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Probation in Iowa

After a judgment of conviction has been or may be entered, the court can sentence a person to probation. As provided in Iowa Code §907.1(5), the terms of probation require that a person is subject to supervision by correctional services or a judicial district department.

The court decides the conditions of probation, the length of probation, and the time of discharge from supervision. If a violation of probation has been established, the court may extend the period of probation for up to one year, including one year beyond the maximum period of probation.

The sentencing court maintains jurisdiction over a defendant’s probation which permits the defendant to file a motion to modify probation.


Length of Probation in Iowa

Except for felony cases that require a mandatory prison sentence, the court has discretion in felony cases to sentence a defendant to a minimum of two years or a maximum of five-years.

In misdemeanor cases, the court has the discretion to sentence a person to a minimum period of probation for one year or a maximum period of probation for two years.


Deferred Sentence in Iowa

During the initial consultation, many clients ask us about probation. Before agreeing to go on probation, it is important to understand the benefits of fighting for an outright dismissal. If you agree to probation and do not successfully complete all the special conditions, then the probation officer can allege that you violated probation and the judge can order you to return to court or issue an arrest warrant.

Under Iowa Code §907.3(1), in some cases, a judge is permitted to sentence a person to deferred judgment. When the judgment is deferred, the judgment is not entered and a sentence is not actually imposed before the person is placed on probation. 

A person receiving a deferred judgment is assessed a civil penalty of an amount not less than the amount of any criminal fine authorized by law for the offense.

After a deferred sentence, judgment is entered and the conviction is made part of the defendant’s record but the sentence is not actually imposed. Deferred judgment also means that the “conviction” is not made part of the defendant’s record if the defendant successfully completes the terms of probation.

The information related to the arrest still remains part of the person’s criminal history data even if probation is completed successfully. As explained in Iowa Code §692.2(1)(b)(4), that information related to the arrest may be disseminated subject to certain requirements and limitations.


Suspended Sentence

In the case of a suspended sentence under Iowa Code §907.3(3), the conviction is made part of the defendant’s record and the sentence is imposed, but service of the term of the sentence is suspended during the period of probation. 


If you have questions about a suspended sentence, deferred judgment, or probation, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. in Des Moines, Iowa. Call (515) 279-9700 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. 

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