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Iowa Expungement Laws

Just because you consider yourself a law abiding citizen, doesn't mean you can't get into trouble with the law. Technically, any person can be arrested by an officer of the law for any crime at any time. The issue then becomes whether the arrest was legitimate or warranted. In some extreme cases, identity theft has lead to mistaken arrests. You'll be able to sort out the matter once you can prove you're really who you say you are, but by that point the damage will be done. You will have an arrest record.

Then there is the case of having one too many at the local pub. You could be arrested for public intoxication or driving under the influence. Imagine years later the embarrassment you might have to face when you go for a new job and have to go through a background check. One mistaken blotch on your record could ruin your career.

The Iowa courts allow for the expungement of criminal records in certain circumstances. That eligibility depends a lot on the specifics of the crime itself. If you were arrested in Iowa but the charges were ultimately dropped, you can be granted an expungement. If the arrest leads to a trial and you are found to be innocent of the charges you can still apply for an expungement of the records.

When the charge is public intoxication or a first time DUI offense, then you will have to wait at least two years before filing for a petition. In those two years, you need to maintain a clean record in order for the Iowa courts to grant your petition. If you were involved in a case that resulted in any kind of physical harm against another person then the chances of your getting an expungement are diminished.

When your records are expunged in Iowa, the criminal history documents pertaining to your cased will be erased from the public view. The exception would be your fingerprints. These are kept on file, but can't be accessed by the public. A judge might not expunge your records, but seal them from public view. This means access to them can only be gained with a court order. A background check wouldn't reveal the contents.

If you find yourself in need of filing an expungement petition it will be best to do this with the counsel of a qualified lawyer. Although this isn't an overly complicated process, it is always best to work with someone who has experience in the Iowa court system.

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