Certain misdemeanor offenses in Iowa can now be expunged from a person’s record. As part of the Criminal Justice Reform bill passed by the legislature this session and signed into law in May, there have been updates to the state’s criminal penalties. Two years after a conviction, a person can have local traffic violations or simple misdemeanor violations including public intoxication or consumption violations taken off their record. After eight years of a conviction, a person can have other misdemeanors expunged. State Senator Kevin Kinney says having these expunged can help people who have worked to improve their lives be considered for jobs or rental agreements, “The thing that we were hearing is that one: there’s a lot of people that do not want these on their records for jobs. And a lot of these people have made a mistake and they’re trying to get these expunged. There is some downside to it, it does take eight years to get this expunged and a lot of times there are databases in which companies that mind, they find out who has been arrested and so forth would show up. But the courts and so forth would have it expunged from your record.”
To have something expunged, a person needs to apply at the county in which the offense happened. To qualify, a defendant must not have pending criminal charges or been granted two deferred judgments previously. The person must have paid all court costs and fees. There are some misdemeanors that will not be expunged, some of which are a conviction for dependent adult abuse, a sex offense, involuntary manslaughter, harassment, stalking, trespass, or removal of an officer’s communication control device.