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Iowa Arrest Records

Iowa Arrest Records are public records describing the person's apprehension and detention, created promptly after arrest. It contains details such as the person's name, date of birth, address, mugshot, fingerprints, the nature of the arrest, and other pertinent information about the crime committed.

In Iowa, an arrest record doesn't necessarily indicate the suspect's guilt or innocence. It only outlines essential details of the arrest incident, the suspect's particulars, and other relevant information. Thus, an Iowa Arrest Record cannot replace a criminal record.

However, when it comes to a criminal case in Iowa, an arrest record plays a critical role in the trial that may ensue after the arrest. Therefore, it is vital for law enforcement to accurately maintain these records, assuring the administration of justice.

The primary purpose of the arrest records is to serve as a public record of an individual's arrest or criminal history. This information is essential to employers, landlords, and others who must make informed decisions about who they associate with.

It helps them determine a person's suitability for employment, housing, or other situations that require trustworthiness.

Arrest records in Iowa are publicly accessible under the Iowa Open Records Law. This law provides that all public records are accessible, with some exceptions, such as records containing sensitive personal information.

Therefore, anyone can obtain these records, including members of the public, media, researchers, authorized parties, and other interested individuals.

What Laws Govern Arrests in Iowa?

Generally, the primary law that governs arrests in Iowa is Chapter 804 of the Iowa Code. It outlines the circumstances under which peace officers can make an arrest, the procedures they must follow during the arrest, and the rights of the arrested subject.

Under Iowa law, peace officers can arrest a person without a warrant if they have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to believe that the individual has committed a felony or a misdemeanor in their presence. Additionally, they can arrest someone without a warrant if they reasonably think the person has committed a felony, even if they don't witness the offense.

Probable cause means that the officer has a reasonable basis for believing that the person has committed a crime based on the available evidence. If an officer in Iowa does not have probable cause to make an arrest, they cannot legally detain a person.

When a peace officer needs a warrant to make an arrest, specific requirements must be met to ensure it is lawful. To be valid, an Iowa judge or magistrate must issue the warrant, and it must describe the subject of the arrest and their alleged offense. The peace officers must also execute it within a reasonable manner.

When executing a warrant in Iowa, peace officers can use reasonable force when arresting someone, but state laws prohibit them from using excessive force. If a person resists apprehension, the peace officer may use force, but only to the extent necessary to effectuate the arrest.

Right after the arrest and before the interrogation, the officer must inform the individual of their rights, including the right to keep silent and an attorney.

What Is the Arrest Booking Process in Iowa?

Law enforcement officials must first arrest the individual to initiate the booking process. After making an arrest, law enforcement officials take the individual into custody and bring them to a nearby law enforcement agency for booking.

The booking process is the formal registration of the individual's arrest. It is a crucial step in the criminal justice system and includes several steps to create clear Iowa Arrest Records.

The following are the standard steps of the booking process in Iowa:


During identification, law enforcement officials record the individual's personal information, such as their name, address, and date of birth. They will also store the individual's fingerprints in a national database for future identification.

Furthermore, law enforcement officials capture a mugshot or photograph of the individual to generate a visual record of their appearance at the time of the arrest.

Property Inventory

During the property inventory of the arrest booking process in Iowa, a law enforcement official will actively search the individual arrested and take possession of any property found on their person. It includes personal belongings such as wallets, cell phones, jewelry, and other items.

The officer will document and list all items found on the individual, along with their value and recovery location. This property inventory is a standard procedure to protect individuals and law enforcement agencies. Conducting a property inventory ensures proper accountability of all items and minimizes the possibility of claims of missing or stolen property.

Upon completion, law enforcement officials will securely store the items and either return them to the individual upon their release or hold them as evidence if they are relevant to the crime for which the individual was arrested.

Medical Screening

During the medical screening in Iowa, a trained medical professional will actively evaluate the health condition of an individual taken into custody by law enforcement. It ensures that the individual does not require immediate medical attention or treatment and identifies any medical issues requiring specialized care.

The screening includes reviewing the individual's medical history, assessing their current condition, and checking for any signs of injuries or illnesses that may require medical attention. The medical professional will also ask the individual about any prescription medications or medical conditions that they may have.

If the medical screening identifies any health concerns, the medical professional may provide the individual with medical treatment or refer them to a medical facility for further evaluation and treatment.


After booking, law enforcement officials place the individual in a holding cell or detention facility for further processing.

During the detention, the individual will have limited access to the outside world. They may be allowed to make phone calls to family members or an attorney, but they will not be allowed to leave the detention facility unless released on bail or granted release by a judge.

What Are Iowa Mugshot Records?

Often part of the Iowa Arrest Records, mugshot records contain photographic images of individuals arrested and booked in the state. Local law enforcement agencies typically generate and maintain these records.

The information contained in Iowa mugshot records often includes the name of the arrested individual, their date of birth, gender, physical description, and the date, time, and location of their arrest. These records may also include the charges against the individual, their criminal history, and any bail or bond information.

As public members, individuals can access information about those arrested in their community and the charges filed against them. This right to information serves as a cornerstone of transparency and accountability in the criminal justice system, allowing individuals to stay informed, safe, and aware of the activities of law enforcement agencies.

Most county Sheriff's Offices' websites offer online access to mugshot records, and interested parties can retrieve them by following a few simple steps. 

To begin a mugshot search, the individual must first identify the county jail that housed the offender. Then, they can search the county Sheriff's Office website for warrants or jail rosters. The website will typically provide prompts to guide the record seeker.

If the offender is in state prison, interested parties can use the Offender Search tool of the Iowa Department of Corrections. By searching this database, users can view various information about the offender, including their mugshot, physical description, and offenses.

