Expungement is a process by which a person's criminal record is taken out of public records if an individual is eligible to do so. The eligibility of successfully expunging a criminal record in Iowa largely depends on the nature of the crime. The process involves filling out expungement forms to petition the court which first arrested the individual. The court then evaluates the petition to determine if there is any reason that the public may be harmed from taking the criminal record away from public reach.
If the court decides that destroying the criminal record will pose no harm, the expungement is granted. In some cases, the judge may decide to seal the record instead of expunging it. This means that the record is not destroyed, but rather "sealed" from public view.
When is a Person Likely to Receive a Successful Iowa Expungement?
An individual who has an arrest record is most likely to receive a successful Iowa expungement if he or she was arrested in Iowa, though charges were dropped, judgment was deferred, or if the individual was found innocent of the crime. In Iowa, even if a criminal arrest record is expunged, the State will still maintain the fingerprint data that was gathered from the individual.
Iowa, in particular, allows for the expungement of public intoxication convictions with the condition that the individual does not have a prior conviction. The person will have to wait two years before applying. A case involving physical intent to harm or injure another person will not be eligible for Iowa expungement.
What Does Expungement Involve in Iowa?
According to Iowa law, the criminal history data in computer mediums will not include the arrest data or adjudication data once a person has been acquitted or dismissed of all charges. This does not include fingerprints, however, as they are still maintained in the automated fingerprint identification system when the rest of the criminal data history is expunged from public records