer questions from police officers that could incriminate you. You do not have to answer if asked if you have had anything to drink. Your refusal to answer cannot be used against you.

Right to an Attorney

You have a statutory right to call, consult, and see an attorney or family member once a police officer has restrained your liberty. You are permitted a reasonable number of phone calls to secure an attorney. You also have the right to see and consult with an attorney in private at the jail.

Right to Refuse Breath Test

Preliminary Breath Test – You do not have to take this test. Despite this being an unreliable instrument, the results can be used against you in court for public intoxication. There are no legal adverse effects to refusing this test.

Right to Independent Test

Once you have been arrested for Public Intoxication the officer has a duty to inform you that you may request an independent chemical test to be administered at your own expense.

NOTE:

An officer may not order you into public and then arrest you for public intoxication. The law requires that you voluntarily put yourself in a public place; a police officer’s order to exit a private place does not warrant a charge of public intoxication.

Under/Over Legal Age

The above laws cover situations in which the alleged drunken driver is over the legal drinking age. For information about laws governing people who are under the legal drinking age (minors), please see Minors in Possession.

Minor in Possession of Alcohol

Any person under the age of twenty-one (21) is prohibited from possessing alcohol and everyone is prohibited from providing alcohol to any individual who is under age.  This offense is often known as an MIP (minor in possession) or PAULA (possession of alcohol under the legal age).  What consitututes “possession” is where much of the litigation surrounding this offense occurs and the State bears the burden of proving that the underage individual “possessed” the alcohol.  Questions often arise, and the State often is unable to prove possession when the charges stem from an underage party or other scenario where other minors have access to the same alcohol.  Iowa law does allow an underage individual to consume alcohol “in a private home and with the knowledge, presence, and consent of the parent or guardian.”

Violations for being a minor in possession of alcohol are classified as simple misdemeanors but have increasing penalties for each subsequent offense.  A first offense is punishable as a simple fine.  A second offense is punishable by a $500 fine and be required to complete a substance abuse evaluation or face suspension of driving privileges for up to one year.  A third offense is punishable by a $500 fine and loss of driving privileges for up to one year.  In addition to a fine and loss of license, a person convicted of MIP may also have consequences imposed through their school system.

However, all is not lost if you or someone you know has been convicted of a minor in possession of alcohol charge because the law provides the ability to expunge the charge from the persons record so long as two years has passed from the conviction date without any further tickets or arrests other than simple misdemeanor traffic tickets.  If you or someone you know has been charged with or convicted of MIP or a PAULA, it would beneficial to contact an attorney at GRL Law to see what we can do for you!

Theft/Embezzlement

Theft - Embezzlement - Larceny

The crime of theft is considered a “crime of dishonesty” and a “crime or moral turpitude.” The offense ranges from a simple misdemeanor to a Class C Felony depending upon the facts and circumstances of each case. Because theft qualifies a “crime of dishonesty” and a “crime of moral turpitude”, a conviction for any level of theft can have long lasting if not permanent adverse consequences to the individual convicted.

Effects on Employment

Most employers will not permit an employee convicted of theft to remain on their work force, and if a theft conviction appears on an individual’s background check, employment will often times be denied. In the State of Iowa, there is no way to expunge a conviction once it is entered on an individual’s record so ensuring that a lapse of judgment or childish mistake does not become embedded on ones record is essential. If charged with any degree of theft, the assistance of aqualified criminal defense lawyer is a necessity. Whether it is a complex embezzlement case or as simple as taking clothing from a department store (simply larceny, also known as shoplifting), the consequences are just as permanent.

Know your rights. exercise your rights. preserve your freedom.

The general crime of theft can be alleged to have been committed in a number of different ways in the State of Iowa. There is Theft By Taking, what many would describe as “stealing”; Theft by misappropriation, often times referred to as “embezzlement”; Theft by deception, commonly referred to as “cons”; and receipt or control over stolen property.

