In Iowa, a simple misdemeanor is the least serious type of misdemeanor. A serious or aggravated misdemeanor comes with harsher penalties. Iowa Code section 701.8. provides that when an act is declared to be a public offense, crime, or misdemeanor, but no other designation is given, the act is classified as a simple misdemeanor.
If you are charged with a simple misdemeanor, the criminal case will proceed to trial if you do not enter a plea, the prosecutor does not drop the charges, or the charges are not dismissed by the court. In more serious types of cases, under Iowa R.Cr.P. 2.18(1), a person is entitled to a jury trial before 12 jurors. In a trial for a simple misdemeanor, however, under Iowa R.Cr.P. 2.67(6) the jury is usually limited to only six jurors.
To be convicted at trial, the jury must be unanimous in its verdict. A person may also decide to waive their right to a jury trial and proceed with a trial before a judge. A trial before the judge is often called a “bench trial.” If you go to trial and are found guilty, you have the right to appeal the judgment and sentence during a direct appeal. If you do not win the direct appeal, you also have the right to pursue certain types of motions for post-conviction relief.
Penalties for a Simple Misdemeanor
A simple misdemeanor comes with a fine of at least $65 but not more than $625. If convicted of a simple misdemeanor, the court can also impose imprisonment for up to 30 days in the county jail may be ordered in addition to or instead of the fine.
Uniform Bond Schedule for a Simple Misdemeanor
Iowa law provides that a person arrested for a simple misdemeanor may be released pending an initial appearance if the release is pursuant to pre-trial release procedures or a bond schedule approved by the judicial council. The uniform bond schedule sets the bond for a simple misdemeanor at $300 for non-scheduled violations.
Finding an Attorney for Simple Misdemeanors in Iowa
If you were charged with any type of misdemeanor, including an aggravated misdemeanor, serious misdemeanor, or simple misdemeanor, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. n Des Moines, Iowa.
A criminal defense attorney can help you decide whether motions to dismiss the charges should be filed, whether you should enter a plea after negotiating the best possible plea deal, or whether you should proceed to trial before a judge or jury.