What is expungement?
Expungement refers to the legal process of sealing or destroying criminal records, though states may use different terms for this process, such as expunction, judicial sealing, set aside, pardon, or clemency.
How do I know if I qualify?
Expungement qualifications vary by state and depend on the type of record to be expunged and the time since the arrest or final disposition of the case. Generally, non-conviction records (such as records of arrest, charges, or dismissed charges that never resulted in a conviction, as well as records of acquittal) qualify for expungement. Also, many misdemeanors and some felonies qualify for expungement. More specific information regarding your state can be found by taking the free eligibility check or clicking on your state.
How do I expunge my record?
The process typically involves determining your eligibility for expungement in the state where you were arrested or charged,
preparing a petition to expunge or seal your records,
processing service of your petition to the appropriate legal authorities, and
Can I represent myself?
Yes. Handling your own expungement can be relatively straightforward if you have the right information, make the appropriate filings, and process service on the correct parties. ExpungementHQ.com offers a risk-free automated expungement process for you to prepare, serve, and file your expungement petition with simple step-by-step instructions.
What does it cost?
Preparing your expungement documents through the no-risk automated expungement process costs $199. If your expungement is denied, we’ll give you a full refund, guaranteed. Hiring an attorney typically costs much more than this, typically starting at $500 and sometimes in the thousands of dollars. Either way, obtaining an expungement is an investment that can pay for itself many times over.
What can be expunged in Iowa?
Iowa law allows expungements of convictions for Possession of Alcohol Under the Legal Age (PAULA), Minor In Possession of Alcohol (MIP), and Public Intoxication, as well as juvenile delinquencies and cases that resulted in a deferred judgment.
What can’t be expunged in Iowa?
Iowa law does not allow expungement of misdemeanors or felonies unless they resulted in a deferred judgment or were for a PAULA or Public Intoxication or the charges were dropped or resulted in an acquittal.
What are the benefits?
According to a Stanford University report, receiving a record expungement resulted in an average increase in yearly income of $6,190–primarily due to better job opportunities and credit rating. Expunging your Iowa criminal record means erasing the record from the Iowa court file and public databases, lawfully keeping them out of view of employers, businesses, family, and friends.
I was told I couldn’t get something removed from my record. Is this correct?
There are a lot of rumors and myths about expungement. You can use the tools on this site to determine your own eligibility for expungement, or you can contact a qualified attorney to find out. Generally, Iowa law allows for expungement of records of public intoxication, possession of alcohol under the legal age (PAULA), minor in possession (MIP), juvenile records, and deferred judgments, as well as juvenile delinquencies.
Why should I get an expungement now?
If your criminal record is holding you back from a higher paying job, a better education, clearing a background check, better housing, or better credit, then legally expunging your Iowa criminal records now may open the doors to a better future and higher income.
What is the process for getting an expungement?
The process involves [a] identifying your eligibility to expunge your Iowa criminal records, [b] obtaining the necessary legal documentation to demonstrate your entitlement to expunge your Iowa criminal records, [c] preparation and filing of a legal petition with notice to the proper parties demanding expungement, and [d] obtaining a court order legally expunging your Iowa criminal record.
Do the records just disappear?
Yes, the records disappear (i.e., are expunged) from public view and are sealed by the judicial administrator in data bases which the public cannot access. The records cannot be accessed for general law enforcement or civil use. You may waive your right to privacy for expunged deferred judgments.
How long does it take to expunge my Iowa criminal records?
The time it takes to expunge your Iowa criminal record depends on the nature of the matter being expunged and how busy the Court’s docket is. The process may take a few weeks or several months, depending on the circumstances. The sooner you determine whether your Iowa criminal record can be expunged, the sooner you can begin the process of clearing your record.
What is the wait period to expunge an Iowa public intoxication?
Can convictions for underage possession of alcohol be expunged?
Yes. Under a new Iowa law, convictions for underage alcohol possession can be expunged after two years if no other criminal convictions (other than traffic tickets) occurred during that time.
Can Iowa juvenile records be expunged?
Yes. Iowa allows for the expungement of juvenile records after the applicant has turned 21 as long as the applicant was not convicted or plead guilty to a serious misdemeanor or felony between the ages of 18 and 21. Custody or adjudication data after the juvenile has reached twenty-one years of age, unless the juvenile was convicted of or pled guilty to a serious or aggravated misdemeanor or felony between age eighteen and age twenty-one. Fingerprint cards received that are used to establish a criminal history data record shall be retained in the automated fingerprint identification system when the criminal history data record is expunged. Iowa Statutes § 692.17.
Can I expunge a deferred judgment on my Iowa OWI?
Yes, if [a] you’ve completed probation, and [b] paid your fees.
If I don’t qualify yet for an expungement, can you remind me when I do?
Yes. You can sign up for a free email or text reminder and we will contact you on the date your record is eligible for expungement so you can proceed with your expungement immediately.
Who is eligible for a deferred judgment on Iowa OWIs?
You may be eligible for a deferred judgment on an Iowa OWI if [a] your blood alcohol content did not exceed .15, [b] you did not have a prior OWI (whether deferred judgment or not), [c] you did not refuse to consent to testing, and [d] your OWI did not result in bodily injury to another person.
Can my criminal records resulting in acquittal or dismissal be expunged?
Yes! As of January 1, 2016, a new law took effect that allows qualifying individuals to expunge charges that were dismissed or resulted in acquittal.
Can my criminal records resulting in reversal on appeal of a conviction be expunged?
This appears to be an open question under Iowa law; you should contact an attorney to discuss this possibility.
Can my voluntary submission of a DNA sample be expunged?
Yes. Voluntarily submitted DNA samples pursuant to section 81.3, subsection 3, paragraph “b”, shall expunge all of the DNA records and identifiable information of the person in the DNA database and DNA data bank. Iowa Statutes § 81.9.
What judgments cannot be deferred?
a. Defendants who have a prior felony conviction.
b. Defendants who have already received two or more deferred judgments anywhere in the US.
c. Defendants who received deferred judgment on a felony conviction within 5 years before commission of the new offense.
d. Assault against a peace officer.
e. Lascivious acts with a child.
f. Judgments against a corporation.
g. OWIs where defendant has a prior OWI conviction or the person’s driver’s license has been revoked and [a] defendant’s blood alcohol content exceeded .15, [b] defendant had a prior OWI (whether deferred judgment or not), [c] defendant refused to consent to testing, or [d] defendant’s OWI resulted in bodily injury to another person.
h. Judgments for domestic abuse assault where defendant was previously granted a deferred judgment for domestic abuse assault.
i. The offense is a conviction for or plea of guilty to a no-contact order.
j. The offense is a homicide or serious injury by vehicle.
k. The offense is manufacturing or possessing methamphetamines.
l. The offense is operating a motorboat or sailboat while intoxicated.
What is the difference between having my criminal record expunged and having it sealed?
Both expunging sealing your criminal record will remove that record from public view. However, if your record is sealed and not expunged, it may still be visible to law enforcement such as a district attorney, state’s attorney, or attorney general to use against you in sentencing if you commit a similar offense.