Elements of Crime of Theft

The basic elements that are fundamental to any criminal charge of theft include the taking or maintaining possession of the property of another, and the intent to deprive the rightful owner of its use or benefit or using the property for ones own benefit contrary to the rights of the true owner. The level of the offense is almost completely dependent upon the value of the property taken or the amount of money misappropriated.

Degrees of Theft

The degrees of Theft are as follows:

First Degree:  Value exceeds $10,000 or the property was taken from the person of another; or the property was looted – Class C Felony

Second Degree:  Value exceeds $1,000 but is less than $10,000 or the theft of a vehicle not valued at more than $10,000 – Class D Felony

Third Degree:  Value exceeds $500 but is less than $1,000 or the defendant has two prior convictions for theft – Aggravated Misdemeanor

Fourth Degree:  Value exceeds $200 but is less than $500 – Serious Misdemeanor

Fifth Degree:  Value is $200 or less – Simple Misdemeanor

Assault

What is Assault in Iowa?

There are five ways under the law that an assault can be committed:

  1. By committing an act intended to cause pain or injury to another coupled with the apparent ability to do it;
  2. By committing an act that is intended to result in physical contact that will be insulting or offensive to another;
  3. Committing an act intended to place another in fear of immediate physical contact that will be painful, injurious, insulting or offensive coupled with the apparent ability;
  4. Intentionally pointing a firearm at another; or
  5. Intentionally displaying a dangerous weapon to another in a threatening manner.

There are multiple types and levels of assaults

Simple Assault

Committing an act that was either intended to cause pain or injury to another, or to result in physical contact that would be insulting or offensive to another, or was meant to place another in fear of immediate physical contact that would be painful, injurious, insulting or offensive; coupled with the apparent ability to do the act. A simple assault is a simple misdemeanor; punishment includes a fine ranging from $65 to $625 and up to thirty days in jail.

Assault Causing Bodily Injury or Mental Illness

Any assault as previously defined which results in a bodily injury. Bodily injury is defined as physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition. Assault causing bodily injury or mental illness is a serious misdemeanor; punishment includes imposition of a fine ranging from $315 to $1,875 and/or imprisonment for up to one year.

Assault With Intent to Inflict Serious Injury

An assault with the specific intent to either: cause an injury creating a substantial risk of death, serious permanent disfigurement, a protracted loss of a bodily function, or cause a disabling mental illness. Assault with intent to inflict serious injury is an aggravated misdemeanor; punishment includes a fine ranging from $625 to $6,250 and up to two years in prison.

Assault with a Dangerous Weapon

The term dangerous weapon is very broad and includes: any device or instrument designed primarily for use in inflicting death or injury, and when used in its designated manner is capable of inflicting death; or any sort of instrument or device actually used in such a way as to indicate the user intended to inflict death or serious injury, and when so used is capable of inflicting death. Assault with a dangerous weapon is an aggravated misdemeanor; punishment includes a fine ranging from $625 to $6,250 and up to two years in prison.

Assault Causing Serious Injury

An assault which results in injury creating a substantial risk of death, serious permanent disfigurement, a protracted loss of a bodily function, or cause a disabling mental illness. Assault Causing Serious Injury is a Class D Felony; punishment includes a fine ranging from $750 to $7500 and a term not to exceed 5 years in prison. Assault Causing Serious Injury is a forcible felony, which requires the Court to impose a prison sentence.

Assault – Penetration of Genitalia

During the commission of an assault where an object is used to penetrate the genitalia or anus of another is a Class C Felony. It is a forcible felony that requires a prison sentence not to exceed 10 years with a mandatory minimum of 70%.

Assault While Participating in a Felony

An assault that is committed while the individual is participating in the commission of a felony. Participation in the offense can be at any point beginning with the first act done directly toward the commission of the offense up to the time of arrest or when they have withdrawn from the scene of the intended crime and eluded any pursuers. It makes no difference whether the person is successful or not in committing the offense. This is a forcible felony. There are two potential sentences. If a serious injury occurs during the commission of the offense it is a Class C Felony with a mandatory prison sentence not to exceed 10 years, with a minimum of 70%. If no serious injury results it is a Class D Felony and a mandatory prison term not to exceed 5 years shall be imposed, with a minimum of 70% being served.

