Iowa Public Intoxication Expungement In a Nutshell

Public Intoxication ExpungementUnder Iowa Code section 123.46, it’s against the law to be intoxicated, or simulate intoxication, while in a public place.

To establish public intoxication, the State of Iowa bears the burden of proving two elements, each beyond a reasonable doubt: first, that the person was actually intoxicated or simulated intoxication, and second that the person was in a public place while demonstrating such behaviour.

The first element, intoxication, can be proved by showing the individual consumed liquor and/or beer, and as a result his or her mental ability/judgement was impaired or affected, emotions were visibly excited, or lost control of bodily actions or motions to some extent.

The second element, “public place,” is, generally speaking, any place open to the general public, including public streets, alleys, parking lots, common areas of apartment buildings (such as lobbies and stairwells), stadiums, public transportation (buses), bars and restaurants. Areas that might not constitute public places include: private vehicles, inside a person’s home, on the deck or porch of one’s home, or on private land. Note that the law requires that you voluntarily put yourself in a public place. As a result, obeying a police officer’s order to leave private property may not justify a charge of public intoxication.

Iowa law allows the expungement, or destruction, of public intoxication convictions. To qualify, the individual must remain conviction-free (not counting simple traffic violations) for at least two years after the public intoxication conviction. At that time, the individual may file a petition requesting expungement with the court where the conviction occurred. The court may then issue an order granting the expungement of the public intoxication conviction.