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Can I expunge my misdemeanor conviction?

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2020 | Firm News

If you have had a brush with the law, it can get nasty for your future if the courts find you guilty. Misdemeanor convictions can affect your ability to find housing, get a job or apply to school. 

Luckily, the Iowa legislature has recently passed a law that allows expungement of certain misdemeanor offenses. 

What is the new Iowa expungement law? 

Iowa Code section 901C.3 came into effect in July 2019. If you meet specific criteria, you may apply to have your conviction record expunged. If you have several misdemeanor convictions that all stem from a single event, you may apply to have them all expunged. Some of the requirements are: 

  • You must wait at least eight years after your conviction date to apply 
  • You must pay all of your assessed or court-ordered financial debts related to your conviction 
  • You may not have more than one deferred judgment 
  • You may not have any open criminal charges 

Keep in mind, however, that you may only apply one time to have a record expunged. 

Which offenses are not eligible for expungement? 

You should note that you cannot expunge some misdemeanor offenses, notably: 

  • Harassment and assault charges, including stalking, domestic abuse and sexual assault 
  • Alcohol- or drug-related charges, including public consumption, underage possession or operating a vehicle while intoxicated 
  • Weapons or rioting charges 
  • Judicial process charges, including misuse of public records, obstruction and interference 

If you have a conviction for any of the above, plus others, you are not eligible to expunge those records. 

What happens after an expungement? 

According to FindLaw, an expungement means publicly accessible records will no longer show your conviction. You are no longer legally required to include your misdemeanor when you apply for a job or housing. No one who searches a public criminal database will find your history related to that arrest. 

You also might not have to disclose the record to the authorities without cause; however, it does remain a buried part of your criminal record. Law enforcement can still view your history under certain circumstances, and it may haunt you in a future arrest.