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How to Get a Felony Off Your Record in Iowa

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A felony has a big impact on a person’s life and if you live in Iowa, you’ve come here trying to find out how to get the felony off your record.  Realize that with all felony records, there are three options you can take.  1) Expunge Your Record2) Seal Your Record,3) Request a Pardon of Your RecordThe problem though is that all states don’t offer all three of these options. But before we get into what Iowa offers, let’s review what each of these options actually mean.

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Expungement

If you get your record expunged in Iowa it’s as if your arrest and/or charges never happened. Your record is completely destroyed, including all physical and public records. When asked if have a criminal record, after expungement, you can truthfully answer “no”.

Record Sealing

Sealing your record in Iowa is similar to expungement, but your record still exists in a limited form. The public does not have access to your record, but there are some exceptions. Your records can still be accessed by law enforcement and the courts. Record sealing is not as secure as expungement, but it is a reasonable alternative that is comparatively easier to obtain if your state offers it.

Pardons

If you receive a pardon in Iowa, you still have record of your arrest or charge, but your guilt is exonerated. That is, you have proven that you are rehabilitated and forgiven for your crimes. You can also get relief in terms of having various rights restored, such as your right to vote. The requirements for pardons vary between states, but typically there is a lot of documentation required, and includes lengthy waiting periods to apply and receive a pardon.

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Things to Know Before You Start

First: It’s important to understand that every state is different in terms of what methods are available for felons to remove their record and the information below will help you understand what you can do in Iowa.

Felony Expungement in Iowa

Yes, it is possible to expunge your felony in Iowa but it depends on the felony.

Sealing a Recordin Iowa

Yes, it is possible to seal your record in Iowa but it depends on the felony.

Getting a Pardonin Iowa

Yes, it is possible to get a pardon of your record in Iowa but it depends on the felony.

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Second: When trying to clear your record, you really have two options.  The first is to get a free consultation from a lawyer to see what they think of your case, and the second is to try to do all of the paperwork yourself.

Third: We HIGHLY recommend that you get a free consultation from a lawyer prior to taking any action.  We say this because whether you want to expunge, seal, or pardon your record, it’s an extremely complicated process.  Failure to follow the process properly can end up with you being denied for the request and having to wait additional time (sometimes several years) before you can file again.  In addition, getting an expungement lawyer can increase your odds of succeeding and sometimes it’s more affordable than you think.  The first step is to click on the button below to confirm that you’re eligible for the expungement/sealing of your record.

TAKE THE ELIGIBILITY TESTQuick NavigationCan You Expunge a Felony in Iowa?How to Expunge a Felony in IowaCan You Seal Your Criminal Record in Iowa?How to Seal Your Criminal Record in IowaCan You Apply for a Pardon in Iowa?How to Apply for a Pardon in Iowa

Can You Expunge a Felony in Iowa?

Only minor alcohol-related convictions and deferred judgments can be expunged from an Iowa criminal record. A deferred judgment is where the court allows you to successfully complete a probationary period in lieu of serving a jail sentence.

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CANNOT EXPUNGE IF…

<p><b>Conviction wasn’t alcohol related</b></p><p>If your conviction wasn’t related to alcohol, there is no way to remove it.</p><p><strong>Conviction isn’t a deferred judgement</strong></p><p>If you were not granted deferred judgement, you will not be able to expunge a felony.</p>

How to Expunge a Felony in Iowa

<ol><li>Before you begin this process, we insist that you <a draggable=”false” href=”https://www.felonyrecordhub.com/test/expungement”>take this eligibility test</a> to determine if you’re eligible to expunge your record.</li><li>If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because expungements are mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.</li><li>If you are <u>not</u> eligible for expungement based on our test, then you should stop here.</li><li>If you are eligible based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.</li><li>File a written petition for expungement of your records, or <a href=”http://www.iowacourts.gov/wfData/files/CourtRules/Application to Expunge Court Record.pdf” data-wplink-url-error=”true”>fill out the form here</a>.  </li><li>Include your case number, trial date and conviction so the court can identify your case, then simply request that your criminal record be expunged.</li><li>Sign and date the petition and file it with the county courthouse.<ul><li>The judge will review the petition and either grant the expungement without a hearing or ask that you appear in court.</li><li>If you meet the criteria and the district attorney’s office doesn’t object, the court will usually enter the order expunging the record.</li></ul></li></ol>

Can You Seal Your Criminal Record in Iowa?

There are two instances where you may have your criminal record sealed in Iowa. These are if the outcome of a case is a ‘deferred judgment’ rather than a conviction and the person completes the terms of the deferment or if the conviction is for public intoxication, consumption or underage possession of alcohol and the person has not had any new convictions for at least two years afterward.

