When Iowa classifies crimes as “felonies” or “misdemeanors.” A felony can be a class A felony, class B felony, class C felony, or class D felony. A misdemeanor can be a simple misdemeanor, a serious misdemeanor, or an aggravated misdemeanor.
On July 15, 2020, the penalties changed for Iowa misdemeanors. Fines are higher now and surcharges are lower. If you are convicted of or plead guilty to a crime that happened before July 15, 2020, you will pay the “old” fine and surcharge amounts *unless* the new amounts would be less.
How restitution is determined and calculated is also changing, as is the process of determining whether you are reasonably able to pay restitution.
Types of Misdemeanors
Statutes that define crimes may tell you what the punishment for that crime is. If the statute doesn’t tell you what the punishment is, the punishments for misdemeanors are as follows:
On July 15, 2020, new simple misdemeanor charges will be subject to a minimum fine of $105 up to a maximum fine of $855. You can also face up to 30 days in jail. (Senate file 457).
(Prior to July 15, 2020): Simple offenses: fines of $65-$625 (Iowa Code 903.1), plus a 35% surcharge (Iowa Code 911.1). The court can also send you to jail for up to 30 days instead of fining you or in addition to fining you (Iowa Code 903.1)
On July 15, 2020, new serious misdemeanor charges will be subject to a minimum fine of $430 up to a maximum fine of $2560. (Senate file 457).
(Prior to July 15, 2020): Serious misdemeanors: fines of $315-$1875 (Iowa Code 903.1) plus a 35% surcharge (Iowa Code 911.1). The court can also send you to jail for up to a year in addition to fining you (Iowa Code 903.1)
On July 15, 2020, new aggravated misdemeanor charges will be subject to a minimum fine of $855 up to a maximum fine of $8540. (Senate file 457).
(Prior to July 15, 2020) Aggravated offenses: fines of $625-$6250 (Iowa Code 903.1) plus a 35% surcharge (Iowa Code 911.1) The court can also send you to jail for up to two years. If the court sends you to jail for more than a year, the term will be indeterminate.)
Des Moines Misdemeanors Consequences
Bear in mind that going to jail in Iowa isn’t free. You can be charged for administrative procedures and booking, room and board for every day you spend in custody, and for medical care you receive (Iowa Code 356.7)
(If you or a loved one have been sentenced to Polk County Jail (“PCJ”), you can find a copy of their inmate handbook here.)
All misdemeanor convictions are subject to surcharges.
Prior to July 15, 2020, a 35% criminal penalty surcharge applies to all fines arising from criminal convictions.
On July 15, the criminal penalty surcharge will be renamed the “crime services surcharge” and will be only 15%, not 35%. (Iowa Code §911.1)
If you received a deferred judgment, you will be ordered to pay a civil penalty, not a criminal surcharge.
There are three categories of restitution that you may end up required to pay: victim restitution, category A restitution, and category B restitution. You will have to pay victim restitution and category A restitution regardless of your financial status. Category B restitution requires an ability to pay analysis.
We can help you figure out what to do about your misdemeanor charges in Des Moines, Polk County, Ankeny, Ames, Johnston, West Des Moines, Waukee, Saylorville, Bondurant, Altoona, Clive, Grimes, Pleasant Hill, Story County, Boone County, Marshall County, Dallas County, Jasper County, Madison County, Warren County, Marion County, Wapello County, Davis County, Ottumwa, Bloomfield, Iowa City, Council Bluffs, and the rest of Iowa.
If you need an Iowa misdemeanor attorney and would like to talk to us, call now. (515) 491 6128.
This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. Reading this site doesn’t create an attorney-client relationship. If you want to talk to us about representing you when you’re charged, please contact us at (515) 491 6128 and we’ll set up a time to talk.
What will happen if I’m charged?
When someone alleges that you robbed someone, 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.
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 Iowa misdemeanor 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 misdemeanors 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.
A Victim Services Support Program is available through the Iowa attorney general’s office.