A second chance at a clean record!
A conviction for any criminal offense or even the fact that a person was accused of committing a crime but was found not guilty, remains on their record for the rest of their life, unless action is taken to have it removed. Every time a person applies for a job or volunteers to assist with things like children athletic programs, their criminal history is checked. At best, upon the disclosure of an accusation or conviction, an embarrassing explanation is required. Other times applicants are passed over based solely on the fact that their background check reveals a criminal conviction or even the fact that they were accused of a crime that was later dismised. Have you ever looked yourself up on Iowa Courts Online? Are there things mistakes or false accusations that continue to haunt you?
We all make mistakes. Some mistakes stay with us longer than others. Good people are routinely convicted of criminal offenses due to momentary lapses in judgment or a wide array of other possible unfortunate circumstances. Other people are accused of crimes that they did not commit which are later dismissed or a judge or jury finds them not guilty. Mistakes on both sides of the criminal justice system are an unfortunate part of life. However, they do not necessarily have to follow you for the rest of your life.
Dismissed Charges or Not Guilty Verdicts.
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 didn’t commit.
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.
Public Intoxication and Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP/PAULA)
There are only two criminal convictions that may be erased (expunged) from a persons record after they have been found guilty. Iowa law provides that prior convictions for Public Intoxication and Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP/PAULA) may be expunged (completely removed from one’s record) if you meet the following qualifications:
- Convicted of Public Intoxication or Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP);
- Two years have passed from the date of your conviction; and
- You have not been convicted of another criminal offense in those two years.
NOTE: THIS ONLY APPLIES TO CONVICTIONS FOR PUBLIC INTOXICATION AND MINOR IN POSSESSION OF ALCOHOL. Other convictions such as Thefts are not eligible for expungement in the State of Iowa.
Call the lawyers at GRL Law today to see if you qualify to have your Possession of Alcohol Under the Legal Age (PAULA), Public Intoxication convictions or dismissed charges expunged. We never charge for your initial consultation.