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Misdemeanor Charges

Criminal offenses in Iowa are classified as misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors generally are less serious than felony offenses, which could potentially result in lengthy prison sentences. Misdemeanors are crimes that are punishable by up to one year in a local or county jail.

All public offenses that are not felonies are classified as misdemeanors. Misdemeanors in Iowa are classified as aggravated misdemeanors, serious misdemeanors, and simple misdemeanors. Aggravated misdemeanors are the most serious. Even a conviction for a misdemeanor can still have a significant impact on a person’s life and career.

Attorneys for Misdemeanors in Des Moines, Iowa

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Iowa, contact McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. The misdemeanor defense lawyers at the firm can represent you in all matters related to your case, and they can fight to have the charges reduced or dismissed. Your future is important, and they can help you protect it.

McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. represents clients across the Des Moines area, including those in Ankeny, Urbandale, Johnston, and anywhere in Polk County or Dallas County. The West Des Moines-based firm also defends clients across the state of Iowa.

Call (515) 279-9700 to schedule a free consultation today and learn more about your options.

Information About Misdemeanor Charges in Iowa

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Common Misdemeanor Offenses

Some of the most common misdemeanor offenses in Iowa include:

  • First OWI (serious misdemeanor)
  • Second OWI (aggravated misdemeanor)
  • Assault with no bodily harm (simple misdemeanor)
  • Assault with bodily harm (serious misdemeanor)
  • Disorderly conduct (simple misdemeanor)
  • First offense drug possession (serious misdemeanor)
  • Second offense drug possession (aggravated misdemeanor)
  • First offense domestic abuse assault (simple misdemeanor)
  • Second offense domestic abuse assault (serious misdemeanor)
  • Prostitution (aggravated misdemeanor)
  • Trespassing (simple misdemeanor)
  • Indecent exposure (aggravated misdemeanor)

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Penalties for Misdemeanors

In Iowa, misdemeanors can be punishable simply by a monetary fine, although there is also the possibility of a jail or prison term. Work release could be granted to those serving jail sentences. However, some statutes outline specific penalties for offenses, such as domestic assault or operating while intoxicated.

Generally, the penalties for misdemeanor level offenses include:

  • Aggravated Misdemeanor — Up to two years in prison or one year in jail, a fine between $500 and $5,000 or both
    • Under Iowa Code §903.1(2), the penalty for an aggravated misdemeanor is imprisonment not to exceed two years in a facility operated by the Department of Corrections and a fine of not less than $625 but not more than $6,250.35. the court may impose a sentence of confinement for a determinate term of one year or less to be served in the county jail.
    • In Iowa, a serious misdemeanor comes with a fine of not less than $315 but not more than $1,875. Imprisonment for up to one year in the county jail may also be ordered.
    • Where an act is declared to be a public offense, crime, or misdemeanor, but no other designation is given, the act is a simple misdemeanor by definition under Iowa Code section 701.8. Iowa Code. A simple misdemeanor comes with a fine of at least $65 but not more than $625. Imprisonment for up to 30 days in the county jail may be ordered in addition to or instead of the fine.

Iowa Code section 805.8 also creates a class of offenses known as “scheduled violations” (sometimes called “ordinance violations”). A scheduled violation is a violation of a city, county, or state ordinance or statute for which the applicable penalty is a specific fine amount. The fine amounts are listed in Iowa Code sections 805.8A, 805.8B, and 805.8C.

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Misdemeanor Expungement

Most states allow certain offenders to have their records sealed or expunged if they meet the established criteria. This typically applies to misdemeanor offenses that were not violent. In Iowa, expunging a criminal record is incredibly limited.

If a person was convicted of a crime in Iowa, his or her criminal record may qualify for expungement only if:

  • The offense was an eligible alcohol-related offense or
  • The offender obtained deferred judgment at the time of your conviction and completed probation.

For instance, if a person was convicted of public intoxication, he or she could have the simple misdemeanor expunged from his or her record. However, the process cannot begin until two years after the conviction.

The person’s criminal record must be clean during the two-year period, with the exception of minor traffic violations. The accused must petition the court for expungement of his or her past conviction. If the accused is found qualified and it is in the favor of the court, a judge will then issue by law that the petition be granted.

If a person obtains a deferred judgment at the time of his or her conviction, he or she also could be eligible. The court can defer judgment and place a defendant on probation, rather than imposing a sentence, in most misdemeanor cases.

If the defendant successfully completes probation, the defendant is discharged and no conviction is entered. The defendant may then petition to have the related record expunged. This would mean it would not be accessible to the general public.

Additional Resources

Iowa Laws for Misdemeanors – Visit the website of the Iowa Legislature to find all of the statutes listed in Chapter 903. Learn more about different types of misdemeanors prosecuted in Iowa. Find information on the maximum sentence for misdemeanors under Section 903.1 and reconsideration of the misdemeanant’s sentence under 903.2.

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Finding a Misdemeanor Defense Attorney in Polk County

Misdemeanor offenses may not seem serious, but a conviction still could have a significant impact on a person’s future. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Iowa, contact McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C..

The experienced criminal defense attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. have more than 40 years of combined experience, and they can put their knowledge and skill to work for you.

Call (515) 279-9700 today to schedule a free consultation.