Willful Injury

There are two versions of Willful Injury. The first requires the State to prove: 1) an assault, 2) an intent to commit a serious injury, and 3) a serious injury resulted. This version is a Class C Felony, and is also a forcible felony. The Court is required to impose a prison sentence not to exceed 10 years, with a minimum of 70% being served. The other Willful Injury requires the State to prove: 1) an assault, 2) intent to commit a serious injury, and 3) a bodily injury resulted. This version is a Class D Felony with a maximum prison sentence not to exceed 5 years and the imposition of a fine ranging from $750 to $7,500.

Domestic Abuse

A domestic abuse assault is an assault occurring between individuals who have a domestic or familial relationship and applies to the following:

  1. Family or household members residing together at the time of the assault.
  2. Separated spouses or persons divorced from each other not residing with one another at the time of the assault.
  3. Persons who are parents of the same minor child regardless of their marital or residential status.
  4. Family or household members who resided together within the past year but not at the time of the assault.
Domestic Abuse Assault

Simple misdemeanor, a fine ranging from $65 to $625, and up to 30 days in jail. There is a mandatory 2 days in jail unless a deferred judgment or suspended sentence is granted. The Court is also mandated to order batterers’ education treatment program.

Domestic Abuse Assault Causing Bodily Injury or Mental Illness

Serious misdemeanor, fine ranging from $315 to $1,875 and up to one year in jail. There is a mandatory 2 days in jail unless a deferred judgment or suspended sentence is granted. The Court is also mandated to order batterers’ education treatment program.

Domestic Abuse Assault With Intent to Inflict Serious Injury

Aggravated misdemeanor, a fine ranging from $625 to $6,250 and up to two years in prison. There is a mandatory 2 days in jail unless a deferred judgment or suspended sentence is granted. The Court is also mandated to order batterers’ education treatment program.

Domestic Abuse Assault with a Dangerous Weapon

Aggravated misdemeanor, a fine ranging from $625 to $6,250 and up to two years in prison. There is a mandatory 2 days in jail unless a deferred judgment or suspended sentence is granted. The Court is also mandated to order batterers’ education treatment program.

Sexual Abuse/Rape

Sexual assault, or sexual abuse in the State of Iowa, can generally be describe as a sex act between persons performed either against the will of the other or without the other persons legal consent.

Degress of sexual assault

There are varying degrees of sexual assault which encompass all ranges of sexual offenses from misdemeanor sexual abuse to felony sex assault and what many consider to be rape. The degree of offense and corresponding sentence depends upon the alleged force used to perpetrate the offense, position of the alleged perpetrator to the alleged victim, injuries sustained by the alleged victim, and the age of both the alleged perpetrator and alleged victim.

Sexual Abuse Registry

In the State of Iowa all sexual assault convictions require placement on the sex abuse registry and those involving minors require compliance with Iowa’s 2000 foot residency restriction.

Lifetime Parole Possible

Additionally, certain felony sex assaults require special parole periods where the convicted offender is on parole for the remainder of their life, and when second offenses are involved, special sentencing requirements may impose a life sentence where a first offense for the same sexual assault may only require an indeterminate term of imprisonment. Some offenders may also be subject to civil commitment as a sexually violent predator even after the completion of the prison sentence.

