A criminal conviction can make your life difficult even after you have served your sentence. Criminal records Iowa residents might be troubled by are usually the result of a misdemeanor or felony conviction. A criminal record can make it difficult to get a job or to tent an apartment. Employers and landlords might be reluctant to hire or rent to someone with a criminal record even though state law prohibits using a criminal conviction as the sole determining factor.
Getting rid of a criminal record
Getting rid of a criminal record can be difficult in Iowa because public policy in the state favors public access to criminal court records in cases involving adults. State law permits a criminal record to be expunged provided the case ended in a dismissal or an acquittal.In either of those circumstances, you can request that the record of your arrest and the filing of the criminal charges be removed from public access.
A request to have your records expunged can be made under the following conditions:
- At least six months have passed since your case was dismissed or you were acquitted after a trial
- You cannot owe any court costs or fees related to the case
- Your acquittal or dismissal was not the result of an insanity defense
- You were not ruled to be incompetent to stand trial
Although your records can be expunged if you meet these conditions, your criminal case does not disappear from all records maintained by the state. An expunged record can be used to increase the level of future criminal charges filed against you or to increase the severity of the punishment in future cases if you are convicted of them.
Deferred judgments and criminal records
Under certain circumstances, a criminal case might end in a deferred judgment. Technically, a deferred judgment is not the same as a conviction because it does not involve a plea or finding of guilt. As long as you satisfy the conditions a judge sets for the deferment, you could end up without a criminal conviction and be eligible to have your record expunged.
A pardon granted by the governor
If you are convicted of committing a crime, you would not be eligible for expungement of your criminal record. Criminal records Iowa residents cannot remove from public access might be eligible for a pardon by the governor. The gives the governor the power to issue a pardon to someone who has been convicted of violating the state's criminal laws.
Pardons do not hide or expunge your criminal record. A pardon is noted in the court records that are available to the public and releases you from the balance, if any, of your sentence.
Applications to the governor for a pardon or a request for expungement of your criminal record require compliance with specific procedures. Failing to follow those procedures could harm your chances of success, so consulting with an attorney who is familiar with criminal records Iowa residents might have can be helpful.