Should a new criminal charge occur, the expunged record can still be referenced and result in a higher level of crime to be charged, more supervision during and after the trial and a tougher sentence if a conviction occurs.

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CANNOT SEAL IF…

<p><b>Conviction wasn’t alcohol related</b></p><p>If your conviction wasn’t related to alcohol, there is no way to remove it.</p><p><strong>Conviction isn’t a deferred judgement</strong></p><p>If you were not granted deferred judgement, you will not be able to expunge a felony.</p>

How to Seal Your Criminal Record in Iowa

<p>The procedure to get a criminal record sealed by a court in Missouri is a complicated process involving several steps:</p><ol><li>Before you begin this process, we insist that you <a draggable=”false” href=”https://www.felonyrecordhub.com/test/expungement”>take this eligibility test</a> to determine if you’re eligible to seal your record.</li><li>If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because expungements are mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.</li><li>If you are <u>not</u> eligible to seal your record based on our test, then you should stop here.</li><li>If you are eligible to seal your record based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.</li><li>You can find additional information about <a href=”http://www.dps.state.ia.us/DCI/supportoperations/crimhistory/faq.shtml#28″>sealing your record on this page</a>.</li></ol>

Can You Apply for a Pardon in Iowa?

Applying for a Iowa is possible, though there are restrictions to the request.  This is a good resource from Iowa.gov that goes into further detail explaining how you can apply for a pardon beyond what we have below.

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CANNOT PARDON IF…

<p><strong>You are currently incarcerated</strong></p><p>Individuals are only eligible to apply for a Pardon ten years after they discharge their sentence.</p><p>Note: Individuals who are currently incarcerated for a Class A felony may apply for a Commutation of a Life Sentence.</p><p><strong>Out-of-State Conviction</strong></p><p>The Governor can only grant a pardon within the state of Iowa.</p><p><strong>Federal Conviction</strong></p><p>The Department of Justice can only grant a pardon for a federal offense<strong>.</strong></p>

How to Apply for a Pardon in Iowa

There is a specific process to follow to apply for a pardon in Iowa, and the entire process can take up to two years. You may submit an application at any time, although after a felony conviction, it is the general policy of the Governor’s Office to require at least ten (10) years to pass after you have completed your sentence to submit an application. Each application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Approximately less than 10% of applications are granted each year.

There are two ways to apply for a pardon. You can either apply directly to the Governor, or to the Board of Parole who will make a recommendation to the Governor. In either case, you will be required to show that you have become and will continue to be a law-abiding citizen.