Sexual Abuse Definitions

DEFINITIONS

“Sex Act” is sexual contact between two or more persons by any of the following:

  • Penetration of the penis into the vagina or anus
  • Contact between mouth and genitalia
  • Contact between genitalia of one person and the genitalia or anus of another
  • Contact between the finger or hand of one person and the genitalia or anus of another
  • Ejaculation onto another person
  • Use of artificial sex organs or substitutes in contact with the genitalia or anus

“Sexual abuse” is any sex act between persons when the act is performed in any of the following circumstances:

  • The act is done by force or against the will of the other
  • If the consent or acquiescence of the other is procured by threats of violence toward any person
  • If the act is done while the other is under the influence of a drug inducing sleep or is otherwise in a state of unconsciousness
  • The other person is suffering from a mental defect or incapacity which precludes the ability to consent, or if the other person lacks the mental capacity to know the right and wrong of conduct in sexual matters
  • The other person is a child (under the age of 16)

“Incapacitated” means a person is disabled or deprived of ability as follows:

  • “Mentally incapacitated” which is defined as a person who is temporarily incapable of apprising or controlling the person’s own conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic, or intoxicating substance.
  • “Physically helpless” which is defined as a person who is unable to communicate an unwillingness to act because the person is unconscious, asleep, or is otherwise physically limited.
  • “Physically incapacitated” which is defined as a person who has a bodily impairment or handicap that substantially limits the person’s ability to resist or flee.

Sexting Offenses

DISSEMINATION AND EXHIBITION OF OBSCENE MATERIALS TO MINORS

It is illegal for any person (including other minors), other than the parent or guardian of the minor, to knowingly disseminate or exhibit obscene material to a minor, including the exhibition of obscene material so that it can be observed by a minor on or off the premises where it is displayed.  This is a serious misdemeanor, punishable by up to one-year in jail.  This offense also subjects the person to 10 years on the sex offender registry.

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF A MINOR

It is unlawful to employ, use, persuade, induce, entice, coerce, solicit, knowingly permit, or otherwise cause or attempt to cause a minor to engage in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of a prohibited sexual act.  A person must know, or have reason to know, or intend that the act or simulated acts may be photographed, filmed, or otherwise preserved in a visual depiction.  A conviction of this offense is a class “C” felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.  The court may also assess a fine of not more than $50,000 for each offense in addition to any other authorized sentence.  Conviction of this offense also subjects the individual to a lifetime special sentence parole to commence at the completion of the sentence imposed.  This offense also requires 10 years on the sex offender registry.

It is unlawful to knowingly promote any material visually depicting a live performance of a minor engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of a prohibited sexual act.  A conviction of this offense is a class “D” felony.  The court may assess a fine of not more than $25,000 for each offense under this subsection in addition to any other authorized sentence.  Conviction of this offense also subjects the individual to a 10-year special sentence parole to commence at the completion of the sentence imposed.  This offense also requires 10 years on the sex offender registry.

It is unlawful to knowingly purchase or possess a visual depiction of a minor engaging in a prohibited sexual act or the simulation of a prohibited sexual act.  A person convicted as a first offense is guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor, punishable by up to 2 years in prison.  Conviction of this offense also subjects the individual to a 10-year special sentence parole to commence at the completion of the sentence imposed.  This offense also requires 10 years on the sex offender registry.  A second or subsequent conviction of this offense is a class “D” felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.  A second or subsequent conviction also subject the individual to a 10-year special sentence parole, and lifetime on the sex offender registry.

Sexual Abuse 1st, 2nd and 3rd Degree

1st Degree Sexual Assault

Sex Abuse in the First Degree:  When in the course of committing sexual abuse, the person causes another serious injury.

Serious injury includes:

  • Disabling mental illness;
  • Bodily injury which does any of the following:
  • Creates a substantial risk of death;
  • Causes serious permanent disfigurement;
  • Causes protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
  • Injury to a child that requires surgical repair and necessitates the administration of general anesthesia.

Penalty:  First Degree Sex Abuse is a Class A Felony requiring life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

2nd Degree Sexual Assault

Sex Abuse in the Second Degree: Four Separate Alternatives

  • Commits sex act while displaying a dangerous weapon in a threatening manner;
    • Dangerous weapon is “any instrument or device of any sort whatsoever which is actually used in such a manner as to indicate that the defendant intends to inflict death or serious injury upon another, AND which when used is capable of inflicting death upon a human.  This includes among other things, any offensive weapon such as a firearm, knife having a blade exceeding five inches, or razor.
  • Use or threatening to use force that would create a substantial risk of death to any person;
    • Actual injury is not necessary just a real danger of death or serious injury.
  • Victim under the age of 12; or
    • Knowledge of age is completely irrelevant.
  • Aiding and abetting another in committing sexual assault through force or against the will of the victim.

