Why Cannot All Dismissed Charges be Expunged?

A reading of Iowa Code §692.17, under exclusions, would have one believe that all dismissed charges can be expunged from Iowa court records.

In relevant part, the code section reads:

Criminal history data in a computer data storage system shall
not include arrest or disposition data or custody or adjudication
data after the person has been acquitted or the charges dismissed…

Seems simple enough. After a review of what is defined under §692.1 as arrest, disposition, custody, or adjudication data, it would appear that all dismissed charges could be expunged from the public view.

However, §692.17(2) reads:

2. For the purposes of this section, “criminal history data”
includes the following:
a. In the case of an adult, information maintained by any
criminal justice agency …

And a re-reading of the definitions under §692.1 “criminal history data” is:

any or all of the following information maintained by the department or division.

a. Arrest data.
b. Conviction data.
c. Disposition data.
d. Correctional data.
e. Adjudication data.
f. Custody data.

Still seems like it could be expunged. But the catch is in the definition of “department” or “division.” Under this code section:

9. “Department” means the department of public safety.

11. “Division” means the department of public safety, division of criminal investigation.

Therefore, these dismissed charges are expunged, but only from the Department, or Division records. Not the court records which we all can see.

Our law firm can help with Public Intoxication convictions, PAULA convictions, dismissed charges that have been left hanging which were related to a successful deferred judgment, and in some cases, deferred judgments which are not yet complete.

Please call or send us an email if you think any of these conditions apply to you.

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