<ol><li>Before you begin this process, we insist that you <a href=”https://www.felonyrecordhub.com/test/expungement”>take this eligibility test</a> to determine if you’re eligible to request a pardon for your record.  In most cases, if you are eligible for expungement on our test, then you’ll be eligible for a pardon.</li><li>If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because requesting a pardon is mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you. </li><li>If you are <u>not</u> eligible based on our test, then you should stop here. </li><li>If you are eligible based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.</li><li>To apply online, go to the Iowa Governor’s website <a href=”https://governor.iowa.gov/constituent-services/restoration-of-citizenship-rights”>here</a> and fill out the form <a href=”https://governor.iowa.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Firearm%20and%20Pardon%20Application_4.pdf”>here</a>.<ul><li>If you cannot access the Governor’s website or the form itself, you can contact the Governor’s office at 515-281-5211 to have one sent or emailed to you. <br /><br />You can also write to:<br />Office of the Governor and Lt. Governor<br />State Capitol<br />Des Moines, IA 50319</li></ul></li></ol><p><strong>Steps to apply for a pardon in Iowa to the Governor</strong></p><ol><li>You will be required to submit along with your application your current Iowa criminal record as well as your personal credit report.</li><li>You can obtain your criminal history record by contacting the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at 515-725-6066, by <a href=”http://www.dps.state.ia.us/DCI/Records_Ident/index.shtml”>visiting this website</a>, or by writing to:<br />215 East 7th Street<br />Des Moines, IA 50319</li><li>You can obtain your personal credit report by contacting the Annual Credit Report Request Service at 1-877-322-8228, at www.annualcreditreport.com, or writing to:<br />P.O. Box 1058281<br />Atlanta, GA 30348-5281</li><li>You will have the option of submitting letters of recommendation to support your application. The letters can come from the following individuals<ul><li>The prosecuting attorney who was involved in your case</li><li>The sentencing judge who was involved in your case</li><li>The county sheriff who was involved in your case, or the sheriff in the county where you reside</li><li>A minister</li><li>A current or former employer</li><li>Any other reputable person in the community who can attest to your moral character</li><li>We highly recommend that you submit letters of recommendation. These letters must be submitted at the same time you submit your application form. The writers of the letters must state in the letters that they are aware you are seeking a pardon.</li></ul></li><li>Although not required, we highly suggest that you submit, on a separate sheet of paper, a detailed and genuine personal statement explaining why you need a pardon.<ul><li>Keep in mind that the Governor is not retrying you for the offense when you write your personal statement.</li><li>Although you may want to explain the facts of the crime from your perspective, avoid trying to make excessive excuses for your crime and arguing away your guilt. Whatever you feel about the crime, you had already been found guilty.</li><li>The Governor is probably more interested in seeing your remorse for the crime, and your understanding of its effects on the victim and society, than anything else.</li><li>Tell the Governor how your conviction has negatively affected you and/or your family; simply saying you want a clean criminal record again is not enough.<ul><li>For example, explain how you have been denied housing or employment opportunities because of your conviction, and how this has prevented you from providing your family and you an adequate standard of living.</li></ul></li><li>If you are facing deportation because of a conviction, explain how being separated from your family will negatively affect you as well as them.</li><li>If you are pursuing a career in a field that requires you to obtain a pardon, submit documents, letters, or other proof from a prospective employer, licensing agency, or attorney verifying this necessity.</li><li>If you need to regain your gun rights, explain why you need this—for example, you are pursuing a career that requires the use of firearms, or you want to take part in your family hunting traditions, or you simply want to feel more secure and able to defend yourself and/or your family after a recent traumatic event.</li><li>Also indicate in your personal statement all the positive things that have occurred in your life—for example, educational achievements, new or stable employment, marriage and children, community involvement, charitable services or donations, law-abiding behavior, etc.</li><li>Submit copies of your college transcript, high school diploma or GED, military certificates, marriage certificate, honors and awards, and other proof of your rehabilitation and good character.</li><li>Explain what your future plans are and how a pardon would help or hinder those plans.</li><li>Make a copy of everything you send for your records. You must submit your completed application to the following address:<br />James C. Larew, General Counsel<br />Governor’s Office<br />State Capitol Building<br />Des Moines, IA 50319</li></ul></li><li>You may be contacted to verify information in your application and the Governor’s office will also inquire into your income tax filings.<ul><li>You should be upfront and cooperative with the Governor and his agents at all times.</li></ul></li><li>You may be called in for a personal interview. If this happens, you should definitely take advantage of the opportunity.<ul><li>Such an interview would be an excellent opportunity for you to put a human face onto your application; it lets the Governor see the kind of person you are in person.</li><li>You must act and look your best at any such interview—in the same way you would if you were going to court for a trial.</li></ul></li></ol><p><strong>Steps to apply for a Pardon to the Board of Parole in Iowa</strong></p><ol><li>Use an application form provided by the Board.  You can obtain the application form from the Board by calling 515-725-5757 or by writing to:<br />Iowa Board of Parole<br />510 East 12th Street, Suite 3<br />Des Moines, IA 50319<ul><li>The Board will examine your application and conduct an investigation in much the same way the Governor’s office would (see above).</li></ul></li><li>You should submit the personal statement (addressed to the Governor) as well as the letters of recommendation mentioned in the previous section.<ul><li>If the Board’s application instructs you to submit a criminal and/or credit report, refer to the previous section to find out how to do this.</li><li>As with the Governor, you should be upfront and cooperative with the Board and its agents at all times during the application process. After the Board has completed its investigation, it will send a recommendation over to the Governor, who, again, has the final say on your application.</li></ul></li><li>It is unlikely that you will be called in by the Board for a hearing. However, in the event you are, you should dress and behave in the same formal manner you would if you were going to court for a trial.<ul><li>If allowed, bring friends, family members, co-workers, and others in your community to the hearing to show their support.</li><li>The hearing would be an excellent opportunity for the Board to see you in person as well as the amount of support you have in your community.</li><li>If your conviction was for a violent offense, the Governor may notify the victim(s) of your offense about your application, who will have an opportunity to submit their written opinion on your application.</li><li>If the Governor denies your application, you can re-apply at any time.<ul><li>Of course, if you had just been denied, it probably will not help to re-apply one month later, unless something extraordinary happened since your application was denied that you think would boost your chances of receiving a pardon the second time around.<br /> </li></ul></li></ul></li></ol><p>So, there you have it.  Three separate ways to get rid of your record in Iowa.  As we’ve said numerous times throughout this page, this is a really complicated process and we highly recommend that you <a draggable=”false” href=”https://www.felonyrecordhub.com/test/expungement”>take this eligibility test</a> prior to taking any action to determine if you are eligible for any of these options.</p>

Please note, the information contained here is not legal advice and is strictly informational.  If you have any further questions about the information above, or in general, you need to contact a lawyer directly.

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