Penalty:  Sex Abuse in the Second Degree is a Class B forcible felony requiring mandatory prison sentence of 25 years.  It is also subject to the 70% rule for certain forcible felonies meaning that the individual must serve 70% of his/her time before even being eligible for parole.

Also carries with it the “special sentence” requirement which places the individual in the custody of the Director of the Iowa Department of Corrections for the rest of his/her life and in essence the individual is on lifetime parole which can be revoked and a 2 year term of imprisonment for a violation may be imposed for a first offense and 5 years for each subsequent offense.
Second Offense for Sexual Assault 2nd or 3rd Degree requires life imprisonment.

3rd Degree Sexual Assault

Sex Abuse in the Third Degree: Is divided into two subsections:

  • Commits a sex act against another by force or against the will not rising to the level of First or Second Degree; and
  • Alleged victim is incapable of consent or there is a special relationship between the defendant and alleged victim.  This subsection is broken down into 6 additional subsections:
    • Alleged victim is suffering from a mental defect or incapacity which precludes the person from giving consent;
    • Alleged victim is 12 or 13 years of age;
    • Alleged victim is 14 or 15 and the defendant is a member of the same household;
    • Alleged victim is 14 or 15 and the defendant is related by blood or affinity to the 4th degree;
    • Alleged victim is 14 or 15 and the defendant is in a position of authority and uses it to coerce the participants submission; or
    • Alleged victim is 14 or 15 and the defendant is 4 or more years older than the alleged victim.

Penalty:  Sex Abuse in the 3rd Degree is a Class C Felony carrying with it a 10 year term of imprisonment as it is a forcible felony.  However, two theories of Sex Abuse in the 3rd Degree are not forcible felonies and the court can grant probation.  These include:

  • Sexual abuse between spouses; or
  • If the conviction for felony sexual assault involves an alleged victim that is 14 or 15 and the defendant is more than 5 years older and the “sexual assault” was not by force or against the will of the alleged victim.
  • Sexual Abuse in the 3rd Degree is also subject to the “special sentence” of lifetime parole.
  • A second offense for felony Sexual Abuse in the 3rd Degree requires life imprisonment.

Sexual Offenses Against Minors

LASCIVIOUS ACTS WITH A CHILD

It is illegal for anyone age 16 or older to perform any of the following acts with a child, either with or without consent, for the purposes of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of either of them, unless married to each other:

  • Fondle or touch the pubes or genitals of a child;
  • Permit or cause a child to fondle or touch the person’s genitals or pubes;
  • Cause the touching of the person’s genitals to any part of the body of a child.

Any person convicted of one of these acts is guilty of a class “C” felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.  An individual convicted of this offense is also subject to a lifetime special sentence parole which commences at the completion of the sentence imposed.  For purposes of the sex offender registry it is considered an “aggravated offense” to be convicted of either fondling or touching the pubes or genitals of a child or permitting or causing the child to fondle or touch the person’s genitals or pubes, which results in a lifetime registry.  A person convicted of touching their genitals to any part of the body of a child is subject to a 10-year registry.

It is also illegal for anyone age 16 or older to perform any of the following acts with a child, either with or without consent, for the purposes of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of either of them, unless married to each other:

  • Solicit a child to engage in a sex act or solicit a person to arrange a sex act with a child;
  • Inflict pain or discomfort upon a child or permit a child to inflict pain or discomfort on the person.

A person convicted of one of these acts is guilty of a class “D” felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.  An individual convicted of this offense is also subject to a 10-year special sentence parole which commences at the completion of the sentence imposed.  A conviction for one of these offenses also carries placement on the sex offender registry for a period of 10 years.

