Carrying Weapons Lawyer in Iowa

If you've been caught going armed with a dangerous weapon, you need an Iowa Carrying Weapons defense lawyer.

Your Des Moines attorney can help you understand the violent crime the government accused you of.

Iowa Carrying Weapons Lawyer

At Clark and Sears Law, PLLC, we defend the rights and liberties of good people who are accused of bad things.

An Iowa lawyer for willful injury might be able to help you avoid conviction. If a judge or jury acquits you, then you could save thousands of dollars in fines and surcharges. Similarly, if a judge or prosecutor dismisses the charges, you could go home to your family. Going home is better than going to jail.

Get out of trouble and get back to life. Call Katherine Sears at Clark and Sears Law, PLLC. You can set up a free consultation now at (515) 491 6128. A receptionist is available 24/7 to take your call.

The criminal defense lawyers at Clark and Sears Law, PLLC, are based in Des Moines and Ankeny. They represent defendants throughout Polk County and the rest of Iowa.

Carrying Weapons in Iowa

Iowa Code 724.4 discusses Carrying Weapons.  Going armed can be either a serious misdemeanor or an aggravated misdemeanor.  An aggravated misdemeanor is a "worse" offense than a serious misdemeanor.

Serious Misdemeanor Carrying Weapons

The government must prove all of the following elements of serious-misdemeanor-level Carrying Weapons in order to convict you:

  • You went armed
  • With a knife
  • Concealed on or "about" your person
  • You did not use the knife in the commission of the crime
  • The knife's blade was more than five inches long but was not more than eight inches long

Aggravated Misdemeanor Carrying Weapons

Any of the following constitute an aggravated-misdemeanor-level Carrying Weapons offense:

  • You "went armed"
  • With a dangerous weapon
  • Concealed on or "about" your person


  • You "went armed"
  • With a pistol, revolver, or loaded firearm of any kind, whether concealed or not
  • Within the limits of any city


  • You knowingly carried or transported a pistol or revolver
  • In a vehicle


  • You went armed
  • With a knife
  • Concealed on or "about" your person
  • You used the knife in the commission of a crime


  • You went armed
  • With a knife
  • Concealed on or "about" your person
  • The knife's blade was more than eight inches long

"Dangerous Weapon"

Iowa Code section 702.7 provides that a “dangerous weapon” is any instrument or device designed primarily for use in inflicting death or injury upon a human being or animal, and which is capable of inflicting death upon a human being when used in the manner for which it was designed, except a bow and arrow when possessed and used for hunting or any other lawful purpose.

Additionally, any instrument or device of any sort whatsoever which is actually used in such a manner as to indicate that the defendant intends to inflict death or serious injury upon the other, and which, when so used, is capable of inflicting death upon a human being, is a dangerous weapon.

Dangerous weapons include but are not limited to any offensive weapon, pistol, revolver, or other firearm, dagger, razor, stiletto, switchblade knife, knife having a blade exceeding five inches in length, or any portable device or weapon directing an electric current, impulse, wave, or beam that produces a high-voltage pulse designed to immobilize a person.

Courts have found that in some contexts, brass knuckles, box cutters, utility knives, throwing stars, throwing hatchets, and boomerangs can be dangerous weapons -- and so can plenty of other things! If the prosecution can prove that the way you used an object shows that you meant to hurt or kill someone, that object can be considered a dangerous weapon.

Penalties for Carrying Weapons in Iowa

Carrying Weapons is a misdemeanor offense.  Most charges are aggravated misdemeanor.  If you were carrying a knife between 5"-8" long and did not commit a(nother) crime with it, though, that's a serious misdemeanor. 

  • Aggravated Misdemeanor Carrying Weapons. Up to 2 years in prison. $855 minimum to $8,540 maximum.
  • Serious Misdemeanor Carrying Weapons. Up to 1 year in the county jail. $430 minimum to $2560 maximum fine.

You will have to pay an additional 15% crime services surcharge on any fine

If you get a deferred judgment instead of a conviction, you will pay a civil penalty instead of a fine. Civil penalties are in the same amounts as criminal fines — for instance, if you get a deferred judgment on a theft 5th, you could get a civil penalty of $105 instead of getting a criminal fine for $105. There’s no additional15% surcharge for civil penalties, though.

If you receive a deferred judgment, you will be put on probation.  Your prison sentence will be "suspended," so that you don't have to go to prison unless you violate probation.  Probation charges a $300 supervision fee.  If you successfully complete probation following a deferred judgment, your conviction will be expunged from your publicly-visible court record. 

You are not eligible for a deferred judgment if you have received two deferred judgments in the past.  

The county attorney might ask for the judge to order you to perform community service hours. You might have to pay a placement fee.

Carrying Weapons Enhancements

Guns on School Grounds

Iowa Code Section 724.4B makes it a Class D felony to go armed with, carry, or transport any firearm on school grounds unless your duties as a peace officer, armed forces member, corrections officer require or permit you to have the weapon.  (Or unless it's an unloaded and stored in a closed and fastened container too large to be concealed on your person.) 