Another option for obtaining Iowa mugshot records is to visit the Iowa Sex Offender Registry website. By clicking on the "Search" or "Most Wanted" top menu, one can search and access information such as the registrant's name, registration date, address, and whereabouts, along with a mugshot image.

How Long Does an Arrest Record Stay in Iowa?

In Iowa, an arrest record can have severe and long-lasting consequences for an individual's personal and professional life. Therefore, anyone arrested must understand how long their arrest record will remain on file.

In Iowa, there is no explicit timeframe dictating the longevity of an individual's arrest record. As a result, these publicly accessible documents may persist for an extended period, possibly even an entire lifetime.

However, an individual may be eligible to have their arrest record expunged. Expungement of arrest records in Iowa is how an individual can have their arrest record erased or sealed from public view. With this legal procedure, the arrest record will no longer be accessible to law enforcement agencies, employers, or the general public.

How To Expunge an Arrest Record in Iowa

In Iowa, individuals arrested and charged with a crime may face significant challenges in various aspects of their lives, including employment, housing, and education opportunities.

Having an arrest record can be a burden that can haunt them for years, even after the case has been dismissed or they have been found not guilty. However, state law provides a mechanism for individuals to expunge their Iowa Arrest Records under certain circumstances.

The first step in the Iowa expungement process is determining whether the individual is eligible. The eligibility requirements for expungement vary depending on the arrest circumstances.

Eligibility Requirements of Expunging Arrest Records in Iowa

The Iowa Code 901C.2 allows individuals in Iowa to apply for expungement of their records if they do not have a conviction for their arrest or if their criminal case is dismissed or results in acquittal.

However, to be eligible under Iowa Code 901C.2, individuals must pay all related fees and wait approximately 180 days. Furthermore, the dismissed charge must be for a public offense but not be nonindictable traffic violations or under local traffic ordinances.

If a person has multiple counts of charges and only one is subject to dismissal, the court cannot expunge the case.

The Iowa Code 907.9 also permits deferred judgment in certain circumstances when an individual pleads guilty to an offense. Once the person finishes probation and pays all related costs, the court can remove the case records.

If the arrest resulted in a conviction of underage alcohol possession, public intoxication, and certain prostitution cases, the individual may apply for expungement. However, to be eligible, they must not have any other criminal convictions, except minor traffic offenses, for two years after the conviction. 

On this expungement type, petitioners will not be required to pay fines or fees.

Lastly, a person can remove one misdemeanor conviction from their record under the Iowa Code 901C.3.

To be eligible, one must not have any current criminal charges, must pay all related fees, and at least eight years have passed since the conviction. Note that someone with two previous deferred judgments cannot apply under this expungement type.

If a person meets the eligibility criteria, they can apply to the court, and if approved, the court may issue an order to expunge the records.

Expungement Process in Iowa

To initiate the expungement process in Iowa, an individual must obtain their arrest or criminal record from the responsible agency and fill out the relevant form.

Each expungement type in Iowa comes with its specific form. For instance, those seeking relief under Iowa Code 901C.2 must complete the Application to Expunge Court Record form. If someone is eligible under Iowa Code 901C.3, they must obtain and accomplish the Application to Expunge Misdemeanor Court Records form.

After completing the necessary form, submit it to the court that filed the case. Finding the appropriate court is as simple as visiting the Iowa Judicial Branch website and using the Court Directory.

After filing the petition, the court will often schedule a hearing to consider the request. At the hearing, the petitioner must demonstrate that they meet the eligibility requirements and that the expungement is necessary and appropriate.

If the court approves the expungement request, it will seal or erase the arrest record from the public record, and the petitioner will receive notification of the decision. The court may also require them to provide a copy of the order to any agencies or individuals with access to the record.

How To Search Iowa Arrest Records

When someone needs to search Iowa Arrest Records, there are several methods they can take to access this information.

One option is to employ the Iowa Courts Online Search System (ICOS). It is a web-based portal that provides access to Iowa court case information, including criminal arrest records. ICOS allows users to search for cases by party name, case number, and other criteria.

If the records are unavailable on ICOS, the requester may need to contact the arresting agency or the County Sheriff's Office where the arrest occurred.

After identifying the responsible agency, the requester must typically submit a request for the records. This request can be made by mail, online, or in person. When requesting, provide as much information as possible, such as the subject's full name, the date and location of the arrest, and any other relevant details.

Furthermore, since criminal records may include information about arrests, interested parties can also request a criminal history record check report from the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) of the Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS).

To request and obtain a copy of this report, one must complete a request form and the corresponding billing form and submit them to the DPS through mail, fax, email, or online. One can obtain the forms through the DCI web page or with this link.

When a person requests a criminal background report from the DCI, it can take 1-3 days to process, depending on the volume of requests and the office's staffing levels. However, if the person visits the DCI in person and requests a report about themselves, they can obtain the results immediately.


Counties in Iowa

Jails and Prisons in Iowa

Polk County IA Juvenile Detention Center1548 Hull Avenue, Des Moines, IA
Iowa Correctional Institution for Women - Mitchellville420 Mill Street SW, Mitchellville, IA
Polk County IA Jail - New1985 NE 51st Place, Des Moines, IA
Linn County IA Correctional Center53 3rd Avenue Bridge, PO Box 608, Cedar Rapids, IA
Linn County IA Juvenile Detention Center800 Walford Road Southwest, Cedar Rapids, IA
Scott County IA Juvenile Detention Center500 West 4th Street, Davenport, IA
Scott County IA Tremont Facility4715 Tremont Avenue, Davenport, IA
Scott County IA Jail400 West 4th Street, Davenport, IA
Iowa Medical and Classification Center - Oakdale2700 Coral Ridge Avenue, Coralville, IA
Johnson County IA Jail511 South Capital Street, Iowa City, IA