INDECENT CONTACT WITH A CHILD

It is illegal for anyone age 18 or older to perform any of the following acts with a child, who is not their spouse, with or without the child’s consent, for the purposes of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of either of them:

  • Fondle or touch the inner thigh, groin, buttock, anus, or breast of the child;
  • Touch the clothing covering the immediate areas of the inner thigh, groin, buttock, anus, or breast of the child;
  • Solicit or permit a child to fondle or touch the inner thigh, groin, buttock, anus, or breast of the person;
  • Solicit a child to engage in:
    • Fondling or touching the pubes or genitals of a child;
    • Permitting or causing a child to fondle or touch the person’s genitals or pubes;
    • Inflicting pain or discomfort upon a child or permitting a child to inflict pain or discomfort on the person.

A person convicted of one of these acts is guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor, punishable by up to 2 years in prison.  Additionally, a conviction of this offense subjects the individual to a 10-year special sentence parole which commences at the completion of the sentence imposed.  A conviction for one of these offenses also carries placement on the sex offender registry for a period of 10 years.

This offense also applies to a person age 16 or 17 who commits any of the acts upon a child who is at least 5 years younger.  Juvenile court has jurisdiction over these cases.  The juvenile court has discretion in terms of sentencing and whether to either waive, modify, or suspend the requirement to register as a sex offender.

LASCIVIOUS CONDUCT WITH A MINOR

It is illegal for a person over the age of 18 who is in a position of authority over a minor to force, persuade, or coerce a minor, with or without consent, to disrobe or partially disrobe for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of either of them.

A conviction for this offense is a serious misdemeanor, punishable by up to one-year in jail. Additionally, a conviction of this offense subjects the individual to a 10-year special sentence parole which commences at the completion of the sentence imposed. A conviction for one of these offenses also carries placement on the sex offender registry for a period of 10 years.

ENTICING A MINOR

A person without authority and with the intent to commit sexual abuse or sexual exploitation upon a minor under the age of 13, entices or attempts to entice a person reasonably believed to be under the age of 13. A conviction of this offense is a class “C” felony and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. This offense also subjects the person to 10 years on the sex offender registry.

A person without authority and with the intent to commit an illegal sex act or sexual exploitation upon a minor under the age of 16, entices or attempts to entice a person reasonably believed to be under the age of 16. A conviction of this offense is a class “D” felony and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. This offense also subjects the person to 10 years on the sex offender registry.

A person without authority and with the intent to commit an illegal act upon a minor under the age of 16, entices or attempts to entice a person reasonably believed to be under the age of 16. A conviction of this offense is a class “D” felony and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. This offense also subjects the person to 10 years on the sex offender registry if the illegal act involves an intent to commit sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, sexual contact, or sexual conduct directed towards a minor.

Invasion of Privacy and Indecent Exposure

INVASION OF PRIVACY

It is illegal for a person to knowingly view, photograph, or film another person, for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person, if all of the following apply:

  • The other person does not consent or is unable to consent to being viewed, photographed or filmed;
  • The other person is in a state of full or partial nudity;
  • The other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy while in a state of full or partial nudity.

Full or partial nudity means the showing of any part of the human genitals or pubic area or buttocks, or any part of the nipple of the breast of a female, with less than fully opaque covering.

A person convicted of this offense commits an aggravated misdemeanor, punishable by up to 2 years in prison.  A conviction of this offense subjects the individual to a 10-year special sentence parole which commences at the completion of the sentence imposed.  A conviction for one of these offenses also carries placement on the sex offender registry for a period of 10 years.

INDECENT EXPOSURE

It is illegal for a person to expose their genitals or pubes to another, not the person’s spouse, or to commit a sex act in the presence of or view of a third person, if:

  • The person does so to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either party; and
  • The person knows or reasonably should know that the act is offensive to the viewer.

A person convicted of this offense commits a serious misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail.  A conviction of this offense subjects the individual to a 10-year special sentence parole which commences at the completion of the sentence imposed.  A conviction for one of these offenses also carries placement on the sex offender registry for a period of 10 years.