Iowa Public Records
In Iowa, public records are referred to as any records or information that are stored or preserved that belong to the state. Public fund investments are also part of public records in Iowa.
How to Find Iowa Public Records
As an open records state, public records in Iowa are open to the public except for confidential documents like the following, to name a few:
- Student records
- Medical records
- Criminal files
- Military records
- Library records
- Trade secrets
Chapter 22 of the state's Open Records Law has the complete list of exempted records in Iowa. However, private sources can also provide access when the records are available.
Are Iowa Public Records Available Online?
Public records in Iowa are available online unless exempted by law. Anybody can access a public record in Iowa via mail or in person. To be sure, requesters should go to the record custodian of the public records they need to get accurate information.
What Records are Not Available in Iowa?
All records in Iowa are open to the public for inspection and duplication except those exempted by state law like the following:
- Personal information
- Hospital and medical records
- Trade secrets
- Investigation reports
- Appraisal information
- Compensation claims
- Financial statements
Types of Public Records Available in Iowa
Iowa is an open records state with the following records available to the public.
Iowa Public Criminal Records
The Iowa Department of Public Safety Division of Criminal Investigation has the Criminal History Record Dissemination Unit, where you can request criminal history record information using their record request forms in person, through email, or via mail. Phone requests are currently unavailable, and criminal record information is released only when the subject of the request signs a release authorization.
Each criminal record check requires a fee of $15.00 per search, and you need to submit a government-issued ID like a driver's license or passport as proof of identification.
Another way to find public criminal records in Iowa is to use their court case search online.
Police Departments and Sheriffe Office in Iowa :
Arrest Records and Warrants
You may also use the Iowa courts' online search tool to look for active warrants.
Inmate and Jail Records
Inmate and jail records in Iowa are available at the Department of Corrections through their search tool online. You can find inmate information by providing a name (First, Middle, and Last name), a birthdate range, inmate location, offense, or offender number.
Jails and Prisons in Iowa :
Iowa Background Checks
Employers can request a background check on a prospective employee as long as they pay the fee for the record request.
To perform a background check in Iowa, you need to provide the following information:
- Name (last name, first name, and middle name, if available)
- Date of birth
- Social security number
- Set of fingerprints of the subject of the background check
All background check requests are only available via mail or in-person using these forms and cost $15.00 for every name you check.
How to Find Sex Offenders in Iowa
Iowa has a sex offender registry available online where you can do a search using a last and first name, including aliases, advanced search, map search, or use emails, IDs, telephones, and even license plates to locate offenders. A nearby registrants map will also show you offenders within 1 to 5 miles. The state also has a registry of the most wanted sex offenders available to the public.
Iowa Public Vital Records
The Iowa Department of Public Health is the primary repository of all public vital records available in the state, like birth, death, and marriage records from July 1, 1880, up to the present.
You may request public vital records in Iowa online through VitalChek, the only third-party vendor authorized by the state to accept requests for vital records.
Each certified copy of a birth, death, or marriage record costs $15.00. However, VitalChek charges an additional fee of $13.00 per order for shipping costs.
There are four ways to obtain a public vital record in Iowa:
- Order online via VitalChek and have the record shipped to your current address.
- Order online via VitalChek and pick up the record in the DPH office in Des Moines.
- Request a public vital record via mail by completing the following:
- You may also request a certified copy of any public vital record in Iowa in person from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., from Monday to Friday unless it's a state holiday. Requests received on or before 2:00 p.m. will be processed on the same day for at least two hours.
For divorce records, you may visit the state's clerk of court per county, where the divorce decree was finalized.
Iowa Court Records
The Iowa Judicial Branch allows you to search for court records online including civil and some criminal cases. With their online service, you can do an advanced case search available to all users, an advanced case search for registered users, or a payment search in case you need to make a payment for a particular case.
Otherwise, you should visit the county court to request court records in person.
State Court System in Iowa
Iowa has two different levels of courts: the federal district courts and the trial courts.
The federal district courts are composed of the Supreme Court, the highest court, and the Court of Appeals, the intermediate appellate court that hears and reviews state appeals from the trial courts.
The trial courts with both limited and general jurisdiction are also known as the district courts, which handle probate, juvenile, civil, and some criminal matters in Iowa.
Courts in Iowa :
The Iowa Department of Transportation has an online service where you can get a certified copy of your driving records for legal purposes. The following charges apply for certified driving records:
- Record fee - $5.50
- Additional charge - $3.00
- Online service fee - $1.50
- Credit card processing fee - $1.50
Uncertified driving records are free and can be accessed through the myMVD portal that requires you to log in.
Businesses or organizations can also check for driving records provided that they are permitted and follow the state laws governing the access of someone else's driving records.
Civil Driving Infractions
Civil driving infractions in Iowa are assigned points to determine if a driver's license will be canceled, suspended, or revoked.
Habitual offenses include the following with their corresponding points:
- Perjury - 2 points
- Driving while under license denial, suspension, or revocation - 2 points
- Driving while under a DUI or drug-related revocation - 3 points
- Driving while barred - 4 points
- DUI - 4 points
- Felony - 5 points
- Failure to stop and leave information or render aid at an accident site - 5 points
- Eluding or attempting to elude law enforcement - 5 points
- Causing serious motor injury - 5 points
- Manslaughter - 6 points
Iowa License Plate Lookup
The state of Iowa allows you to look up your license plate number by completing a request form. However, you must include another person's written consent if you're requesting on their behalf per the Federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act. Each record request costs $5.00 whether there is or no available information.
Iowa Property and Asset Records Online
Iowa Unclaimed Property and Assets
You may also search for unclaimed property and assets through the state treasurer, including but not limited to funds from savings and checking accounts, stocks and bonds, uncashed checks, utility security funds, insurance benefits, and also valuables from safe deposit boxes. You may file a claim for free by uploading the necessary documentation to prove your ownership.
Important Government Agencies in Iowa
The following government agencies can help you find public records in Iowa.
- Secretary of State
- Governor’s Office
- Legislative Office
- Judicial Branch
- Department of Public Safety Division of Criminal Investigation
- Department of Corrections
- Department of Public Health
- Department of Transportation
- State Treasurer
- Court Directory
Counties in Iowa
- Black Hawk
- Buena Vista
- Cerro Gordo
- Des Moines
- Palo Alto
- Van Buren
Other Records in Iowa
List of Content
- How to Find Iowa Public Records
- What Records are Not Available in Iowa?
- Types of Public Records Available in Iowa
- Important Government Agencies in Iowa
- Other Records