Iowa Expungement Law

Expungement of Criminal Records – General – Iowa

1.  What is an expungement?

The process of legally destroying, obliterating or striking out records or information in files, computers and other depositories relating to criminal charges.

2.  Do the records just “disappear”?

No. The records cannot be accessed for general law enforcement or civil use. Fingerprint cards received that are used to establish a criminal history data record shall be retained in the automated fingerprint identification system when the criminal history data record is expunged. In the case of a juvenile, criminal history data and source documents, other than fingerprint records, shall not be retained. Criminal history data may be collected for management or research purposes Iowa Statutes § 692.17.

3. What records may be expunged?

Arrest or disposition data or custody or adjudication data. Custody or adjudication data after the juvenile has reached twenty-one years of age, unless the juvenile was convicted of or pled guilty to a serious or aggravated misdemeanor or felony between age eighteen and age twenty-one. Fingerprint cards received that are used to establish a criminal history data record shall be retained in the automated fingerprint identification system when the criminal history data record is expunged. Iowa Statutes § 692.17.

If judgment has been deferred under section 907.3, the court’s criminal record with reference to the deferred judgment shall be expunged. The record maintained by the state court administrator as required by section 907.4 shall not be expunged. Iowa Statutes § 907.9.

Court records of conviction for public intoxication may be expunged if conditions meet (see below). Iowa Statutes § 123.46.

The division of criminal investigation, upon receipt of a written request that validates reversal on appeal of a person’s conviction, adjudication, or commitment, and subsequent dismissal of the case, or upon receipt of a written request by a person who voluntarily submitted a DNA sample pursuant to section 81.3, subsection 3, paragraph “b”, shall expunge all of the DNA records and identifiable information of the person in the DNA database and DNA data bank. Iowa Statutes § 81.9

4.  Who is eligible for an expungement?

1. A person who was acquitted or whose criminal charges are dismissed. Persons acquitted or dismissed by reason of insanity and records of adjudications of mental incompetence to stand trial in cases in which physical or mental injury or an attempt to commit physical or mental injury occurred are not eligible. Iowa Statutes § 692.17.
2.  A juvenile who has reached twenty-one years of age, unless the juvenile was convicted of or pled guilty to a serious or aggravated misdemeanor or felony between age eighteen and age twenty-one. Iowa Statutes § 692.17.
3. Upon discharge from probation, a person whose judgment has been deferred under section 907.3. Iowa Statutes § 907.9.
4. After two years from the of conviction of public intoxication, a person who has had no other criminal convictions, other than simple misdemeanor violations of chapter 321 during the two-year period. Iowa Statutes § 123.46.

5.  How do I get records expunged?

The above-referenced statutes include no mention of a requirement of the person who is the subject of the records to file a petition for expungement. In public intoxication cases meeting the criteria for expungement, expungement is to be made as a matter of law. Iowa Statutes § 123.46. 


Inside Iowa Expungement Law