This rule also doesn't apply to people the school has specifically authorized, including people hired to instruct firearms safety course. Licensees under Iowa Code Chapter 80A with appropriate permits to carry are also exempt.

Conviction of a felony will cause you to lose your gun rights.

Weapons free zones — enhanced penalties

Areas within a thousand feet of a school or public park are "weapons free zones." (Exception: designated hunting areas are not weapons free zones.) If you commit a public offense involving a firearm or offensive weapon within a weapons free zone, you "shall" be subject to a fine of double the maximum.  Iowa Code 724.4A.

Serious misdemeanor weapons offense in a weapons free zone: up to a year in jail and a fine of $5,120.

Aggravated misdemeanor weapons offense in a weapons free zone: up to a year in jail and a fine of $17,080.

Defenses to Carrying Weapons

Iowa's Carrying Weapons law explicitly provides some defenses.  These defenses include:

  • Owning and possessing the dwelling, business, or land where you were going armed.
  • Being a police officer, correctional officer, or member of the armed forces or national guard whose duties require you to carry a weapon.
  • The unloaded pistol or revolver was in a car, in a closed, fastened container that was too large to conceal on your person.
  • The unloaded pistol or revolver was in a car, in a cargo or luggage compartment where it wasn't readily accessible to anyone riding in the car.
  • You were lawfully engaged in target practice on a target range
  • Lawful hunting or fishing.
  • You have a valid permit to carry weapons
  • Being an out-of-state police officer extraditing or removing a prisoner from Iowa.
  • Pursuing a suspect in Iowa while working as an out-of-state police officer.
  • Being an out-of-state police officer acting in concert with the local police, sheriffs, or similar agency in the State of Iowa.
  • You were transporting prisoners under a contract with the Iowa Department of Corrections or similar agency.

Additional possible carrying weapons defenses include:

Mistaken Identity

If it's reasonable to think that someone else was the person committing the offense, then you shouldn't be held responsible.


Were you somewhere else? If you were testifying in front of Congress at the time of the alleged offense, the jury should hear about your alibi.

Fourth Amendment Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment, with some specific and well-delineated exceptions, guards you from warrantless searches and seizures.

Second Amendment

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
- Second Amendment, United States Constitution

Does the second amendment protect your right to carry weapons?  If you wanted to raise this argument, we would probably need to be able to show that you were carrying weapons as part of a well-regulated militia and that that militia was necessary to the security of a free state.  Arguably, the National Guard IS the well-regulated militia necessary for free states' security.  Showing that whatever non-National-Guard "militia" you were engaged with makes the charges against you unconstitutional as applied isn't necessarily impossible, but it's a tall order.  The second amendment is unlikely to be a bulwark against prosecution.

Iowa charges related to Carrying Weapons

There are carrying-weapons-adjacent offenses they might also charge you with. Your intimidation with a dangerous weapon lawyer can explain these.


Discharging dangerous weapons into occupied places (or threatening to do that) is a felony.  

Read more about Intimidation.


There are a range of assault charges. Depending on your situation, you could be charged with a simple assault under Iowa Code 708.2, facing up to 30 days in jail and fines of $105-$855 (plus surcharges.) Alternatively, you might face something worse. When you're convicted of a forcible felony while displaying a dangerous weapon, you will face at least five years in jail without the possibility of parole.  Iowa Code 902.7.

Reckless discharge of a firearm

If you intentionally discharge a firearm in a reckless manner, you could face anywhere from a simple misdemeanor to a class C felony. If you seriously injure someone, Iowa Code section 724.30 says you could spend up to 10 years in prison.

Disorderly conduct

Disorderly conduct is a simple misdemeanor.


Harassment is a misdemeanor offense. Depending on the details and severity, harassment can be a simple, serious, or aggravated misdemeanor.

Felon in Possession of a Firearm

Former felon? It's illegal to possess a firearm, even if your felony had nothing at all to do with drugs.

Learn more about Firearm Possession by Felon.

Possessing a Firearm After a Domestic Violence Conviction or when a Protective Order is In Effect

Like federal law, Iowa now generally prohibits any person from knowingly possessing, shipping, transporting, or receiving a firearm or ammunition if he or she has been convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.” This prohibition also applies to anyone subject to a domestic violence protective order.

Read more about Unauthorized Possession of Offensive Weapons

Unauthorized Possession of an Offensive Weapon

There are specific weapons that you have to be authorized to have. No authority?  Big problem: it's a Class D felony.

Read more about Unauthorized Possession of Offensive Weapons.

Des Moines Carrying Weapons Lawyer

Call an Iowa carrying weapons lawyer when you’re facing charges in the city of Des Moines Iowa or near Iowa State University.

A Des Moines lawyer can help ensure that your rights are respected when you’re accused of an offense in the greater Des Moines area.

polk county iowa criminal defense lawyers katie sears john sears defense attorneys carrying weapons iowa

This blog post is for informational purposes only. Don’t rely on it as legal advice. It may be out of date. It may not apply to your situation. Reading this site doesn’t make me your lawyer.

Consult with a licensed carrying weapons lawyer in your jurisdiction.  If you want to talk to us about your Iowa case, please contact us at (515) 491 6128. We’ll set up a time to talk.

What will happen if I’m charged?

When someone alleges that you carried weapons, law enforcement will investigate. Then, if a judge finds probable cause, you could go to jail. Once in jail, you might be let out on bond. Pretrial release might let you out. You might not be let out at all.

Instead of sending you to jail, the judge might give you papers. Those papers will tell you when your court date is. After your arrest. police will read you your rights. Then, they will give you time to call an intimidation attorney or a law firm. 

Preliminary Hearing

At an initial appearance, you will see a judge. The judge might schedule a preliminary hearing. At a preliminary hearing, you or your lawyer will ask questions. One or more witnesses will be under oath. After the questions, the judge will decide whether probable cause exists.

Your attorney might suggest waiving the preliminary hearing. Before deciding, consult your lawyer. Alternatively, the prosecutor might file the "trial information" before the preliminary hearing. If so, there won't be a preliminary hearing.


Your attorney tell you about your next court date. After your preliminary hearing happens (or after you receive the trial information,) you will have an  arraignment.


Police will give reports to the county attorney's office. Then, the county attorney's office will review the information. After the prosecutor reads the reports, they will decide what offenses to charge you with. For instance, a prosecutor might charge you with a misdemeanor. Alternatively, they could accuse you of a felony.

Your defense lawyer will tell you what the government accused you of. Moreover, they will explain your rights. You also need to know how this could affect your criminal record. In short, they will tell you about the worst case scenario. A criminal lawyer will tell you more about the fines, terms of incarceration, and collateral consequences that might apply.

Your law firm will give you legal advice. Specifically, they will explain the pros and cons of taking your case to trial. After all, only you can decide whether or not to accept a plea offer. 

Finally, if a jury convicts you, you can probably appeal. The court of appeals hears appellate arguments. So does the Iowa Supreme Court. Because they review legal issues, they might find a constitutional problem. That means that the law can be illegal. Alternatively, the district court might have treated a legal law illegally. However, the right to appeal does not apply to simple misdemeanors. Ask your criminal defense attorney for more information.


What should I know about lawyers generally?

Attorneys completed their bachelor’s or 4-year degrees. Thereafter, they went to law school. One example is Drake University Law School. That school is in Des Moines.  Afterward, Iowa lawyers take the bar exam. Thereafter, a committee evaluates their character and fitness. The Iowa State Bar admits Iowa lawyers. The Iowa bar association regulates the legal profession.

Some lawyers and law firms do general practice. In light of that, they accept all kind of representation.  In contrast, some lawyers specialize in particular areas of law. For example, a lawyer might do only civil practice. When a lawyer does civil work, they might handle divorces. Additionally, the Iowa lawyer might represent small claims cases. Further, a civil practice lawyer could do personal injury work. In another case, the lawyer might focus on family law or child custody.

Alternatively, some lawyers practice only criminal defense.  Some lawyers get even more particular. For instance, a lawyer might take only domestic violence defense. Another lawyer might focus on sex crime, sexual abuse, operating while intoxicated, child endangerment, child abuse, indecent exposure, theft, possession of controlled substances, sex crimes, marijuana, DUI defense, controlled substance offenses, arson, criminal mischief, vehicular homicide, drug offenses, traffic violations, violent crime or drunk driving. 

Many Iowa lawyers practice only in Iowa courts. The Iowa Code defines all Iowa crimes. The Iowa rules of criminal procedure control what happens in Iowa criminal justice cases.

Federal court is different. If you are facing federal charges for a federal criminal offense, make sure to let your Iowa lawyer know. Because Iowa federal courts are not state law courts in Iowa, your lawyer might refer you elsewhere. Federal prosecutors and federal judges use different procedural rules. Federal crimes are subject to federal sentencing.

What offenses exist in Iowa criminal law?

Criminal law offenses are misdemeanors or felonies. Class A felonies exist, but most people facing felony charges are facing a class B felony, a class C felony, or a class D felony. If you have questions about Iowa intimidation offenses, ask a lawyer.

What can an Iowa intimidation with a dangerous weapon lawyer do for me?

When accused, contact an attorney or law firm. Make sure to call one who works with Iowa criminal law.

If there’s a warrant out for your arrest, your Iowa lawyer will help. In that case, you will coordinate with law enforcement. Self-surrender won't be as embarrassing as public arrest would be.

Your Iowa criminal lawyer will stay in touch with the county attorney’s office. That means they will let the prosecutor know whether you choose to exercise or waive your right to speedy trial.  Further, counsel can provide legal guidance. For example, you need to know whether it's a good idea to consider a plea agreement or to go to trial. They will talk to you about whether a judge or jury is likely to find a particular witness credible.

Your criminal lawyer will let you know what sort of jail time you might be facing if convicted. Moreover, they can explain how conviction impacts criminal history. Finally, they can discuss whether or not the prosecutor might dismiss your charges.

Victim Resources

A Victim Services Support Program is available through the Iowa attorney general’s office.